Liverpool want John McGinn, according to reports. So why is the Aston Villa and Scotland man on their radar?
The Athletic claims Liverpool want John McGinn and could consider a move. It’s a tough one, however – Villa don’t want to sell and could demand £50m.
£50m for McGinn is an awful lot, considering he’s not a player with an elite reputation. Liverpool have only spent that kind of money on Virgil van Dijk, Alisson and Naby Keita, with all three boasting both Champions League and top-flight experience.
Still, you can probably compare the McGinn and Van Dijk situations. The Dutchman wasn’t playing for a Champions League club at the time and many thought Liverpool vastly overpaid.
But the Reds felt Van Dijk was right for them and that was bang on the money. We can only imagine they see McGinn as a wonderful fit, too.
So why is that?
Liverpool want McGinn
You need to consider what Liverpool want from their midfielders first. They don’t utilise the middle of the pitch the same way most teams do.
Most top teams fit their midfielders into roles. Take Real Madrid, for instance. Casemiro is their defensive shield, then Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are elite playmakers.
Manchester City, too, follow a similar pattern. Chelsea use Jorginho as a possession player at the base of theirs, with N’Golo Kante a ball-winner and Mason Mount an attacking midfielder.
Liverpool do things differently. Fabinho is undoubtedly a holding midfielder but they’ve found success with all-rounders in front of him.
Both Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are comfortable at everything. They can defend on the edge of their box and play counter-attacking passes. They can also maintain possession high up the pitch and stop counter-attacks.
Both are happy to drift wide to cover the full-backs, while they could also step forward or back to cover gaps between the defenders or forwards.
All in all, they’re incredibly versatile. No matter what’s happening in the game, those two can adjust to it. That’s vital to keeping Liverpool consistent as their midfield adapts depending on the situation, allowing the rest of the team to play to their strengths.
Wijnaldum leaving creates a gap, though. Thiago will likely step up as first-choice but he is a very different midfielder to the Dutchman – he’s a specialist in possession football.
Liverpool may want a replacement for Wijnaldum’s role. And that’s where McGinn comes in.
The right fit
Per Whoscored, McGinn started 25 games as a defensive midfielder last season, 18 as a centre-midfielder, four as an attacking midfielder and one as a winger. That’s a great sign that he’d fit Liverpool.
He’s comfortable in a variety of roles and in different areas of the pitch. His stats back this up further.
McGinn scored three goals in the Premier League last season and assisted five. He averaged over a shot per game, a dribble per game, an interception per game, and nearly two tackles per game.
Once again, it paints a picture of a player who can adapt and deliver what’s necessary in each game. It’s essentially exactly what Liverpool like.
You can add ‘high energy’ to that, too. As in the Athletic’s article, Jurgen Klopp was impressed by McGinn’s ability to run all game against Liverpool. That’s arguably the most famous hallmark of this Reds team – pushing themselves to press high and cover space all game.
We don’t know if Villa would actually sell McGinn but we can say that Liverpool would be a good place for him. He’d fit in well and offer what they like.
It might be a non-starter at the £50m price but should McGinn arrive, we think he’d be a very good player for Liverpool.