COMMENT By Richard Parks
Liverpool should press ahead with their apparent attempt to prise Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid this summer.
Spanish outlet Diario Gol claim that Jurgen Klopp has told Liverpool’s American owners he wants to sign the 21-year-old and that preliminary talks have begun between the Merseyside and Spanish giants over a loan-to-buy deal.
With Emre Can heading out of the Anfield exit door, Liverpool need a midfield master who can build attacks, dictate the play and act as a shield in front of the defence.
Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum are all fine players and have qualities that make them key squad men, but none are of the class needed to build the team around or of the calibre who would walk into the starting XIs of all top-six Premier League clubs.
With summer arrival Naby Keita more of a number eight than a number six, Klopp needs a polished performer in the anchorman role, someone who can do what Fernandinho has done so brilliantly for Manchester City this season.
Ceballos is a fine talent and could be the ideal answer to Liverpool’s search for a bona fide monster in the centre of the pitch.
He has been on the fringes of the Real Madrid side this season since his £15million transfer from Real Betis last summer, making 19 appearances in all competitions for the Champions League holders.
But it is no shame to be behind Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos in the central midfield pecking order.
Can the Spain Under-21 international break up the cartel in Zinedine Zidane’s midfield? Would he be better off elsewhere?
Liverpool have pulled off some blinders in the transfer market in recent years, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk all proving brilliant acquisitions
The Michael Edwards-led recruitment team have already nailed down Keita, and now need a top-notch operator behind him.
With Jurgen Klopp’s charm and charisma on hand to secure the deal, a loan-to-buy transfer makes perfect sense.
It would give Liverpool the chance to have a good look at the Spaniard and assess him close at hand.
Given that he did not even make the Real Madrid bench for their weekend clash against Getafe, he must be ripe for prising from the Bernabeu.
He could be a brilliant signing for the Merseysiders.