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Reported Liverpool target Hakan Calhanoglu is a standout creative force

Liverpool want Hakan Calhanoglu, according to reports. The AC Milan playmaker is a creative force in Serie A.

CalcioMercato claims Liverpool are in initial talks with Hakan Calhanoglu. The 27-year-old is out of contract this summer and available for free as he leaves AC Milan.

You can ready our first thoughts on that here.

There isn’t any formal offer yet but it appears Liverpool like the look of Calhanoglu. What would he bring to Liverpool, though?

Hakan Calhanoglu to Liverpool?

The immediate thing you notice about Calhanoglu is his assists. He picked up nine last season – good enough for sixth in Serie A. But he did it at a team that isn’t an attacking juggernaut.

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Milan scored 74 goals across their 38 games – 15 fewer than Internazionale, 16 fewer than Atalanta and 12 fewer than Napoli. Calhanoglu has the potential to assist far more, then.

And this shows itself in his numbers. Calhanoglu created an average of exactly three chances per game last season – the best in Serie A. It was quite comfortably the best, in fact.

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Take the league’s top 10. You’ve got three players on 1.9 per game, then 2, 2.1, two on 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4. Then the jump to 3 per game with Calhanoglu.

That is a standout figure in a notoriously defensive league. As for where that would put him in the Premier League, 3 per game would be narrowly behind Kevin De Bruyne (3.2) and Jack Grealish (3.1) as 3rd-best.

Another trait Liverpool would like? Calhanoglu crosses the ball more than any other player in Italy at 2.2 times per game. Now, he’s not nearly as standout – only .1 ahead of 2nd – but it suggests he could fit in with the Reds.

After all, Liverpool’s success has been largely built on crossing from the fullbacks and set-pieces. Calhanoglu could contribute to that nicely.

Though he’s not a full-back, of course. The 27-year-old can play either attacking midfield or from the left, meaning Jurgen Klopp could inject this creativity into his side from a variety of positions.

As a squad option – and a free one at that – Liverpool couldn’t do much better than Calhanoglu.

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