Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Must Land Zakaria Bakkali for Long-Term Potential

Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 20, 2014

Zakaria Bakkali could prove a useful addition to Brendan Rodgers' Anfield revolution.
Zakaria Bakkali could prove a useful addition to Brendan Rodgers' Anfield revolution.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers is known for his love of young, gifted and hungry young players, and PSV Eindhoven's Zakaria Bakkali certainly fits into that category.

At just 18 years of age, the youngster is certainly interesting Europe's top clubs with Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express reporting the interest of the Merseysiders as well as Arsenal and Real Madrid.

Bakkali is stalling over the signing of a new contract because he has only featured in seven games in the Eredivisie this season, and Reds fan Jordan Harrad is clearly hoping that he signs on for the Anfield outfit:

His aunt and uncle, also his agents, are convinced his talents are better served elsewhere, whilst the Dutch side are just as certain his developmental needs can be met with them.

Many young players have had their heads turned in the past by the prospect of instant riches and the kudos of playing for a "bigger" club.

A decision to allow heart to rule head often blurs the lines between what is, and what isn't a sensible route for a young player to take.

Rodgers, however, has good form when it comes to developing young talent.

Since his days as youth coach at Chelsea, here is a forward thinker who knows what he wants from his players and exactly how to extract it from them.

The Liverpool manager has already had scouts watch Bakkali on several occasions and has been very pleased with the reports he has received.

It's fairly obvious why that would be the case.

Playing predominantly on the right side of a front three, Bakkali has an eye for goal as his hat-trick against NEC Nijmegen proved.

His three goals broke the Eredivisie record previously held by Arjen Robben (also whilst at PSV), for the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in the league.

A 93 percent pass accuracy from his 85 touches in that game, per, and a wonderful all-round contribution, gave him the man-of-the-match award, a perfect 10 score, and really announced him to the wider footballing public.

Genuine ability to play either side of a front three, adept at working the channels and cutting inside onto either foot when necessary, he already has the skill set that Rodgers desires.

Despite a tiny 5'5" frame, Bakkali's blistering pace is likely to cause even the meanest of Premier League defences problems. A low centre of gravity combined with quick acceleration from a standing start often sees him drift past full-backs with ease.

Although he has a slight tendency to over-complicate the easy things, per OutsideOfTheBoot, he is a crowd-pleaser:

Bakkali is that sort of player that you will enjoy watching day in day out, he is an absolute delight to watch.

Still raw, but it's quite visible how much talent he has whenever one sees him on the pitch. 

Whether or not Rodgers takes Liverpool to the Promised Land this season, clearly his rebuilding programme extends a lot further beyond the end of this campaign.

He has often talked of leaving a legacy at Liverpool and Sam Williams of detailed the manager's desire to leave the club in better shape than when he inherited it.

By adding young Zakaria Bakkali to the mix, the manager is certainly going some way to fulfilling his prophecy.