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Why Liverpool should make Marcel Sabitzer the like-for-like replacement for Wijnaldum

Liverpool have been name-checked as a club interested in signing RB Leipzig midfielder, Marcel Sabitzer, this summer.

Bild claims that Jurgen Klopp wants the RB Leipzig captain, who has just one year remaining on his contract. Leipzig are willing to sell for £36 million.

The aforementioned price-tag isn’t unreasonable, though, a club as meticulous and shrewd in transfer operations as Liverpool will no doubt look to knock it down.

What we know

Sabitzer is 27-years-old and is from Austria. He has been capped 46 times for his country, who recently played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Scotland.

This season, he has clocked up 21 Bundesliga appearances, scoring six times while laying-up two assists. In all competitions, his statistical output reads at seven goals and three assists.

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Sabitzer, who was sent crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of Liverpool, joined Leipzig from Rapid Vienna in 2014.

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How would his opportunity at Liverpool come?

With Georginio Wijnaldum expected to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, Sabitzer looks a perfect like-for-like replacement. We even ran a piece on why Liverpool should consider Sabitzer last year.

It wouldn’t be an underwhelming successor, either. Sabitzer is Champions League proven and has experience in challenging for a league title.

He’s a proven goalscorer, too, even more so than Wijnaldum, who has 22 goals in 226 Liverpool appearances.

By contrast, Sabitzer has clocked 99 career club goals, including 50 for RB Leipzig.

Two of these came in the Champions League round of 16 last term when he struck twice against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur.

Sabitzer, in comparison to Yves Bissouma or Renato Sanches, would arrive at Liverpool without a point to prove. He is already regarded as one of Europe’s leading midfielders and would join with a proven track record.

He could also link up with his former Leipzig teammate, Naby Keita, which would provide Klopp with another alternative in trying to get the best out of the Guinean talisman.

Similarly to Thiago Alcantara’s contractual dispute with Bayern last summer, Liverpool can utilise Sabitzer’s soon-to-be expiring Leipzig deal to their advantage.

But as far as replacing Wijnaldum, Sabitzer is certainly a clear improvement in terms of goals and assists. Also, like the Dutchman, Sabitzer would bring a number of leaderships qualities given his role as captain of Leipzig.

Versatility

It’s no secret that Klopp is a big fan of versatility – just look at how highly he rates Fabinho.

Sabitzer can also play right-wing, in fact, this was the role he adopted Rapid Vienna before being transformed into a central midfielder in Germany.

If Liverpool choose to pursue Sabitzer then Klopp has another viable option to aid the pedigreed front-three, if injury or lack of form were to strike again next term.

How realistic is a deal?

Well, much of Liverpool’s interest in Sabitzer could be dictated on how urgently Klopp looks to address Wijnaldum’s imminent departure.

The Reds have eight midfielders currently on their books, after all, and that doesn’t take into account the upcoming returns of Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic.

So, whether Liverpool choose to bolster their midfield ranks even further, remains to be seen.

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Still, this shouldn’t excuse Liverpool from passing opportunities to sign elite players for a potentially moderate fee. If Michael Edwards sees a bargain in Sabitzer, then, there is every possibility a deal could be struck.

Liverpool’s current midfield, after all, has come under heavy criticism for not scoring enough goals in recent seasons.

Jordan Henderson is still the clubs highest-scoring midfielder with 30 goals and he is approaching a decade since he joined the Reds from Sunderland.

Sabitzer’s potential availability gives Liverpool an extra option, but wait to long, and someone else will snap him up.

It would be a short-term deal which immediately combats the departure of club-legend Wijnaldum. From our own perspective, a potential deal for Sabitzer is a no-brainer

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