Liverpool have set their sights on the wrong target in Napoli’s Gokhan Inler. According to talkSPORT, the Reds are targeting the Swiss international, who is working with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.
Manager Brendan Rodgers will need to start looking for a long-term replacement for captain Steven Gerrard, who cannot go on forever. But Inler’s club form this season has been poor. The midfielder has played 17 games for Napoli in Serie A, scoring one and providing only one assist, as ESPN FC stats show.
For a creative midfielder, those stats don’t justify any Liverpool bid for the former Udinese star. In contrast, Reds captain Gerrard has played the same amount of league games as Inler, scoring four goals and providing six assists, per ESPN FC.
If Liverpool are looking to take the burden off Gerrard, Inler as an option would be the wrong target for Rodgers. The Swiss international has only managed to create 12 chances this season, per Squawka.
Gerrard, on the other hand, has created 40 chances for Liverpool, per Squawka, and is continually showing that any long-term replacement for him might have to wait.
Whilst the Swiss star hasn't been great going forward, Inler would be a similar signing to the likes of current midfielder Lucas Leiva. For Napoli this season, Inler has won 53 percent of his tackles this season, Jack Watson of Squawka reports.
Liverpool don't need another defensive midfielder but instead are lacking an attacking midfielder to support the likes of Sturridge and Suarez. Despite the return of Coutinho, manager Brendan Rodgers has deployed the Brazilian on the wings instead.
Gerrard, at 33, can still play a major role but over the last few seasons his influence in midfield has been waning. This was on show against Arsenal, when only two of his 75 passes were considered key passes, Squawka stats show.
In games as tight as the one against Arsenal, who have an array of midfield talent, Liverpool need an influential midfielder like Xabi Alonso.
Inler may be tough tackling but his influence over a game is restricted by his positioning. Comparing his performance this season to Gerrard's, Inler made three key passes, all within his own half, and his heat-map shows he was pegged back into his own half for the majority of the match, Squawka stats show.
Inler was a target during former England manager Roy Hodgson’s reign at Anfield, reported David Anderson of the Daily Mirror back in 2010.
But the Napoli man insists he is unaware of mooted interest from Liverpool, via talkSPORT. He said to TMW, "I do not read the news. Napoli is important to me and I will always give my best for this shirt."
Liverpool will be better off targeting Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum of PSV Eindhoven.
According to the Metro, Arsenal reportedly wanted Wijnaldum over the summer, but he rejected speculation by insisting he would not be leaving PSV this season.
Despite claiming he would not leave the Dutch giants, The Metro adds that Liverpool are set to make an offer for Wijnaldum in a deal worth £9 million.
The midfielder, who became PSV’s captain, could be the perfect addition, having scored four goals in six appearances, per Squawka.
He hasn't played since September, however, and will need match practice after suffering a back injury, per TransferMarkt.