The name Filip Kostic has been all over the news over the past couple of days, after Bild revealed Liverpool had been scouting the Stuttgart winger for two years.
Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen to bring in the Serbian international, although the Reds are likely to have to seek special dispensation to sign him from the Football Association due to work permit issues surrounding his limited number of appearances for his national team.
Left-sided forward Kostic has struck five times for his mid-table Bundesliga employers this term, assisting seven more across all competitions.
But just what kind of player is he?
When it comes to talented prospects, you’re no one if you’re not the ‘new’ someone else these days and Kostic has his own short-hand comparison household name, Arjen Robben.
Not only did he represent Robben alma mater FC Groningen for three formative seasons before moving to Germany in 2014/15, but he shares many of the Dutchman’s positive attributes.
Speed, strength and the ability to cut in from wide, beat men and find the far corner at will are all traits he shares with the Bayern Munich man.
In a report from Soccer Souls in August 2014, Kostic was described as ‘the man with Robben’s abilities and [fellow ex-Groningen man Luis] Suarez’s self belief’, quite a combination.
However, his assist haul shows that he is far from self obsessed, while he also boasts the second highest key passes per games average in the Bundesliga and the highest accurate cross per game mean, suggesting a keen appreciation of his teammates’ whereabouts.
While his tackles-per-outing average (1) is below that of the likes of Roberto Firmino (2.2) and Adam Lallana (1.9), he is defensively diligent.
His mean of 1.8 interceptions a game is higher than those any of Liverpool’s attacking-midfield brigade, hinting at a sound reading of the game and ball-winning chops that would only be enhanced when employed as part of Klopp’s team-wide gegenpressing.