Liverpool could make a move next summer to sign Ruben Neves in a bid to add the final piece of the puzzle in the middle of the park.
I was overjoyed on Sunday as Liverpool completely dominated West Ham and sent a clear message to the Premier League’s big hitters: the Reds mean business this season after conducting some great work in the transfer window.
Liverpool beat rivals to a number of signings, with Chelsea wanting Alisson, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri pursued by Manchester United. Naby Keïta, on the other hand, chose Anfield over the Allianz Arena and the Nou Camp.
Not to mention the fact that Virgil van Dijk was already convinced last summer that Klopp was the manager for him – not Pep Guardiola or then Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
With the 2018/19 season a pivotal one under Klopp’s reign, silverware will mean a lot and the players at the club are more than capable of delivering it but as ever, the modern game waits for nobody.
It might seem bizarre given that the 2018 summer transfer window just closed a few days ago but sporting director Michael Edwards will already have started looking at who the Reds can sign in January 2019 or next summer.
The likes of Nabil Fekir will be on the lips of many for the next six months at least but the midfielder that Liverpool should be signing is Ruben Neves, not Fekir.
The Portuguese midfielder was phenomenal for Wolverhampton Wanderers as they won the Championship last season in style, playing some exquisite football under Nuno Espírito Santo and he would be a great fit at Liverpool.
Which midfielders does Klopp have at his disposal already?
For the sake of this argument, I am going to disregard Marko Grujic and Adam Lallana as it’s my belief that neither have long-term futures at the club while I also think Jordan Henderson’s days are numbered.
The skipper might be highly regarded by Klopp but he’s not a better leader than Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho is almost certainly going to be replacing him as the deepest lying midfielder in months to come.
The Brazilian is taking his time adjusting to Liverpool’s style of play and while he might not be as naturally accustomed to the way Klopp sets his team up, there is nothing to suggest that he cannot find his feet and become hugely important moving forward.
Gini Wijnaldum proved on Sunday that he is a very capable operator, either as a no.6 or as a no.8, and should not be discounted whatever happens in the transfer market in the next 12 months.
James Milner seems to be getting better with age but at 32 years of age, he can’t have more than two years in the tank, can he? There is the matter of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning from injury next year but who knows if he will be the same player…
What would Ruben Neves arriving mean for Liverpool?
Well, for one, it would mean yet another good looking lad being added to a squad where we have the two best looking goalkeepers in Loris Karius and Alisson Becker.
In all seriousness, however, given that this is an entirely hypothetical debate, it’s difficult to really discuss what Neves arriving would mean for Liverpool other than that it would mark yet another increase in quality in the middle of the park.
A midfield three featuring Neves, Keïta and Fabinho would be a sight to behold under Klopp regardless of where the 21-year-old would be deployed. Playing Fabinho as the no.6 and the other two both as no.8s would see Liverpool blessed with one of the most mobile and dynamic midfielders in the world.
Between them, Klopp would be offered goals in abundance, more than enough ability to put a foot in and stop opposition forwards and in Neves particularly, a set piece specialist from all ranges and angles.
What would it take to sign Neves after another superb season?
If Neves ends the 2018/19 season anywhere close to how he started it, he is going to be very expensive. With a goal and an assist (both superb by the way) against Everton on the opening day of the season, the Portuguese midfielder has really announced his arrival in the Premier League.
He will be 22 years old by the time the 2019 summer transfer window rolls around, meaning that he has many years to come in what could be a long and fruitful career.
He would likely cost over £50million as Wolves’ owners are more than aware of the financial gain of selling players for big money in the transfer market.
Wolves’ fans are well aware of the gem they have in their side but for Liverpool fans, he could one day be the player to help usher in a period of prolonged success for a club that has been barren for so many years.