Liverpool could look to Ligue 1 to secure a possible alternative to Jude Bellingham if the Englishman is unattainable.
That’s according to Jonathan Johnson, who suggested in his column for CaughtOffside that Youssouf Fofana could soon be the focus of attention from numerous top clubs across Europe.
The 24-year-old is under contract with AS Monaco until June 2024, with the club holding the option of extending that for a further year.
The journalist wrote: “Even though a lot of fans have their hopes pinned on Liverpool signing Bellingham, all hope of the club making a good signing is not lost and that is because the next player that I can see a number of European giants turning their attention towards is Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana.
“Fofana is still only 24 years old and is already one of Monaco’s most highly-rated midfielders. He also has an attractive contract situation which is set to expire next summer or the following year if Monaco decides to trigger his one-year extension clause.”
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If Liverpool were to lure the Frenchman to Anfield, it would have strong echoes of their signing of Fabinho in 2018. The Brazilian arrived from Monaco at the age of 24 and, like Fofana, primarily operates in the midfield engine room.
While the latter tends to play a slightly more advanced role than the Reds ace, he’s also made 13 appearances this season in a defensive midfield position (Transfermarkt), much like the 29-year-old in Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
Furthermore, there are some similarities between the two when assessing their performance metrics from the last 12 months.
As per FBref, they boast a broadly similar match average for shots on target (0.24 v 0.16, Fofana first) and shot-creating actions (2.12 to 2.08), while also posting near-identical percentages for long ball completion (69% to 68.3%) and aerial duel success (57.5% to 54.1%).
The Monaco midfielder featured for France in last year’s World Cup final, capping a remarkable apex to the career of a player who took a job delivering pizzas prior to becoming a professional footballer (Marca).
If Liverpool were to heed Johnson’s suggestion of Fofana as an ideal alternative to the England midfielder, it would bear a strong resemblance to their capture of Fabinho from Monaco five years ago.
Considering how the Brazilian has won seven trophies at Anfield and been hailed as one of the world’s top players in his position at his best, Reds fans would also love to see the Frenchman replicating such an impact if he does follow the 29-year-old to Merseyside.
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