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If not Bellingham, then who? Caicedo, Tielemans & Liverpool's potential January transfer window midfield signings

11:00 GMT+3 11/01/2023
Jude Bellingham Youri Tielemans Teun Koopmeiners Liverpool GFX
Liverpool's engine room is in dire need of reinforcing but which top-class midfielders are actually available and affordable?..

The clamour for a new midfielder at Liverpool grows with each passing game, it seems.

Jurgen Klopp may have insisted that the Reds cannot “play Monopoly” in the January transfer window, but it seems clear that without at least some kind of reinforcement this month, his side can forget about securing a top four finish in the Premier League.

We know who their No.1 target is, but there is zero chance of persuading Borussia Dortmund to sell Jude Bellingham at this point – and there is no guarantee right now that the England star will choose Liverpool over the likes of Real Madrid or Manchester City, either.

Likewise, a move for Wolves’ Matheus Nunes, a long-standing target, must wait until the summer, with the Portugal international having already played for two clubs this season.

Anfield sources continue to play down the arrival of another new signing this month, to follow on from the £44 million ($52m) capture of Cody Gakpo, but we have seen in the past two January windows that Liverpool are willing to do late business, should an opportunity present itself or the need become too great to be ignored.

With that in mind, GOAL takes a look at some players who could find themselves on the Reds’ radar over the next three weeks…

  • Moises Caicedo Brighton 2022-23

    Moises Caicedo

    The Brighton midfielder, 21, is a player who is clearly destined for a Champions League club, and the fact that the Ecuador international recently switched agents suggests that he and his camp are preparing for a move in the near future. Whether Brighton would wish to sell, mid-season and when they have European ambitions of their own to fulfil, is another matter, although a rumoured fee of between £45-60m ($55-73m) is not beyond the realms of possibility for a club like Liverpool. Club sources have, however, played down talk that a deal is on the cards.

  • Alexis Mac Allister Brighton 2022-23

    Alexis Mac Allister

    What about Caicedo’s team-mate at the Amex? Mac Allister is hot property after playing a key role in Argentina’s World Cup win, and like Caicedo has already been linked with a move to a bigger club. The 24-year-old is reportedly interesting Chelsea, who for the time being are managed by ex-Seagulls boss Graham Potter, and has an all-round game that could make a big difference to a club seeking an immediate impact, such as Liverpool.

  • Youri Tielemans Leicester 2022-23

    Youri Tielemans

    It seems strange that a player such as Tielemans, 25 years of age and with considerable experience and credit in the bank, has not either agreed a new contract with Leicester or attracted sufficient interest to secure a move away from the King Power Stadium. The Belgium international’s deal expires in the summer, opening up the possibility of a cut-price move in January. His Premier League experience, and his ability to create and score goals from a right-sided No.8 role, could make him an interesting proposition for Liverpool, given the struggles of Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott to flourish in that role this season.

  • Florian Neuhaus of Gladbach

    Florian Neuhaus

    A couple of summers ago, the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder was very much on Liverpool’s radar, but a move for the 25-year-old failed to materialise, and Neuhaus is currently working his way back from a knee injury suffered in September. He hopes to return to action this month, and with only 18 months remaining on his contract, it will be interesting to see if Liverpool revive their interest. It seems unlikely, but they have done it before with players such as Mohamed Salah.

  • Houssem Aouar Lyon

    Hossam Aouar

    Not so long ago, the Lyon star looked nailed-on for a move to a top Premier League club, with Arsenal and Liverpool the ones linked most strongly. But like Tielemans at Leicester, the 24-year-old is approaching the end of his contract, and could now be available at a lowish price as a result. He’s clearly a serious talent, but whether Aouar would provide the physical presence Liverpool have been lacking, however, is another matter.

  • Joao Palhinha Fulham 2022-23

    Joao Palhinha

    One of the unsung heroes of Fulham’s excellent Premier League campaign, Palhinha is a player well known to Liverpool’s scouting department, and one who represented a bargain when moving from Sporting Lisbon for only £20m ($24m) last summer. At 27, he should be entering his prime years, though Liverpool have generally tended to target younger players when making big-money signings in key areas.

  • Teun Koopmeiners Atalanta 2022-23

    Teun Koopmeiners

    A player whom Liverpool are very much aware of, and have been linked with in recent weeks, much to the Dutchman's delight. Koopmeiners ticks a lot of boxes in terms of his age (24), his physical profile and the experience he has collected with AZ Alkmaar, Atalanta and the Netherlands national team. His versatility, in that he can play as a deep or more advanced midfielder, is also appealing, but he would not come cheap as he's a key player in Bergamo.

  • Rabiot Juventus

    Adrien Rabiot

    Another player perennially linked with a move to the Premier League, and one who was among the best performers for France at the recent World Cup. Rabiot is also out of contract in the summer, though Juventus would like him to extend his stay in Turin. He turns 28 in April, but would bring a wealth of top-level experience to any club, as well as his undoubted quality.

  • Sofyan Amrabat Fiorentina.

    Sofyan Amrabat

    One of the breakout stars of the World Cup, the Moroccan was strongly linked with Liverpool immediately after the tournament, only for club sources to play down the Reds’ interest. The 26-year-old, who plays for Fiorentina, is more of a specialist defensive midfielder than others on this list, so would provide steel and energy, but his price will only have been inflated by his showings in Qatar.

  • MAHMOUD DAHOUD BORUSSIA DORTMUND

    Mahmoud Dahoud

    Remember 2016, when Dahoud was a name every Liverpool fan was talking about? Six-and-a-half years on, the twice-capped Germany international is approaching the end of his Borussia Dortmund contract, having failed to truly live up to the potential he showed at Gladbach in his early career. As with Neuhaus, it looks unlikely that Liverpool would revisit their interest, but they certainly liked him once upon a time...

  • Manu Kone Gladbach 032022

    Manu Kone

    Another Bundesliga starlet, Kone plays his football with Europa League holders Eintracht Frankfurt, and has been linked with a move to Newcastle among others. At 21, the Frenchman looks to have a huge future ahead of him, and his all-round skillset could make him a more than interesting proposition for a club like Liverpool.

  • Luka Sucic Red Bull Salzburg 2021-22

    Luca Sucic

    A name Liverpool have been aware of for some years, and one who looks destined to join the long list of players to have emerged successfully from Salzburg. Sucic is still only 20, and the Croatian's all-round game should make him a more than appealing prospect to any top club. He's a creator and a goalscorer, rather than a destroyer, but Liverpool's relationship with the Red Bull group is well established, and this is a player of serious potential.

  • Sander Berge Sheffield United 2021-22

    Sander Berge

    Persistently linked with Liverpool last summer, the Norwegian international has been one of the best players in the Championship with Sheffield United this season, and certainly has the quality and potential to play at a higher level. The 24-year-old would not cost the earth, either, though the jump from Bramall Lane to Anfield would be a pretty huge one.