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Report: Liverpool Open Talks For Exciting Young French Midfielder



Report: Liverpool Open Talks For Exciting Young French Midfielder

Ahead of the summer transfer window, Liverpool are expected to strengthen in midfield.

With Fabinho’s form dropping off a cliff during the 2022-23 season, Thiago’s injury issues continuing, Jordan Henderson ageing, and James Milner, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all departing the club, Liverpool’s midfield depth is looking thin at best.

They have been linked with Brighton’s World Cup winning midfield maestro Alexis Mac Allister, and reports in France suggest that 22-year-old Nice midfielder Khéphren Thuram is also a prime target for Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool: Club enter talks to sign Khéphren Thuram

Khéphren Thuram was one of the breakout stars of the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season. The midfielder was named in the team of the season, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, after a stellar personal showing, as Nice finished in ninth in the Ligue 1 table.

Thuram – son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian, and brother to Marcus – also earned a first call-up to the France squad for the March qualifiers against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, in recognition of his consistent excellence for Nice.

His performances have put him on the radar of Europe’s biggest clubs, and L’Équipe reported on Tuesday that Liverpool have entered talks with the player’s representatives with a view to signing Thuram.

Khephren Thuram in action for Nice (Photo: Shutterstock)

Liverpool are understood to have been in talks with Nice for the midfielder, and a meeting has taken place between the club and Thuram’s representatives. Nice reportedly value Thuram at €60 million.

There are likely to be obstacles for Liverpool, with Thuram seemingly content on the French south coast. Nice are also owned by Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS – who are in the midst of a bidding war to take control of Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United.

Thuram mainly operated at the base of midfield for Nice this season, contributing two goals and four assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances for the club.

After an underwhelming Premier League campaign, Liverpool ultimately finished in fifth place, missing out on Champions League football for the first time in seven years.

Their issues in midfield were regularly flagged as a central component of their struggles, with young players such as Stefan Bajcetic and Curtis Jones regularly starting, as well as manager Jurgen Klopp trying to move Trent Alexander-Arnold from the right flank into the centre of the park later in the season.

It is clear from the early whispers in the transfer market that Klopp recognises the weaknesses in Liverpool’s squad, and they will hope to return to the title battle next season.

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Jürgen Klopp already found’next Sadio Mané’who could solve Mohamed Salah issue for Liverpool

This is going to be a sentimental but also exciting summer for Liverpool. With plenty of departures already confirmed who have played a key role in Jürgen Klopp’s reign at Anfield, and potentially more on the way, there’s going to be a lot of transfer activity at the club.

Liverpool needs to significantly bolster not only Klopp’s starting XI but also his depth in the squad. Klopp has already confirmed the club is looking at ‘every position except for goalkeeper’ as per Blood Red, and while the central focus will be on midfield, there is room to strengthen other areas of the pitch.

One of the most vulnerable positions is on the right wing where Liverpool has had to rely on Mohamed Salah as the sole first-team option to fuel the club’s offensive line. But with Salah not getting any younger and set to turn 31 years old this summer, it’s moot for just how long the Egyptian will be able to continue without occasionally being given a much-needed and well-deserved rest, especially if Liverpool intends to continue to try to compete on all four fronts.

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Of course, at Salah’s age, Liverpool will soon also need to think about finding an appropriate future heir to the Egyptian’s throne. The Reds will hope he can continue at the top for as long as possible but with his contract only until 2025, there needs to be some sort of pre-emptive planning at Anfield about his successor.

One player who has been heavily monitored in the past by Liverpool and who could suit that role is Jérémy Doku. Last summer he was linked with a move to the club by the Daily Express but a move never materialised then. As a teenager, he even visited the club’s offices where Klopp allegedly told him he would be the next Sadio Mané, but as Doku later recalled to Ouest France he turned that offer down in search of more first-team football.

That’s paid dividends, Doku made a name for himself at the 2020 Euros only a few years later and while he has suffered some injury problems at Rennes, he’s always looked dangerous. Injury problems for a player of his style are going to occur at a younger age, but it seems like having grown into his body, Doku has finally escaped his struggles and is once again thriving in France.

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He’s made 11 goal contributions in 1,529 minutes at club level which equates to 0.64 goal contributions per 90. That’s definitely not a bad return, and as he has settled back into the rhythm, he has looked better and better with five goals and two assists in his last seven games in Ligue 1.

Considering Klopp has said Liverpool is looking at ‘every position’ it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Reds register an interest in Doku once again based on his recent form.

At 21 years old, he is the ideal option to play that backup role behind Salah on the right wing, where the Belgian is also the most comfortable. Not only is Doku good enough to make an impact right now in Liverpool’s first team, but if he can continue to develop and fulfill his potential, he will also be a more than competent long-term replacement for Salah in the future.

With his contract expiring in 2025, having entered the last two years of his deal at Rennes, there is no better time to strike for Liverpool than this summer while he still hasn’t signed a new long-term deal.

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