Renato Sanches or Yves Bissouma? This could be the biggest question of Liverpool’s transfer window. The Reds only reasonably have room for one.
We’ve got reports saying Liverpool want Renato Sanches and a report saying they want Yves Bissouma. Let’s start with Sanches.
Le10Sport claimed a few days ago that Liverpool were having a look at the Lille midfielder. The French club are in financial difficulties, resulting in a change of ownership this weekend.
Now Tutto Mercato Web claims that Liverpool have an £18m agreement over Sanches. That certainly suggests it’s happening – if they’re correct.
As for Bissouma, we’ve got ESPN saying Liverpool like him. He’d cost about £30m to prize him away from Brighton, however.
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So who’s the right option? Liverpool surely have room for just one.
Liverpool have a lot of midfielders. There’s Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as clear first-choice players. Curtis Jones appears to be the future there. James Milner is the reliable squad player. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are there, too, but injuries make it difficult to place them.
Then there’s Gini Wijnaldum. First-choice this season but also on an expiring contract.
He will surely leave for nothing, which means Liverpool have to decide if that long list of midfield options is good enough to replace him. These reports suggest that don’t think it is.
But having so many options – and still with an 11-player limit in football – they can surely only make room for one player. For one thing, they’re pushing their limits with foreign player restrictions.
Wijnaldum leaving makes that very simple as a one-for-one replacement. But it’s still only one.
Liverpool would have to pick between Sanches and Bissouma, with both being very different options.
Bissouma is the safe, if more expensive, option. He’s defensively solid, suggesting he could play alongside anyone else in midfield. He has good Premier League experience, too – something Sanches lacks (more on that in a sec).
But he is more expensive. £30m is a lot of money, especially in January as Wijnaldum is still here. Bissouma won’t be a first-choice player, either, as Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho won’t move easily.
It will be age that pushes them aside – and that could take three years.
As for Sanches, he’s the risk. He flopped at Bayern Munich and, more worryingly, flopped on loan at Swansea City. He’s a Premier League failure, then.
Fortunately, Liverpool have rehabilitated one of those before, with overwhelming success.
The ‘worry’ for us, then, is simply that Sanches is more of an attacking player than Bissouma. He’ll want the ball, as he does at Lille.
Take Lille’s 3-0 win over AC Milan this season. That’s an incredibly impressive result against the Serie A high-flyers.
Sanches was at the centre of it, too, with 67 touches. That was the highest number of touches in Lille’s midfield and attack by far. He had 20 more than anyone else in an advanced position, despite not playing the last ten minutes.
Does that mesh well with Liverpool’s current crop? Thiago, to name just one, wants as much of the ball as possible. We expect Jones to become that player, too.
Liverpool will have to pick here, unless they overhaul the midfield. But as for who represents the best option is anyone’s guess.
Bissouma is the safer squad option. Sanches is the potential star who can run games. What do Liverpool need more?