Home News 10 defensive midfield options for Liverpool – including Lavia and Doucoure

10 defensive midfield options for Liverpool – including Lavia and Doucoure

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The season is underway but Liverpool are still without a defensive midfielder, so who are the best names the Reds could look at before the window closes?

It has been a whirlwind summer as far as Liverpool’s midfield is concerned, with the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai followed by the somewhat surprising departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

The Reds have long been in the market for defensive midfield reinforcement and the loss of Fabinho has only added to that requirement.

An ongoing pursuit of Romeo Lavia has sandwiched a speculative but ultimately fruitless attempt to pluck Moises Caicedo from under Chelsea‘s nose.

Should Liverpool eventually land Lavia, it would leave the teenager as the squad’s only No. 6 specialist and arguably in need of further surgery in the middle.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other options as well as Lavia as the deadline edges closer.

 

Romeo Lavia

2RFP2CK Sheffield, UK. 04th Aug, 2023. Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia during the Sheffield Wednesday FC vs Southampton FC EFL Championship Match at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, United Kingdom on 4 August 2023 Credit: Every Second Media/Alamy Live News

Age: 19
Club: Southampton


Have we been linked before? Just a bit!

Lavia has been at the forefront of Liverpool’s search for a defensive midfielder all summer.

Three bids were rejected by Southampton before a fee of £60 million was eventually agreed, but the Reds are yet to get a deal over the line.

How good is he? At 19-years-old and with just 29 top-flight appearances under his belt, the fee adds a fair weight of pressure and he would be required to make an impact from the outset.

He has an unquestionably high ceiling and would be a welcome boost regardless of the cost, with Liverpool in desperate need of a No. 6 with proven Premier League quality.

Suitability? 9/10


 

Andre

2KE2W44 RJ - Rio de Janeiro - 11/09/2022 - BRAZILIAN A 2022, FLUMINENSE X GOIAS - Fluminense player Andre celebrates victory at the end of the match against Goias at the Maracana stadium for the Brazilian championship A 2022. Photo: Thiago Ribeiro/AGIF/Sipa USA

Age: 22
Club: Fluminense


Have we been linked before? Very much so.

Andre emerged as a strong contender for the Reds as talks to bring Lavia to Anfield continued to stall.

Any potential move hinges on Fluminense’s progress in the Copa Libertadores, with the second leg of their quarter-final scheduled just hours before the English transfer deadline and the club understandably reluctant to sell beforehand.

How good is he? It is difficult to assess his ceiling given that the standard of his current league falls well below the Premier League.

He does, however, possess all of the natural qualities required and could complement a Lavia signing nicely, but arriving alone would be unlikely to represent sufficient business.

Suitability? 7/10


 

Boubacar Kamara

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Monday, December 26, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara (R) gets away from Aston Villa's Boubacar Kamara during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 23
Club: Aston Villa


Have we been linked before? There have been very few strong links to the Frenchman, but Liverpool could certainly do a lot worse.

How good is he? Boubacar Kamara is a mainstay in an improving Aston Villa side that many are tipping to challenge for European places this season.

He arrived from Marseille with a big reputation and has adapted well to life in England, which would stand him in good stead for a move to Anfield.

Suitability? 7/10


 

Manu Kone

Manu Kone (France U21) (Image: Maurizio Borsari/AFLO/Alamy Live News)

Age: 22
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach


Have we been linked before? Definitely, but the links began to die down when the Frenchman sustained a knee injury in the summer.

How good is he? Manu Kone was an important part of France’s U21 Euros campaign prior to his setback and is adept in breaking up play, but his injury history will certainly be a concern for Liverpool’s recruitment team.

Suitability? 7/10


 

Ibrahim Sangare

2K9CR45 Eindhoven, Netherlands. 27th Oct, 2022. EINDHOVEN - Ibrahim Sangare of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal FC at Phillips Stadium on October 27, 2022 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. ANP | Dutch Height | MAURICE VAN STONE Credit: ANP/Alamy Live News

Age: 25
Club: PSV


Have we been linked before? Ibrahim Sangare was touted as an alternative when attempts to sign Aurelien Tchouameni fell through last summer.

