For many fans the most recent transfer window was a mixed bag: despite securing the services of Fabinho, Alisson Becker and Xherdan Shaqiri, many fans think something was missing – Philippe Coutinho’s replacement.
It wouldn’t be the transfer window without some back and forth between negotiating clubs and that’s exactly what Liverpool got from Lyon over the transfer of Nabil Fekir.
Jean-Michel Aulas has a reputation as a stubborn negotiator and Liverpool’s pursuit of Fekir proved this to be true.
However, could there be someone other than Nabil Fekir who could draw us back to the negotiating table?
Houssem Aouar has a strong claim to be this player.
At just 20 years old, he is showing himself to be quite the creator.
In his full debut season, he had a total of 11 goal involvements (five assists, six goals) in 32 Ligue 1 games. Not bad for a 19 year old.
His xGChain and xGBuildup were also fairly impressive, at 18.49 and 10.89 respectively.
Especially when compared to Fekir’s – 17.90 and 7.28.
Aouar is a player very actively involved in goals, while not necessarily delivering the final pass.
This is not to say that he isn’t capable of doing so and if he were to be played in a more advanced role, I’m sure you’d see his assists shoot up.
He is also an accomplished dribbler, averaging 2.6 dribbles per game and 1.4 fouls drawn per game. Since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sustained his injury our midfield has been missing a player capable of penetrative runs. Last season our best dribblers in the Premier League were Georginio Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who both had 1.3 dribbles per game apiece. Aouar could definitely add a different dimension to our midfield.