Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has previously spoken of his attachment to reported target Ruben Neves.
As per The Mirror, Liverpool are once again in the hunt to sign the Wolves midfielder. With his contract now into its final 18 months, the Reds are claimed to be considering making a January bid for him.
That doesn’t come as a huge shock for several reasons. One is because of Liverpool’s obvious need for midfield additions, as well as Neves’ contract situation.
But another is due to the fact that Lijnders is actually something of an acquaintance of Neves. The two crossed paths while both at Porto in the early 2010s. And in quotes from O Jogo back in 2019, the Dutchman shared his admiration for Neves.
“I know him [Neves] very well. His ambition, his passion for the game, his professionalism. I know what he gives to the team and this type of player always interests us,” said the coach. “I recognised him when I saw him at Wolves. I saw technique, professionalism. I saw the 2013-14 player I knew.”
Lijnders also suggested that he and Neves are still in contact having found themselves in the Premier League. “Yes, it was a special moment [seeing him in England]” he said. “He’s a man, he’s got a wife, a baby… It’s good to see my boys.”
Liverpool looking for Lijnders trump card
This is particularly noteworthy given recent developments in Liverpool’s transfer hierarchy recently.
As per a report in The Telegraph earlier this month, Lijnders is now much more involved in who the Reds’ are signing. It was reportedly the Dutchman who pushed hard to bring the likes of Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo to Anfield.
So, it perhaps isn’t too much of a stretch to say that Lijnders’ involvement could make a move for Neves more likely.
That could work in two different aspects. Firstly, Jurgen Klopp’s No.2 is clearly a big fan of the player and has worked with him before, albeit as a youngster. This would make a move more likely from a Liverpool point of view.
Then, from Neves’ perspective, Lijnders presence could be a reason to make the club more attractive. Let’s be honest, the Reds aren’t the most appealing prospect at this very moment, so any little trump card should be played.
Factoring all of this in, the Wolves man isn’t the most out-there of suggestions for Liverpool’s midfield solution. The Mirror have claimed that his previous price-tag of £70m is ‘falling every week,’ too. So that will appeal to the notoriously money-conscious Reds as well. Perhaps a link-up for these two could be on the cards in 2023.