Liverpool are reportedly "closely monitoring" Schalke's Leroy Sane after snapping up his team-mate Joel Matip.
That's according to Alex Stevens of Football Insider, who revealed—courtesy of a source inside Liverpool—the Reds have repeatedly scouted the youngster this season. Further, Stevens noted Sane could cost upwards of £30 million to acquire.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 as he burst onto the scene in style with Schalke.
A stunning goal on his UEFA Champions League debut against Real Madrid sparked an impressive end to last season, and the attacking midfielder has six goals and five assists to his name thus far in the current campaign having cemented his status as a key player in Andre Breitenreiter's squad.
Here are some his best moments:
The versatile youngster can play across the attacking midfield positions, out wide and as a support striker—the idea of him lining up alongside Robert Firmino and Philippe Coutinho behind Daniel Sturridge is a mouthwatering one indeed.
What could be a cause for concern for any prospective suitors, though, is that Sane has scored just once in a poor run of form stretching back to November. While it's important to note the lengthy winter break they have in Germany, Sane has made 10 Bundesliga outings in that time.
His struggles have seen him dropped to the bench in recent weeks. German football experts Alex Chaffer and Stefan Bienkowski ran the rule over Sane and his drop in form:
Leroy Sané is still so raw. Can be extremely lazy in defence and careless in attack. Lots to learn, but so much talent.— Alex Chaffer (@AlexChaffer) February 21, 2016
@SBienkowski Agree.— Alex Chaffer (@AlexChaffer) February 21, 2016
The latter highlighted his passing as an area in need of improvement:
Another counter attack ruined by a Sane pass...— Stefan Bienkowski (@SBienkowski) February 21, 2016
Should Liverpool pursue Sane?
Indeed, while he has completed an impressive 65 take-ons in 23 Bundesliga appearances this season, he has created just 18 chances, according to Squawka.
Sane needs to continue his development and work on his end product, but he possesses incredible potential. A big-money move this summer might put undue pressure on him, but if Liverpool fail to act, they could end up missing out on him.
If the Reds do acquire him in the summer, they should allow him to develop at his own pace regardless of the price they pay for him.
Liverpool could also use reinforcements between the sticks as Simon Mignolet continues to frustrate.
According to the Mirror, the Reds had an £11 million bid for Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen rejected in January, but if they return for him in the summer, they will face stiff competition from Manchester City, per "sources in Spain," as they want a better back-up for Joe Hart than Willy Caballero.
A Mignolet mistake allowed City's Fernandinho to beat him at the near post in Sunday's Capital One Cup final, though he also made some strong saves, per ESPN FC's James Tyler and football writer Dave O'Connell:
Simon Mignolet can make several heart-pounding, brave stops but let a shot leak in at his near post. Better GK if he has less time to think— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 28, 2016
Somehow Mignolet has been the best and worst player on the field.— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) February 28, 2016
Nevertheless, it's clear an upgrade is still needed, as football journalist Rafael Hernandez noted:
I feel bad for Klopp, but this isn’t his team yet. Rebuilding the squad at Liverpool starts between the posts.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) February 28, 2016
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said as much after the game on Sky Sports, arguing the Reds need a new 'keeper and a left-back, via Ian Doyle of the Liverpool Echo:
The goalkeeper has made some outstanding saves today, but just because you make some outstanding saves doesn't mean you should be allowed to concede a goal like that. And that is not just today.
Going forward for Liverpool, those are two areas Jurgen Klopp has to change in the summer.
The goalkeeper may have signed a five-year deal, and he has made some good saves today, but things have to change.
What could give hope for Liverpool is that Ter Stegen—Barca's cup and Champions League 'keeper—isn't likely to agree to a move to City if he's not going to be guaranteed more first team football than he's currently enjoying.
Further, Caballero's heroics in the cup final—in which he repaid Manuel Pellegrini's faith by saving three penalties in the shootout to deny Liverpool the trophy—might also secure his position at the Etihad Stadium and therefore ensure City won't be in the race to sign Ter Stegen.