Merseyside club Liverpool are in the race to sign want-away Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria, according to reports. The Reds are not the only club to be interested in the services of Zakaria— several top European sides are also rumored to be watching the situation keenly when his contract expires at the end of the current season.
Reports from Calciomercato via Sport Witness have confirmed Liverpool's interest in the 24-year old. Manchester City, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, and Barcelona are all reportedly ready to offer the midfielder lucrative contracts in the summer.
Dortumund in particular will be keenly aware of the Swiss international's talents after he recently helped Gladbach put 5 past a Bayern Munich side that had been impressive under new boss Julian Nagelsmann until that fateful DFP Pokal night.
Zakaria had been touted to replace his controversial international compatriot Granit Xhaka at Arsenal in the summer transfer window. In the end, Xhaka’s move to Roma failed to materialize, and transfer talk linking Zakaria to the Premier League lost steam.
Now it seems that Zakaria could end up in Liverpool rather than in London. The Reds have proven in recent years to be the masters of free transfers, and the Switzerland international could be the latest to join an illustrious list boasting the likes of Joe Cole, Kolo Toure, Danny Ings, and Joel Matip.
What do we know about the Liverpool target?
Zakaria was born in Geneva, Switzerland to a Sudanese mother and a Congolese father. He has been capped 16 times at junior level and has 38 senior call-ups to date.
Regarding his style of play, Zakaria is usually deployed as a defensive midfielder, but his role is not limited to sitting back and protecting the back four. He often presses opposition runners, winning the ball back in crucial areas before launching counter attacks with quick, crisp passes. He's akin to a robust regista in the mould of Paul Pogba, which Zakaria himself has acknowledged.
"I've been compared to [Patrick] Vieira and [Paul] Pogba – two more players I really respect and, in a way, see as role models. When I watch videos of them I think I'd like to play that way," the Liverpool target said previously.
Where Will Zakaria Fit In Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool?
Losing Georginio Wijnaldum to PSG in the summer meant that Liverpool have struggled to play with the same intensity that has come to be expected of them. Klopp's heavy metal style requires tireless workers in the middle of the park, but the midfield options he now has at his disposal are a bit light.
Henderson and Milner are in their 30s, while Fabinho, Naby Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain have had their fair share of lengthy layoffs due to injury. For his part, Thiago hasn't exactly lit up the world following a rather peculiar £20 move from Bayern. Curtis Jones is relatively new to the Liverpool first team, and is still learning the ropes.
Reportedly, Zakaria once told friends he prefers to play in the Premier League because it suits his style. However, it is also an open secret that he is a huge Barcelona fan. It remains to be seen in which way the scales tip when the midfielder's contract expires in 7 months.
Barca's financial firepower is not what it used to be, however. It wouldn't be surprising, therefore, if Liverpool make a formal bid for the midfielder in January.