According to reports, Liverpool have lodged a bid for Udinese’s Polish international Piotr Zielinski said to be worth around £9.5m to the Serie A side.
The 22-year-old is a dynamic central-midfielder known for his direct style, which brought him five goals and four assists in 35 Empoli starts last term, as well as a place in Poland’s squad for Euro 2016.
However, he was unable to make the lineup for the White Eagles’ tournament opener against Northern Ireland, with rookie number ten Bartosz Kapustka preferred to the in-demand Udinese ace.
Kapustka (whose surname translates to ‘little cabbage’) won just his eighth cap against Norn Iron, seven fewer than the slightly-senior Zielinski, and after impressing in a free role during Poland’s 1-0 win, his place in the side looks ironclad ahead of the Germany clash.
Coach Adam Nawalka’s favouring of the 19-year old must be a cause for concern amongst Liverpool fans.
Stabled in his homeland with Cracovia, who could only finish fifth in the Ekstraklasa last term, Kapustka would be obtainable for a sum significantly lower than the near-£10m outlay required to release Zielinski from his Udinese contract.
Scorer of four league goals, his threat in the final third is comparable to his Serie A-stationed, international colleague, while his selection for the Northern Ireland game suggests he’s the more versatile of the duo.
Poland deployed something resembling a 4-4-1-1 for their first Euro 2016 game, with Arkadiusz Milik providing support to lone striker Robert Lewandowski and Kapustka drifting in-field from a starting berth on the left flank.
Against an opponent whose sole aim was to stifle his side’s attacking superiority, the youngster’s flourishing in this position – one that is slightly alien to the central spot he’d prefer – outlines his ability to play in any of the five midfield berths Klopp tends to field at Liverpool, whereas Zielinski seems suited to just one.