Liverpool’s new potential sporting director, Jörg Schmadtke, has already signed the ‘next Virgil van Dijk’ and could even bring him to Anfield this summer.
It seems like after searching for several months, Liverpool finally have an heir to Julian Ward’s throne at Anfield in Jörg Schmadtke. A free agent who is untethered by any commitments, Schmadtke would arrive at Liverpool — initially on a short-term contract, with a view to extending it — with an impressive pedigree.
When he first took over at his former club, Wolfsburg, Schmadtke arrived at a team fighting for relegation in the Bundesliga and having to operate on a meager budget. But just within a few years, Schmadtke changed all of that with his clever recruitment to create a squad capable of making it to the Champions League and fighting for European football year after year.
The Reds will hope he can inspire a similar revival at Anfield, where Liverpool has slumped a little over the last season and slipped out of the Champions League. To do that Schmadtke will need to bring his A game. But there are certain signings, he may not even need to think about too much.
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One, in particular, is a defender who Schmadtke will know all too well and who he has already signed in the past at Wolfsburg in Micky van de Ven. According to iNews, the Reds are keeping an eye on the Dutch defender who has done really well in the Bundesliga this season.
A towering defender, there are elements of his countryman at Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk, in Van de Ven’s style of play. At 1.94 meters, he is an imposing figure who can be commanding in the air, but he’s also got the pace to make him difficult to beat in ground duels.
This season, Van de Ven has clocked one of the fastest speeds for a center-back in the Bundesliga at 35.87 km/h. Considering Jürgen Klopp needs fast defenders to suit his high defensive line, who are quick and capable of making effective recovery runs, Van de Ven already seems like an ideal option.
As per Wyscout, he’s averaged 9.13 recovery runs per 90 in the Bundesliga this season, which is a little lower in comparison to Van Dijk (12.98) but around the same amount as Ibrahima Konaté averaged in his last season in the Bundesliga (10.7) and the French international has increased that output since playing in Liverpool’s system averaging 13.37 in the Premier League so far in his career.
A left-footed center-back, who is composed on the ball, he completes 90.86 per cent of his passes in the Bundesliga this season, and 33 per cent of his passes are also in a forward direction.
His 15.06 forward passes per 90 is not necessarily a productive return, but considering Wolfsburg is not a possession-based side (it ranks 11th for passes attempted in the Bundesliga), his numbers are still relatively solid.