Timo Werner, Houssem Aouar, Kai Havertz, Milot Rashica and even Jadon Sancho are just a few of the names that many Liverpool fans have heard of consistently during the last months as we get closer to the end of the season. Highly rated and highly priced, these players would be incredible additions to any team in Europe, but LFC Transfer Room member Dann I. (@DannLFCTR) takes a look at some other options that haven’t really been named by the media, yet could fit well into Klopp’s plans as we approach the 2020/21 season.
Dann’s Choice: AC Milan’s – Diego Laxalt.
It’s no secret that Liverpool are in need of a left back cover, someone who is able to relieve Andrew Robertson and provide the team with similar attributes than the ones the he offers. Although James Milner is currently the second choice left-back, the 35-year old is not able to offer the same threat in the attack as ‘Robbo’ can. He is right footed, and is often having to cut into his right foot before making crosses into the opponent’s box, which ends up taking 2-3 seconds from the attack.
A few months ago, it was reported by Melissa Reddy that Liverpool was looking at bringing Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro for a £17M fee, but “decided last minute that it wasn’t the best use of money”. With that being said, it was clear what Klopp’s recruiting strategy was when looking for a left-back cover. Someone affordable, versatile, relatively young, quick and able to offer a similar threat of attack as Robertson’s. That description itself is not one to come across very often, or at least not for a reasonable price. So when looking at what options with a similar profile are available in the market, one name comes to mind: AC Milan’s left-back Diego Laxalt.
Judging from the outside, it would be ridiculous to consider the player as a possible target. He’s barely had any involvement in the Milan side without being able to really make an impact on the team. The Uruguay native was even loaned away to Torino this season, after the arrival of Theo Hernandez who has solidified as the starting left-back for the Rossoneri. So what are the reasons for Liverpool to target him?
Laxalt caught the eye of AC Milan during the 2018 World Cup with a strong Uruguay team that defeated Portugal in the round of 16, but lost against France in the Quarter-Finals 2-0. His impressive performances sealed him a move to the Italian giants for a reported £12.5M fee. But Laxalt had to compete against Ricardo Rodriguez, who was also recently purchased from Wolfsburg and at the time was their started left-back. Laxalt found himself in a three-man battle for the starting left-back spot as he had to compete against Rodriguez and highly rated Spanish full-back Theo Hernandez who’d arrived from Real Madrid after his loan spell with Real Sociedad. Hernandez quickly won the battle and hasn’t been moved from his spot since. He and Rodriguez took loan moves in hope for regular game time, with the Swiss international moving to PSV and the Uruguayan moving to Torino. As soon as Ricardo Rodriguez moved to the Dutch side, Milan had no choice but to recall Laxalt, as revealed by his agent Ariel Krasouski who claimed: “Milan had three left-backs, so the best solution was to go and play for Torino. Ricardo Rodriguez’s departure changed everything and Milan called him back, which Diego accepted immediately without issue.”
At 27-years old, Laxalt’s main quality is his lightning speed, and work rate when defending. He currently stands at 5’10 inches, which is the same height as Andrew Robertson, but the best asset about him is his versatility, as he can function anywhere on the left flank; from fullback, as a left-sided midfielder and even left-winger. With AC Milan’s current situation and their need to sell players in order to finance other signings, Laxalt is one of the first names of the transfer list. He was close to leaving last season to Atlanta and to Parma for £12M, a similar price to what they signed him for. This transfer window is no different, and they are looking at getting back the same amount they spent on him, if not a fee as close as possible to the original which sounds like a total steal at £10-12M. Liverpool could easily get that amount back in sales of players like Lovren, Shaqiri, Origi, or even Harry Wilson, and still have profit at the end.
With Russian sides Spartak Moscow, Krasnodar and Lokomotiv Moscow looking to make a move for the out of favor left-back. His time at the San Siro is at its end, but a last minute swoop from Liverpool could tempt the Uruguayan to work under arguably the best manager and club in European Football.