“Better version of Pogba” – What coaches have said about Ryan Gravenberch

Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Ryan Gravenberch on transfer deadline day, a player they admired long before this summer.

It was reported on Wednesday evening that the midfielder is the subject of “talks” between Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

A deal between the two clubs was then struck on Thursday evening for a fee said to be worth around £38.5 million.

The Reds are looking to add a “multi-functional” option in the middle of the park, with Gravenberch’s versatility said to be an attractive asset.

Gravenberch has also attracted interest from Erik ten Hag at Man United this summer, who worked with the midfielder during his time at Ajax.

Ten Hag has previously described Gravenberch as a player who “understands hard work”, which will be music to the ears of supporters who have seen the physical demands of playing in a Klopp system.

The midfielder has been characterised as a “better version” of Paul Pogba by the coach who promoted him to Ajax’s U15s at just 12 years of age.

Brian Tevreden, who worked with Gravenberch during his youth days, once said: “Physically, I see Frank Rijkaard because he’s tall and very strong. But technically, I would say he’s a better version of Pogba in his best days at Juventus, in terms of his technique and his presence on the pitch.

“He’s very dominant like Pogba was, and that’s what I see in Ryan.”

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Bayern Munich's substitute Ryan Gravenberch before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He has predominantly spent his time in Germany operating as a No. 8, but he did make 17 of his 103 appearances for Ajax playing a holding role in midfield.

At 6’2″ and with an aerial win percentage of 66.7% and 64.8% across his two seasons at Ajax his physical presence will be a welcome boost to the Reds’ spine.

Confirmation looks to be a formality as Liverpool prepare to welcome their fourth midfield signing of the summer.

He will join Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Wataru Endo as part of an emphatic midfield overhaul for 2023/24.