Scouting Report: Is Bryan Linssen Liverpool's Yevhen Konoplyanka Alternative?

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Scouting Report: Is Bryan Linssen Liverpool's Yevhen Konoplyanka Alternative?
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

A suggested transfer target for Liverpool is Heracles Almelo's Bryan Linssen as Tottenham Hotspur move in on Liverpool transfer target Yevhen Konoplyanka of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, per Pete O'Rourke at Sky Sports.

So here is a scouting report on Linssen, a 5'7" 23-year-old Dutchman. 

 

Positives

Linssen is a fluid mover with the ball; he attacks open space, has great balance due to his low centre of gravity, is difficult to stop when cutting in from the left wing and is driven to score. 

Despite Heracles losing Lerin Duarte, an influential midfielder, to Ajax in the summer transfer window, Linssen has scored more goals in the Eredivisie (11) than Lex Immers (10; Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (10; PSV Eindhoven) and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (nine; Ajax).

Source: Eredivisie.nl

Immers, Depay and Sigthorsson are on heavyweight Eredivisie teams, while Linssen is playing for mid-tabled Heracles, an Eredivisie club whose transfer fee record is signing Ricky van den Bergh from Waalwijk for £704,000 in 2007, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.

Linssen is carrying a low-budget and mediocre team in Heracles just as Liverpool's deep-lying forward Luis Suarez did at Groningen. 

Even though Linssen attracts a lot of attention from opposing defenders, he can glide smoothly into the box unmarked and finish, as was the case with his brace against third-ranked Vitesse. 

Source: Eredivisie.nl
Source: Eredivisie.nl

Not only can Linssen poach goals, he can create his own shot, a compelling trait that suggests he can take his game to the next level, a la Suarez.

In Heracles' 4-2 win over Heerenveen, Linssen controlled Heracles centre-back Bart Schenkeveld's long pass, clipped the ball over Heerenveen right-back Pele van Anholt and scored. 

The context behind Linssen's goal was Heracles being 3-2 up against Heerenveen, a stronger team, in the 87th minute.

Most players would have shielded the ball and played it backwards; however, there is genius in Linssen's game.

Source: Eredivisie.nl

Linssen scored an audacious goal in Heracles' 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven.

It was a low-percentage play as he could have slipped the ball to Heracles centre-forward Mark Uth, central midfielder Simon Cziommer was free and PSV centre-back Jeffrey Bruma was closing in quickly. 

Linssen got his shot off milliseconds before Bruma arrived and the ball hit the back of the net. 

What is the takeaway from that situation? Linssen's unwavering confidence in his ability made the goal a reality. 

Source: Heracles TV

Last season at VVV-Venlo, Linssen scored four goals in a seven-game stretch in the Eredivisie. 

In Linssen's last 10 Eredivisie games for Heracles, he has scored nine goals, so he is one of the best players in the Netherlands based on form. 

While Linssen does not have an assist yet (not his fault—his teammates are not proficient finishers), he does lead Heracles in key passes per game (pass that leads to a shot; 1.6), so this proves he is a willing passer. 

Another strength in Linssen's game is his work rate without the ball. 

He has made 44 tackles in 26 games, he pressurises opposing goalkeepers in turning over the ball and does not allow opposing centre-backs to take the ball out of defence unchallenged. 

 

Negatives

Linssen is a mercurial player, whose form is erratic, hence why he has played for low-key clubs such as Fortuna Sittard, MVV Maastricht, Venlo and Heracles. 

This season, he went through a 12-game spell where he only scored once in the Eredivisie, so whether or not he can keep up his current form is still undetermined.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Linssen's shots per goal (8.1) is inefficient because he is a volume-shooter like Suarez, whose shots per goal in his first season at Liverpool was 13.8. 

The difference between the two is that Suarez has since decreased his shots per goal by 8.5, so he has become an efficient shooter, something Linssen needs to aspire to. 

 

Bottom Line

Linssen, who possesses world-class ability, is a fine transfer alternative to Konoplyanka for Liverpool. 

However, what could happen is a bigger Eredivisie team, say Ajax, signing Linssen in the summer transfer window. 

He then needs to better his Heracles productivity next season, which will turn him into a prime transfer target for a major European club such as Liverpool—that was Suarez's career path. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored

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