Martin King outlines why Liverpool should’ve made a move for Germany’s Jonas Hector a lot sooner.
Liverpool’s interest in FC Köln left-back Jonas Hector was ignited a while before the Euros – that is if media speculation is to be believed.
The German left-back first came across as a relatively unknown talent but a highly rated one as well. The confirmation of his place in Germany’s Euro 2016 squad provided Reds fans an opportunity to have a good look at the man who was being tipped to solve their side’s problems at the back – and it’s fair to say they weren’t disappointed.
It is no secret that manager Joachim Löw was given the difficult task of finding a replacement for the ever-reliable Philipp Lahm, who retired after Germany’s World Cup triumph. However, since calling up Hector for the first time in November 2014, the left-back has emerged as a capable replacement for the former national team captain.
His impressive displays in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and warm-up games have made him Löw’s first choice left-back. Hector has further justified his boss’ faith by carrying his form on to the tournament itself, of which he has played every minute of with Germany reaching the semi-finals.
Amidst all of this, the speculation linking him with a move to Anfield has not settled, especially with Liverpool fans now keen to see him join. However, the Reds may live to regret not making a move for him earlier as it begins to look very unlikely the 26-year-old will be signed.
That is because Hector’s performances have already caught the eyes of a number of top European clubs, one of them Tottenham Hotspur, who are targeting a move for the full-back, according to German outlet Express. Spurs may not be a club with the pedigree of Liverpool but after an outstanding season which saw them finish third in the Premier League – earning Champions League football – a move to the Lily Whites would certainly appeal to Hector.
Even if Tottenham were knocked out of the race and reports suggesting that Liverpool are still eyeing up a move for Hector were to be believed, getting his signature would still be a tough task. Last month it was reported that a fee of £12 million would be enough to prize the German international away from Köln. That fee has surely risen rapidly due to his excellent displays in France, meaning anyone interested in Hector would have to pay over £20 million to get him.
With the Reds’ current first choice left-back Alberto Moreno putting in more than a few below-average performances in defence last season, Hector has been seen as the perfect replacement for the Spaniard.
Similar to Moreno, Hector is an attacking full-back gifted with pace, good technical ability and a keen eye for goal, yet, he makes up for where the number 18 lacks in showing great discipline to track back and defend well. His exceptional positioning both on and off the ball allows him to know exactly what is going on around him and the many heart-in-mouth moments that the Anfield faithful have had enough of are rarely, if ever, produced by him.
Hector would be a great asset to Jürgen Klopp’s squad. The club may already regret not moving for him earlier as he could’ve come at a lower price, either way, the chance to get the full-back (though seemingly slim) still exists.
If the club does miss out on him it would be a huge loss, especially if he is snapped up by a Premier League rival or worse, Moreno’s woeful defending continues.