Who Is Mahmoud Dahoud and What Would He Bring to Liverpool?

Jack Lusby@jacklusby_Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2016

Moenchengladbach's midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud celebrates during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Moenchengladbach vs 1. FC Cologne in Moenchengladbach , western Germany, on February  20, 2016.  / AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050
        (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud has emerged as a key target for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool this summer, as the 48-year-old reshapes his squad for the 2016/17 campaign.

According to Goal.com's Melissa Reddy, the Reds are joined by Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur is their pursuit of Dahoud, who is valued at around £25 million.

Moenchengladbach's Norwegian midfielder Havard Nordtveit (R) celebrates scoring his side's 4th goal with team mate Moenchengladbach's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka during the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Moench
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

While Gladbach are believed to be keen on holding on to their 20-year-old talent, with his midfield colleagues Granit Xhaka and Havard Nordtveit likely to leave this summer, "Klopp plans to convince the starlet that Anfield should be his next destination."

Dahoud represents something of a surprise target for the Reds, who were previously reported to have held an interest in Xhaka and Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, but, as Reddy suggests, the Gladbach star would "[fit] into Klopp’s policy of moulding promising young stars."

But who is Dahoud, and what would he bring to Liverpool if he made the £25 million move to Merseyside?

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 20:  Mahmoud Dahoud (L) of Moenchengladbach reacts after scoring the opening goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and 1. FC Koeln at Borussia-Park on February 20, 2016 in Moenchengladbach,
Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Establishing himself as a key player within head coach Andre Schubert's midfield this season, Dahoud is realising the potential that he had showed over the previous five years in the Gladbach academy, having joined from 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2010.

After scoring seven goals and registering nine assists in 23 appearances for Gladbach's under-17s side in 2012/13, previous first-team manager Lucien Favre stood up and paid attention.

Dahoud regularly trained with Favre's senior squad while continuing his progress through the Gladbach academy ranks, before making his Bundesliga debut as a last-minute substitute in a 3-1 win at home to Klopp's Dortmund in 2014/15, replacing Patrick Herrmann to join Xhaka and Nordtveit in midfield.

Moenchengladbach's head coach Andre Schubert watch his team warm up prior to during the German first division Bundesliga football match of VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach in Wolfsburg, on March 5, 2016. / AFP / ODD ANDERSEN / RESTRICTIONS: DURIN
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

The Syrian-born midfielder had made the substitutes' bench on a further six occasions that season, serving as a sign of things to come.

Moved into Favre's first-team squad on a full-time basis for the current campaign, it wasn't until his former under-23s coach, Schubert, was promoted to the position of manager in September—Favre resigned after losing the first six league games of 2015/16—that Dahoud truly kicked off.

Dahoud has started all but one Bundesliga game that he has been fit for since Schubert's appointment, with Gladbach's fortunes improving significantly under the 44-year-old. 

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 20:  Mahmoud Dahoud of Moenchengladbach plays the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and 1. FC Koeln at Borussia-Park on February 20, 2016 in Moenchengladbach, Germany.  (Photo by Sascha
Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

"Mo's capable of running 12.5 to 13.5 kilometres per game," Schubert told German publication kicker (h/t Bundesliga.com) in January. "He's got a real engine and is a willing runner, but he has to be more efficient and learn to ease off at times and also recognise that he doesn't always have to run."

Schubert's words serve to crystallise Dahoud's style of play: the 20-year-old is an archetypal box-to-box midfielder who rarely stops moving, and while this can sometimes be to the detriment of his all-round game, it is a key facet within Gladbach's pressing system.

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 20:  Mahmoud Dahoud (C) of Moenchengladbach battles for the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and 1. FC Koeln at Borussia-Park on February 20, 2016 in Moenchengladbach, Germany.  (Photo
Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Typically deployed alongside Xhaka in a 4-4-2 formation, Dahoud provides Gladbach with the finesse to complement his captain's grit; though the youngster is far from a mere runner.

So far this season, Dahoud has averaged three successful tackles and 2.4 interceptions per 90 league minutes—only one other Gladbach player, centre-back Martin Hinteregger, has averaged more tackles (3.1), while Dahoud is fifth-best in terms of interceptions.

Furthermore, when moving into the attacking third, Dahoud has swiftly developed his game in terms of creativity.

A proficient dribbler, Dahoud is also blessed with a strong passing range, allowing him to dictate play from his box-to-box role, and he has laid on seven goals for his team-mates in 29 Bundesliga appearances so far this season.

(L-R) Mahmoud Dahoud of Borussia Monchengladbach, Paulo Dybala of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Juventus Turin on November 03, 2015 at Borussia-Park in Monchengladbach, Germany.(Photo by VI Im
VI-Images/Getty Images

While he has only scored four league goals in 2015/16, one of Dahoud's defining qualities is his ability to test the goalkeeper from range—as he showed when he shook Gianluigi Buffon's crossbar with a dipping, swerving shot in the opening stages of November's 1-1 draw with Juventus in the UEFA Champions League.

During that encounter with last season's finalists, Dahoud showed his blossoming tactical intelligence, completing 91.7 percent of his attempted passes and demanding the ball throughout, making 87 touches.

Dahoud is a young midfielder with composure, quality and, as Schubert attests, "a real engine," and though his manager also stressed that "he doesn't always have to run," highlighting a flaw in Dahoud's relentless energy, he conceded "that'll come with experience."

Emre Can of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool on April 7, 2016 at the Signal Iduna Park stadium at Dortmund, Germany.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Already an established Bundesliga player, Dahoud is poised to develop into a top-level option and follow Liverpool midfielder Emre Can into Joachim Low's Germany squad.

It is Can who provides Dahoud with the blueprint for success in moving to the Premier League, having quickly emerged as one of the English top flight's most promising midfielders following his £10 million from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014.

After a lengthy spell cutting his teeth in former manager Brendan Rodgers' defence, Can has played in his natural, midfield role under his new manager and—boasting similar qualities to Dahoud as a box-to-box option—has shone.

VERONA, ITALY - JANUARY 17:  Piotr Zielinski of Empoli FC kicks the ball during the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and Empoli FC at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on January 17, 2016 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

With Klopp also targeting Empoli's on-loan Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski, as relayed by Reddy, and having told summer arrival Marko Grujic, as the 19-year-old told Serbian publication Blic (h/t Metro), that his role would be "what they call a box-to-box midfielder," it is clear what the Liverpool manager is building.

Dahoud would bring similar energy, tenacity and guile to Klopp's midfield, and like Zielinski and Grujic, the ability to transition from defence to attack would aid the Reds' high-pressing, counter-attacking game.

A modern, all-round midfielder, Dahoud would complement the likes of Can and Jordan Henderson perfectly.

While, at 20, Gladbach's valuation of £25 million may seem steep, Liverpool would be acquiring a hugely promising young talent with big-game experience, and with the scope to develop into a top-level player.

Statistics via WhoScored.com and Transfermarkt.co.uk.

Follow @jacklusby

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