As the date of Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool departure draws ever never, the panic-stricken Reds peruse the continent in search of replacements.
Given his woeful recent record of finding even semi-competent heirs to the thrones of long-serving superstars (see Luis Suarez, Pepe Reina and Daniel Agger), Brendan Rodgers has sounded out not one, not two, but THREE midfielders he wants to bring in.
The fact that a trio of players have been targeted is testament to the Reds’ skippers’ status at Anfield and their specialities are as such that, when their forces combine, they resemble the real deal to an almost unrecognisable extent.
Porto orchestrator-in-training Ruben Neves is the first of these potential acquisitions.
It’s commonplace for a lauded prodigy to be likened to a current world-class practitioner, but the 17-year-old’s tag of the ‘new Sergio Busquets’ was brandished by Christian Tello, a former teammate of the Barcelona schemer.
“He is fantastic with the ball at his feet, he knows how to position himself and he’s aggressive. He’s similar to Sergio Busquets.”
So there you have it, worth every penny of the reported £29m his services will cost.
Stationed in front of the back four, Neves will perform a similar role to the one Gerrard played last term.
But screening the defence isn’t the LA-bound veteran’s only talent and to ensure that the club aren’t short of what he offers higher up the pitch they will turn to a pair known simply as ‘The Hannover Two’.
Lars Stindl and Leonardo Bittencourt comprise the duo.
The former brings versatility, tenacity and energy, while the latter is a specialist in prising open defences.
Stindl (2/1 to sign for Liverpool by February 3rd) has bagged three Bundesliga goals and assisted a further two thus far, while Brazilian-born Bittencourt (5/1 to sign by the same date) is a speedy winger allegedly available for around £6m.