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Liverpool plot big-money move for perfect Thiago Alcantara successor

It’s Jurgen Klopp’s final season at Anfield.

While preparing to wave goodbye to their most successful manager in the 21st century, the Reds continue to scour the market for reinforcements ahead of the summer transfer window.

According to Corriere dello Sport (March 22, page 8), the League Cup winners have set their sights on Atalanta star Teun Koopmeiners, whose acquisition would cost around €60 million.

Liverpool strengthened their midfield heavily last summer, or so they thought. 

Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister have lived up to the billing, but the other two midfield additions have struggled to settle in the Premier League.

Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endoo have not had the best of times on Merseyside, especially the former, whose lack of pace and guile has cast doubt on his long-term future at Anfield. 

Finding a suitable replacement for Klopp is the hierarchy’s foremost assignment before the pre-season. It’s also a prerequisite for delivering a verdict on any new arrival. 

However, Koopmeiners ticks all the boxes for a type of midfielder any Premier League manager would want to have at their disposal. 

Koopmeiners is a top-notch all-rounder

From an up-and-coming talent to an established Serie A star, the Dutchman has gone a long way from being the AZ Alkmaar captain to becoming the most highly-rated midfielder in Italy.

Aside from his impressive attacking output of ten goals and three assists from 25 league appearances, the 26-year-old has stood out for his versatility and world-class technique. 

Koopmeiners can play anywhere along the midfield line, but his keen eye for goal has recently seen Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini deploy him in more advanced positions. 

One such venture resulted in the midfielder’s brace in a 2-2 draw at Juventus earlier this month, proving he’s not strictly a deep-lying playmaker as many perceived him in his early days in Bergamo. 

Thiago Alcantara’s heir

Thiago Alcantara will cut ties with Liverpool when his contract runs out at the end of the season after enduring another injury-plagued campaign. 

Despite the Spaniard’s unquestionable talent and unique playmaking capacity, injuries have prevented him from realising his potential at Anfield.

While the two are not identical types of players, Koopmeiners boasts the skill set required to fill the veteran’s shoes and displace Curtis Jones and Endo in the starting XI. 

It’s also worth noting that all of Liverpool’s current midfield options are right-footed. Meanwhile, the Dutchman possesses a devastating left foot, making him an ideal component to complement this star-studded line-up. 

Liverpool face fierce competition

Luring Koopmeiners to the island could prove tricky, considering several top Serie A clubs, including AC Milan, Juventus and Napoli, are keeping close tabs on the Atalanta talisman.

With the Turin powerhouse on the verge of returning to the Champions League after a one-year hiatus, manager Massimiliano Allegri is hellbent on making the AZ academy graduate his marquee signing. 

Juventus’ interest in Koopmeiners could intensify in the coming months, especially if they fail to extend Adrien Rabiot’s expiring contract by the end of the season. 

Unfortunately for the Italians, their spending power comes nowhere near Liverpool’s financial prowess, though they could rely on the player’s desire to stay in Serie A.

No room for discounts

Koopmeiners has three more years left to run on his current deal at the Gewiss Stadium and has yet to announce his plans for the future.

On that basis, Liverpool can’t hope to drive his price down, not least because his exit would probably mark Atalanta’s record player sale. 

Although La Dea would ideally keep hold of their prized asset, another season outside the Champions League would probably leave those hopes dead in the water. 

And Liverpool would be ready to pounce. 

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