Liverpool are reportedly set to accelerate their pursuit of one Bundesliga defender while abandoning their interest in another.
According to Pete O’Rourke’s latest transfer column for Football Insider, the Reds are preparing a contract offer for Evan Ndicka, who’s set to become a free agent as his deal at Eintracht Frankfurt ends in the summer.
The Frenchman’s ‘impressive physical qualities’ fit Jurgen Klopp’s profile for a centre-back signing, and the Merseyside club ‘could push to get a deal over the line quickly’.
In tandem with stepping up their interest in the 6 foot 4 colossus, Liverpool no longer seem to be in the running for Josko Gvardiol, with RB Leipzig’s £80m asking price forcing FSG to look elsewhere after a lengthy courtship of the Croatian.
When assessing the two defenders’ statistics over the past 12 months, it’s no wonder the Reds see Ndicka as the far more sensible option of the two to pursue, considering their respective situations.
As per FBref, he and Gvardiol actually post strikingly similar returns across a number of performance metrics.
They’ve posted the same number of goals scored (one), dead ball passes (50), crosses made (four) and touches taken in the attacking penalty area (22) while also being closely matched for tackles made (21 v 22, Ndicka first) and interceptions (30 v 31).
The disparities for pass completion (86.1% v 89.5%) and aerial duel success (63.2% to 56.3%) are slightly larger yet still broadly similar, so it seems there isn’t much to choose between the Bundesliga duo.
With that in mind, it’d be far more prudent to for Liverpool to pursue a free transfer for the Eintracht Frankfurt man than paying £80m+ for a player in Gvardiol who appears to be on a similar level ability-wise.
In turn, FSG could then save a significant chunk of the summer budget to put towards other areas of the squad at Anfield.