Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Shouldn't Move for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

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Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Shouldn't Move for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will talk with current club Schalke 04 after the 2014 World Cup amid reported interest from Liverpool, but the Reds shouldn't look at the Dutch international as a potential replacement for Luis Suarez.

Via The Independent's Joe Krishnan, The Hunter told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf he wants to focus on the World Cup before making a decision on his future:

Regarding the rumours about Liverpool it would only be fair to speak to Schalke first.

I've talked with Schalke about an extension for a while. After the World Cup I am having a holiday. Then I will speak to them again.

With my agent, I now do not talk about the interest from clubs. I focus on the tournament.

Huntelaar is one of Europe's premier journeymen, having played for Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan. Once seen as one of the best up-and-coming strikers in the world, the Dutchman never lived up to the expectations in the Spanish capital and similarly failed to impress with the Rossoneri.

Things have been different with Schalke. Huntelaar rediscovered his shooting boots in the Bundesliga and has grown into one of the club's most pivotal players. Per WhoScored.com, he scored 12 goals in just 18 league appearances last season, an impressive return.

Huntelaar isn't a great athlete, but he's an excellent poacher who uses his size well inside the box. He works well with his back towards the goal, creating space for teammates, and he's as opportunistic as they come.

Now aged 30, Huntelaar has found a great home in Germany. The relationship between club and player has been mutually beneficial, and it's only logical both parties will sit down and discuss an extension before anyone considers a potential move abroad.

Huntelaar's fit in a two-striker system like the one Liverpool use is a question mark, but his prowess as a poacher should translate well to the Premier League, where space in the box is often limited.

His history with similar transfer moves is an issue, however, and it's one of two major obstructions standing in the way of a potential transfer. Huntelaar was perhaps too young when he moved to Madrid, but his struggles breaking into the team followed him to Milan.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

With Schalke, Huntelaar is the main man in front of goal. The system is tailored towards him, and the German side give him every opportunity to shine. At Anfield, he'd be just another striker again, and his production would undoubtedly suffer as a result.

More importantly, Schalke and Huntelaar are a match made in heaven. The Dutchman has saved his career in Gelsenkirchen—the club has counted on the striker to lift them to new heights in previous years.

That's not to say Schalke wouldn't sell their star forward, but at his age, the Germans will have a different valuation of the striker than the Reds will. Bundesliga expert Clark Whitney thinks losing Huntelaar could really hurt Schalke:

For Schalke, Huntelaar is their star man, a player they invested in heavily just two years ago. For Liverpool, he's a 30-year-old underachiever who presents a significant downgrade from Suarez.

Huntelaar knows this, too. He's played his best football with Schalke, and unless he's convinced he needs to leave the club, he won't disagree with Schalke's valuation of him. The fact he's been injured for much of the past two seasons doesn't help either.

The Hunter is a great player, but there are several risks involved with this transfer, and Liverpool will likely have to overpay a great deal to secure a player on the wrong side of 30.

Schalke and Huntelaar just match too well. Unless Brendan Rodgers is convinced the striker is vital to his plans for the immediate future, the Reds will quickly learn it would take far too much to bring Huntelaar into the fold.

 

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