Dylan Gerstley provides players Liverpool can sign to provide width after Jordon Ibe’s sale to Bournemouth.
Jordon Ibe has completed his highly speculated move to Bournemouth after 41 appearances and 1 goal for the Reds.
There was a time when many thought that Raheem Sterling and Ibe heralded a new age of attacking talent coming through the academy. Sterling and Ibe had pace and took defenders on, oozing confidence even at first team level.
Sterling now plays for Manchester City after a transfer saga that made the wide player a villain in most fans’ eyes. The young Englishman has not exactly impressed in his time with the Citizens and Liverpool supporters are very vocal about their pleasure in his failure.
Ibe has followed a similar path. He exploded onto the scene, made clever and exciting offensive contributions before tailing off and becoming one dimensional. A time may come when the 20 year old fulfills his potential but it will not happen in a Liverpool shirt.
Now that he has moved on, there is an alarming lack of width in Klopp’s side. The central midfield is extremely deep but few of those players would perform well on the flanks. Coutinho, Mane, and Firmino are all projected attacking midfield starters, with James Milner waiting on the bench or perhaps dropping into a deeper role in the starting eleven.
Lazar Markovic remains the only senior wide player on the books and this lack of depth could create problems for Klopp. The Serb did not convince in his last spell in a red shirt and was unproductive in Turkey as well. The former Benfica star possesses pace in spades but needs to fine-tune his game to be a realistic option in the Premier League.
It would be good for Markovic to stay on and have another crack at Anfield. He would provide a pacy option off the bench and good competition in training. Though not the most well rounded, the winger would serve his purpose well and might yet improve into something. Ibe never had much of a chance in the first team so Markovic would solely be a squad player that worked hard in training to prove himself. There is no reason the young winger should struggle with this and after an exorbitant fee, should feel he has much to prove on Merseyside.
Still, the club are short of options and Markovic is not enough. A new player needs to be brought in to fill out the wide positions. An interesting move would be to sign Jonas Hector as the starting left back and push Alberto Moreno to a wide role. Most supporters feel the Spaniard is more suited to attacking anyway and maybe this is his chance to win back Liverpool fans short on patience for his defensive shortcomings.
Another option would be to make another big splash in the transfer market. Lucas Moura of Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil has been linked and would be classed as a marquee signing. The Brazilian wide man has failed to hold down a spot in Paris but is still a pacy, technically adept, experienced player who has played in the highest level of the game.
Though no one needs to be reassured of Moura’s obvious talent, his signing may create issues in attack. Sadio Mané has just recently signed in a massive deal and has to be assured of a starting role and Moura’s fellow Brazilians Coutinho and Firmino are no slouches. Both should start for the Reds and this struggle for playing time casts doubt over the signing of Moura.
A player like Filip Kostic is a player Klopp knows well from his time in the Bundesliga and represents a different approach. His signing would be solely for increased competition and depth rather than as an instant starter.
It is clear Liverpool need to sign another wide player to fill out the squad and avoid last year’s catastrophic injury plague. Jonas Hector’s singing may be the most shrewd of all as it may revitalize Moreno while also filling the need for a capable, defensively sound left back.