The journalist told GIVEMESPORT: “It’s a deal they’ve looked at, hoping that they can maybe persuade Kante to leave Chelsea on a free transfer. We all know about Liverpool’s need for midfield reinforcements.
That is according to Pete O’Rourke, who talked up the prospective move as a potentially very “astute” one for the Anfield club, who are reportedly monitoring the France international (Football Insider).
“It looks like it’s going to be a big rebuild job in that engine room for Jurgen Klopp’s side and Kante, with his experience and know-how, is a winner. Wherever he’s been, he’s had great success. To get someone like that on a free transfer would be an astute piece of business.”
Kante’s £290,000-per-week (as per FBREF) contract at Stamford Bridge is set to expire this summer, with the player in negotiations with the Blues over a possible extension on that deal (Football Insider).
The 31-year-old has indeed accrued a glittering CV, tasting glory in the World Cup and Champions League while also featuring for two Premier League-winning sides, in addition to being a former PFA Player of the Year.
The Frenchman has previously developed a reputation as a “phenomenal destroyer”, in the words of Joey Barton (as per BBC Sport). Also, the need for a midfield rebuild at Liverpool is glaring amid their issues in that area this season and some of their own current options being out of contract in the summer.
However, even on a free transfer, we’re not sure if Kante would be the wisest acquisition. In a position where the Reds have been blighted by injuries this season, his own record in that regard leaves plenty to be desired.
At 31 he would not exactly be a long-term midfield solution, while he may need to compromise some bit on his current pay packet to fit the wage structure at Anfield, where only one current player earns more than him on a weekly basis.
Liverpool should copy Brighton’s smart strategy and ᴇxᴘʟᴏɪᴛ contract for ‘best young player’
Liverpool should be looking at emulating a recent Brighton transfer strategy in order to make a transfer for an exciting young player with an expiring contract.
Recently, Brighton has been at the forefront of smart recruitment. Not afraid to dip into markets outside of the more ‘traditional’ leagues, the coastal side has capitalized on market changes in the aftermath of Brexit and have made some bold yet effective transfers in the process.
The list is extensive, from Moisés Caicedo (signed from Ecuador) to Kaoru Mitoma — plucked from Japan. Both the South American and the Asian markets have offered Brighton an opportunity to invest in bright emerging talent for relatively cheap prices, increasing their transfer values in order to help not only elevate Brighton in the Premier League, but also give the club the option to make major profits in the future.
It’s a strategy Liverpool should look to follow given FSG don’t always have the financial resources to compete with the club’s far wealthier rivals, and a league like the J.League could be an excellent place for investment for the Reds.
Japanese football in general is on the rise. The World Cup was proof of that. Japan ʙᴇᴀᴛ both Spain and Germany to finish top of the group in Qatar and were unfortunate to be knocked out on penalties by Croatia in the round of 16.
But it was a young squad, and the potential to go even further in 2026 is definitely there, with more and more Japanese players catching the eye in top leagues in Europe, giving the national team a rich player pool to chose from.
At the same time, despite these developments and growth, transfer sale fees from the J.League are still relatively low, meaning European clubs can pick up players on the ‘cheap.’ This is why Liverpool should look to increase its presence on the continent, and the club can start by scouting the J.League straight away.
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The new season has recently got underway, with just two games played so far, and as always there will be plenty of players looking to make a mark. One Liverpool should keep an eye on is Mao Hosoya, who was voted the Best Young Player of the Year in the J.League in 2022, and who has started this season with two goals in two games.
Hosoya, who is 21, made 12 goal contributions in the league last season, and he is looking likely to better than this season after an impressive start. He also has four goals in seven games for Japan’s U23 side.
A typical poacher, Hosoya is the kind of striker Liverpool doesn’t really possess at the moment. Dangerous with his head, and exemplary at finding pockets of space inside the box or running behind defenses, he has an excellent ability to find the back of the net and his finishing is one of his strongest points.
Last season he averaged a goal conversion percentage of 19.05, which ranked him among the top ten most effective forwards in the J.League as per Wyscout. He also got 52.38 percent of his shots on target, which ranked him as the third-best striker in the league.
Not only that, but he is also a forward who contributes his fair share of defensive duties effectively. Out of forwards who averaged four or more defensive duels per 90 last season in the J.League, Hosoya ranked in fourth place for defensive duels won, winning 62.93 per cent. These are the kind of stats that would make him an excellent fit for Liverpool’s gegenpressing style of play.
Since Divock Origi left last summer Liverpool has lacked a true finisher in ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ who can come on and help Jürgen Klopp’s side decide games. Hosoya could be an ideal fit, and having already entered the last year of his contract, which expires in January 2024. Over the summer, Liverpool could have the opportunity to snap him up for a bargain fee.