Liverpool have bid around £9m for Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi, according to reports. It’s an offer that suggests Liverpool are all-in on Joe Gomez.
Cope in Spain claim that Liverpool have offered Real Betis €10m (£9m) for Mandi. Despite that offer being well below the player’s release clause (£27m), the Spaniards may accept.
Liverpool would get a very experienced 28-year-old defender in return. Mandi has played 97 games in La Liga over the last three seasons, while he’d played four full season in Ligue 1 for Stade Reims before joining Betis in 2016.
He’s a regular starter for Betis and one who has shown a great passing ability over the last few seasons. In all, he’d be a solid signing at a reasonable price.
But Mandi wouldn’t be a blockbuster transfer, of course. He’s a reliable defender but not truly elite – this isn’t the same as signing Kalidou Koulibaly, for instance.
Mandi is a fourth-choice signing, in reality. He’s not got much room for development at 28 and is his price may be his most attractive feature. A full-on Dejan Lovren replacement, in other words.
What his signing does suggest, though, is that Liverpool are all-in on Gomez.
Gomez is still only 23 but has just finished a title-winning campaign as Liverpool’s no.2 defender. Now, that’s primarily because of Joel Matip’s injury problems giving Gomez a chance. Matip was playing brilliantly last September before injuries interrupted his season.
But Gomez shone once he established himself. There are still games here and there where he looks like a 23-year-old defender but on the whole, the Englishman looks elite.
And what Liverpool are reportedly doing with Mandi is confirming that Gomez is the future. They’re not looking to break the bank and bring in anyone to truly rival him. Nor are they investing in the future and a potential rival down the line.
They’re merely giving themselves an extra option. Gomez, though, will remain in the starting XI for the next season and far beyond.
Matip may rival him once he’s back to full fitness but for now, that position is Gomez’s. And Liverpool appear very happy with that.