Liverpool may have found 'new Neymar' to be its Mohamed Salah replacement amid transfer 'race' –

Liverpool intends to keep Mohamed Salah, but will no doubt have done due diligence in the transfer market, and the ‘next Neymar’ has reportedly caught the eye.
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Liverpool has been making a habit of signing players people would not have expected in the last year or two. As much as Wataru Endō was clearly not the first-choice option, nobody would’ve anticipated the Reds signing a veteran from the lower reaches of the Bundesliga even if they had been able to complete a deal for Moisés Caicedo or Roméo Lavia.
Similarly, when Liverpool supporters were crying out for their team to sign midfield reinforcements last season, the club instead opted to spend significant sums on the likes of Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo. With fans hoping Jürgen Klopp recruits a new midfielder or center-back before the transfer window closes on Friday, will the Reds spring another surprise instead?
It might if Football Insider is to be believed. It is reporting that Liverpool is one of several Premier League clubs who are hoping to sign Johan Bakayoko from PSV Eindhoven. Having dealt with them when signing Gakpo, the Reds have an existing relationship they can put to productive use.
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It may have to, with quite the race supposedly developing. Bakayoko could apparently become of the most sought-after players in Europe in the final days of the window, with Burnley already having seen two bids rejected. If Liverpool wants him, it will have to win a race.
But while there is no question regarding the 20-year-old’s talent, as we shall see, there has to be a query over whether he is what the club currently requires. Bakayoko is a right winger, meaning he occupies the position held down by Mohamed Salah, with the Egyptian already having a young deputy in the shape of Ben Doak.
With Al-Ittihad looking to make Salah the latest global superstar to join the Saudi Arabian league, it may be that Liverpool is keeping a talented target on its radar as a precaution for the unlikely scenario in which it loses its number 11. He may never have been so important to the Reds but nobody can be untouchable when the sums of money offered are as remarkable as they are.
It is interesting to compare Bakayoko with Salah though. The former looks to be more of a touchline-hugging winger, a role which the Liverpool man appeared to be occupying at the start of last season, with little success. As Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inverted full-back role sees him move inside, attacking width has to be provided from somewhere.
So, if the PSV starlet is not exactly like Salah, who is he like? EuroEliteScout have stated Bakayoko’s statistical profile matches with that of Neymar in 2015/16, when he accompanied Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez as part of probably the one front three that might stand above Liverpool’s legendary trio.
Perhaps the verdict of Total Football Analysis is more pertinent. They have likened Bakayoko to both Karim Adeyemi and Bukayo Saka, a duo who have been far more realistically linked with the Reds in the recent past. As the illustrious names continue to flow, so do the young Belgian international’s impressive statistics.
Before we go overboard with the FBref findings, it’s vital to note that his numbers are compared against what they call the 'next eight' competitions, the second tier below the big five leagues, Champions League and Europa League. That rules out any Neymar comparisons here. But even so, the data paints a picture of a player who has already outgrown the relative shallow waters of the Eredivisie.
Bakayoko is in the 90th percentile or better for 28 different metrics, and the top two per cent for nine, including shots on target, progressive carries and take-on success. Klopp would likely be alerted to ‘tackles in the attacking third’ being among his elite skillset too.
The PSV winger was joint-11th in Netherlands for possession regains in the final third per 90 minutes last season, averaging 1.1, and his rate has risen to 1.4 in the early weeks of 2023/24. Bakayoko is an elite dribbler with a ferocious work rate and for those reasons alone it’s easy to see why Liverpool would be interested, even if Salah is more than likely going nowhere.


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