Liverpool are said to have scouted the Ivorian and at 25 he could be capable of making an immediate impact on Merseyside.

How good is he? Ibrahim Sangare typically profiles as a deep-lying midfielder and is thought to be valued at around £30 million, with Nottingham Forest having already shown interest.

He is direct in his approach and would become Liverpool’s second-oldest midfielder if he joined, so he would bring with him some valuable experience whilst still having plenty of miles left on the clock.

Suitability? 6/10


 

Cheick Doucoure

Cheick Doucoure of Crystal Palace

Age: 23
Club: Crystal Palace


Have we been linked before? Links to Cheick Doucoure appeared to disappear as quickly as they were sprung upon us in July.

The Crystal Palace midfielder was said to be on a shortlist of names to replace Fabinho, but there has been very little news of a potential move since.

How good is he? He is Premier League-proven and at a sweet spot age where Liverpool have a history of doing good business.

Unlike some of the names on the list, Doucoure is capable of slotting straight into the side from day one without the need for a bedding in period, which could be invaluable with the time constraints we have imposed on ourselves.

Suitability? 8/10


 

Florentino Luis

Florentino Luis of SL Benfica seen in action during the UEFA Champions League (Photo by Henrique Casinhas/SOPA Images/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

Age: 23
Club: Benfica


Have we been linked before? Florentino Luis was tentatively touted as a midfield option earlier this summer, but there has yet to be any formal approach from Liverpool.

How good is he? Liverpool have had plenty of joy poaching players from Liga Portugal and this could be another player that ticks a lot of boxes.

The Portuguese midfielder is tall and possesses a lot of similar qualities to Fabinho, which is no bad thing given that is effectively the player the Reds are looking to replace.

Suitability? 8/10


 

Tyler Adams

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2022: Leeds United's Tyler Adams celebrates as his side score scoring the winning second goal in injury time during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 24
Club: Leeds


Have we been linked before? There were rumours of interest two summers ago, but it has been Chelsea who have made more concrete strides in their pursuit.

Tyler Adams looked destined for Stamford Bridge until a move fell through while the club made approaches for Lavia and Caicedo.

How good is he? With a £20 million release clause, Adams can be regarded as a relative bargain in the current market.

He is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury and no date has yet been set for a return, but his awarding of the USA captaincy demonstrates the high regard in which he is held on the international stage.

Suitability? 6/10


 

Teun Koopmeiners

CARDIFF, WALES - Wednesday, June 8, 2022: Netherlands' Teun Koopmeiners (#20) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Nations League Group A4 game between Wales and the Netherlands at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 25
Club: Atalanta


Have we been linked before? Loosely, but the same could be said for most midfielders in Europe of a decent standard!

Reports in January indicated that the Reds had shown interest in Teun Koopmeiners, but no “concrete” approach has been made before or since.

How good is he? He offers a physical presence and can play in a number of different positions across the midfield.

The Dutchman is capable of breaking up play while also providing a threat going forward, both of which could be hugely useful for the Reds as they seek more goals from the middle of the park.

He has all of the experience and qualities needed to make a fast start to life at Liverpool, which could become an imperative trait with the season already underway.

Suitability? 7/10


 

Martin Zubimendi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI6gTrS2gd0

Age: 24
Club: Real Sociedad


Have we been linked before? He has played under former Red Xabi Alonso, but there have been very few palpable links to Liverpool as far as an actual transfer is concerned.

Alonso managed Martin Zubimendi during his spell with Real Sociedad B, where the midfielder blossomed into a quality defensive midfield operator.

How good is he? He has one senior cap for Spain on his CV, which is no mean feat given the depth of quality in that midfield.

At 24 he could be primed to take the next big steps in his career at a top European side.

He is excellent at winning his individual battles and possesses a keen eye for a creative pass through to the forward players.

Suitability? 8/10


Who would you like to see Liverpool sign? Let us know in the comments below.