Liverpool-linked Alexis Mac Allister has thrived alongside Moisés Caicedo this season, but Jürgen Klopp could create a similar midfield partnership using Manu Koné.
Alexis Mac Allister looks destined to become Liverpool’s first signing of the summer window in the coming weeks, with the Reds interested in acquiring his signature before he represents his national team later this month. The 24-year-old has emerged as a real breakthrough star in the Premier League this term, hence Jürgen Klopp’s interest.
Indeed, Mac Allister has prospered for Brighton and Hove Albion, who signed him from Argentinos Juniors in 2019 before allowing him to remain on loan in his homeland. He has thrived alongside a certain Moisés Caicedo this season, with the pair working well as a duo and generally complementing each other on the pitch.
As partners in the center of the field, Mac Allister and Caicedo have established themselves as elite prospects over the past 12 months. The former has showcased technical brilliance, shrewdness in possession and expert decision-making and the latter has primarily provided control by regaining the ball on a regular basis and giving his more creative teammates a platform to take risks.
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Caicedo completed an impressive total of 156 tackles and interceptions in the Premier League this season, which placed him second in the whole division behind only Fulham’s João Palhinha. The Ecuadorian is a real ball-winner, but Liverpool simply doesn’t have the funds to bring in both players from the Seagulls.
Klopp will hope that Mac Allister is enough on his own to transform his team’s fortunes in the engine room next year, but based on recent transfer news, it appears the German coach is almost attempting to recreate the Brighton dynamic by signing a cheaper alternative to Caicedo from the Bundesliga.
According to German publication Bild, Liverpool has initiated transfer talks with the representatives of Manu Koné, due to interest in the Borussia Mönchengladbach starlet. The 22-year-old midfielder wouldn’t cost as much as Caicedo — especially considering he’s only got two years left on his contract — but he offers similar perks on the pitch, particularly against the ball.
The Frenchman is energetic, industrious and skillful, having painted himself as a real destroyer in Klopp’s homeland, but one who can also play when in possession of the ball. In fact, only one midfielder in the Bundesliga completed more take-ons than Koné this season, and that was Jude Bellingham.
He is known for his quality on the dribble, but his defensive activity looks comparable of that of Caicedo. Koné posted 106 tackles and interceptions in the German top-flight this term — which placed him ninth among midfielders — and he also ranked sixth in the division for recoveries.
The Gladbach midfielder has a high ceiling attached to his profile, although it is reasonable to suggest that he does not look as involved when the play edges closer to the final third, which is perhaps where Mac Allister would come in. Much like his partnership with Caicedo on the south coast, it seems he would complement his potential partner well.
The transfer window isn’t open yet, but the prospect of Mac Allister playing with Koné is exciting for Reds supporters. Brighton dominated the middle of the park against most opposition sides this season having finished sixth in the table, and much of that success stemmed from how Caicedo flourished with a more technical controller.
If Mac Allister does indeed sign on the dotted line in the coming days, Koné could be next through the door before doing his best Caicedo impression at Anfield.