Bayer Leverkusen chief executive Michael Schade has claimed the club may be forced into listening to offers for their star centre-forward Javier Hernandez, with Liverpool rumoured to be interested in bringing him back to the Premier League.
Speaking with the Rheinische Post (h/t James Walters of the Daily Star) Schade conceded that while they do not want to let key players leave, if a big money offer does come in, then it’s something they’ll have to consider:
As of today, we don't want to sell any player, we want to keep the team together and improve.
But we are a commercial company and there are thresholds. If such exorbitant bids come in, we will examine them and see what they bring us.
In the case of Son [Heung-min, who left for Tottenham], ultimately the benefits of English money has helped us.
I can say that for us Kevin Kampl and Hernandez as a package are more important than a single player. If we manage it the same with each transfer, we are strengthening the quality of our squad.
Here is why, less than one season into his stint at Leverkusen, Hernandez is reportedly attracting interest from the likes of the Reds and Arsenal, according to Walters:
Indeed, goalscorers are always going to be coveted, and Hernandez has proved at United, during a loan spell with Real Madrid and now in the Bundesliga that he has razor-sharp predatory instincts. It’s something Liverpool, who have struggled to find a solution at the point of the attack, could certainly do with.
As Squawka Football noted recently, the Mexico international has been averaging better than one goal every game as of late:
Javier Hernandez has now scored 20 goals in his last 18 games for Bayer Leverkusen across all competitions. pic.twitter.com/VKDroAS0BC— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 9, 2016
Even so, Hernandez doesn’t seem an ideal fit for the style of football manager Jurgen Klopp wants to play. While he’s mobile and hard-working, the former United man has never possessed particularly good hold-up play, and during his stint in the Premier League, he was never able to be effective as a lone centre-forward.
Klopp has also admitted recently that it’s unlikely he’ll be signing any centre-forwards this summer, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo.
Reds in Three-Team Race For Ilkay Gundogan
Liverpool are reportedly one of three clubs intent on signing Borussia Dortmund’s midfield schemer Ilkay Gundogan.
According to Sport-Express.ru editor Artur Petrosyan (h/t Jamie Sanderson of Metro), Juventus have joined the Reds and Real Madrid in the hunt for playmaker, who has been in fine form for Thomas Tuchel’s team this term. Sanderson writes Klopp, who managed Gundogan at Dortmund, could be key in luring the player to Merseyside.
Here’s what Petrosyan had to say on social media about the player’s situation:
Juventus are now also in for Ilkay Gundogan. Them, Real Madrid and Liverpool will all try to sign him in the summer.— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) February 18, 2016
The links to Liverpool are natural. After all, Klopp is a manager who got the very best from Gundogan during his time at the Westfalenstadion. Indeed, in the 2012-13 term, when Dortmund made it to the UEFA Champions League final, the Germany international was arguably the finest central midfielder in European football.
Since then, Gundogan has suffered with injuries, with much of his last two campaigns disrupted by problems. But as we can see here courtesy of WhoScored.com, in the 2015-16 term, he’s been back at his probing best:
Ilkay Gündogan: Has completed more passes in the final third (370) than any other player in the Bundesliga this season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 30, 2016
Although Gundogan is a fine player, he’s not the kind of footballer the Reds need. The German would get into the first XI, of that there’s little doubt, but in players such as Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana, Liverpool can call upon plenty of intricate, attacking midfielders as it is.
Other areas need to be addressed before a pursuit of Gundogan is even considered, and while Klopp may be a draw for the player, the interest of teams like Juventus and Real, who are both competing at the summit of European football regularly, could also prove to be very problematic for the Reds.