The Feyenoord captain could yet become one of Europe’s leading midfielders…
Liverpool will face competition from Portuguese giants Benfica as Reds manager Jurgen Klopp seeks a deal for Feyenoord captain Orkun Kokcu this summer.
What’s the latest on Orkun Kokcu to Liverpool?
That’s according to a report from the Netherlands (as relayed by the Liverpool Echo), which claims that the recently-crowned Eredivisie champions’ captain is attracting interest from multiple angles after a brilliant campaign.
Due to Premier League interest, Feyenoord are hoping for at least €40m (£34m) for their star midfielder, and while Benfica are pushing hard to land the Turkish ace, the allure of Jurgen Klopp’s outfit could swing the odds in his favour.
Earlier this year, former Liverpool gem Dirk Kuyt stated his desire to see the Anfield side make their move for the 22-year-old, which could be realised this summer as the Reds look to replace departees James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Should Liverpool sign Orkun Kokcu?
It’s fair to say that it’s not been a bad season for Kokcu, who scored 12 goals and served five more from 46 appearances across all competitions en route to divisional glory in the Netherlands, ending Ajax’s five-year dominance.
Dubbed a “true leader” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, the Feyenoord captain offers an impressive goalscoring prowess to complement a dynamic slant to his midfield play – two elements that could prove enticing to Klopp considering Harvey Elliott’s five-goal haul was the highest of any Liverpool midfielder this term.
Klopp’s team tends not to find prolific success from the centre, instead relying on the marauding creativity of full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold while harnessing the blistering frontal potency of the likes of Mohamed Salah and co.
But the season gone past illustrates the need for change after the Reds fell by the wayside and failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in seven seasons, and Kokcu could change that.
As per Sofascore, he recorded a stunning average match rating of 7.48 in Eredivisie this term, complementing his direct contributions by completing 85% of his passes, making 2.8 key passes and 1.2 tackles per game, and succeeding with 58% of his attempted dribbles.
Truly an all-encompassing midfielder, burgeoning and yet to channel the full scope of his potential, much like Nice machine Khephren Thuram, who could yet forge a deadly midfield alliance with the 20-cap Turkey international on Merseyside having received reliable and heavy links with a move to Klopp’s team.
With holding midfielder Fabinho likely to retain his spot in Klopp’s system despite a campaign where he flattered to deceive, the more progression-centric duo could wreak havoc behind Liverpool’s frontline, with Kokcu, who ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Men’s Next 8 divisions, as per FBref, for both shot-creating actions and progressive passes per 90, achieving a state of confluence with his “tenacious” – as dubbed by talent scout Jacek Kulig – prospective teammate.
Thuram has been regarded as “dangerous” and “powerful” by club peer Aaron Ramsey, and himself ranks among the top 6% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for progressive carries and the top 9% for successful take-ons per 90.
The state of confluence that Liverpool might craft with a deal for both of these exciting dynamos could be the perfect remedy for the seasonal strife, and it must be enacted by new technical director Jorg Schmadtke to ensure that the desired ascent takes the Reds right back to the top.