The saga involving Emre Can’s future hangs in the balance and he could yet sign a contract extension at the end of the season. However, Liverpool can’t just presume he’ll sign an extension and need to look for an ideal replacement for the German.
Jurgen Klopp has reportedly looked at RSC Anderlecht youngster Leander Dendoncker as a possible replacement for Can. The Belgian powerhouse has been a regular starter under Hein Vanhaezebrouck, the side’s manager, having started 27 of their 30 league games.
Like for like replacement?
Can has often operated as a number 6 under Jurgen Klopp whilst also being deployed further up the field. In the absence of Jordan Henderson, Can has stepped it up and produced some remarkable performances. Dendoncker takes up the exact same role as a holding midfielder and has been exceptional in that position for his side. He has an excellent eye for a pass and illustrates the role of a number 6.
His switch of play and his passing range are quite brilliant. The youngster is also pretty adept with his weaker foot and at 1.88 m, he is a towering presence during set pieces. As a muscular figure, he can brush players aside in his territory with ease.
The Belgian dominates and ticks all the boxes required to play the holding midfield position although he isn’t one who’ll give you a ton of goals and assists from midfield.
Despite 22, the Belgian has been entrusted with the captain’s armband on numerous occasions by his manager, leading his side on 8 occasions. As a controller of the game and the team’s backbone, leadership is of vital importance. Despite his young age, he has done well as captain for the Brussels based club, losing just once in those 8 games.
Worth the gamble?
To many, it would seem a gamble given that he is yet to establish himself as a top-quality player. Despite that, Jurgen Klopp is a man known to hunt for such talent and nurture them as he has done on numerous occasions in the past.
With the Belgian’s infusion, Liverpool would hold two players in that position in Henderson and Dendoncker. This move may not be ideal if Liverpool intend to match the heavyweights in England that possess world class players in that role.
Despite that, it may be an interesting move from Liverpool if at all they make a move for their man post Can’s likely departure.