Liverpool could pursue £43m Iniesta-esque dynamo; club may find an offer hard to refuse – report

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Liverpool are reportedly considering the transfer pursuit of Stanislav Lobotka ahead of the summer.

The Napoli midfielder is among numerous players in his position to be linked with the Reds, with names like Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and Matheus Nunes frequently cited in transfer speculation.

He’s not the only Serie A figure to be namechecked in reference to a possible Anfield move, either, with weekend reports also highlighting apparent interest in Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

According to Calciomercatoweb, Liverpool could pursue a summer move for Lobotka and might consider lodging a bid for €50m (£43m).

The report claimed that Napoli may find it ‘difficult’ to refuse an offer of such value.

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What kind of midfielder would be Reds potentially be getting in the Slovakia international?

The 28-year-old is a teak-tough operator in the number six role who’s already impressed against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

As per Sofascore, he won five of his seven duels in Napoli’s 4-1 win over Liverpool in the Champions League group stage, and six out of eight in the return fixture at Anfield two months later.

Along with dominating personal battles, he’s also an astute ball winner, averaging 2.3 successful tackles in Serie A this term (as per WhoScored). Only two Reds players have a better tackling average in the current Premier League campaign (WhoScored).

Lobotka is more than just a midfield ‘hard man’, though. When he gets the ball, he almost always uses it effectively.

His 94.5% passing success rate in the league trumps anyone who’s started a top-flight game for Liverpool in 2022/23 (WhoScored), while he ranks among the 99th percentile of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for that metric (as per FBref).

Indeed, a report by Forbes last October saw him draw comparisons to a modern-day legend, with the observation that the Slovakian ‘possesses that Andres Iniesta-like quality of being able to spin in either direction while facing his own goal’ and has ‘semblances of the great Spaniard in him’.

Physically dominant while also being very efficient on the ball, Lobotka could be a well-rounded midfield target worth considering, particularly after David Ornstein’s claim for The Athletic this morning that a move for Bellingham seems ‘increasingly unlikely’.

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