The former Reds striker can see why a Belgian midfielder would be targeted, while doubting exits for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane
Youri Tielemans “would suit the way that Liverpool play”, admits Emile Heskey, but the Reds have been warned that they may need to “pay over the odds” in order to prise the Belgian midfielder from Leicester.
Jurgen Klopp has seen moves to bolster his engine room at Anfield mooted, with Georginio Wijnaldum having already departed as a free agent and questions being asked of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s futures.
FA Cup winner Tielemans, who is currently on Euro 2020 duty, would be an obvious fit on Merseyside given his Premier League experience, but he is tied to a contract through to 2023 with the Foxes and would not come cheap in the summer window.
What has been said?
Quizzed on whether the 24-year-old would be a shrewd addition for Klopp, Heskey – who represented Liverpool and Leicester in his playing days – told Goal: “Tielemans is a fantastic player. Tielemans is the kind of player that would suit any midfield and any team.
“He excites you because he does the simple things very, very well – the simple passes from here to there and you look at them and think ‘that was crisp, that was nice’, that slide pass that sometimes gets cut out doesn’t with Tielemans because he is so crisp with his passing. He would fit into any team.
“The good thing for Leicester is, they don’t need to sell. You have got to pay, and you might have to pay over the odds. Leicester don’t need to sell, the player is happy. Winning the FA Cup helped, it would have helped even more if they had got into the Champions League but being in the Europa League is still good.
“I think he would suit the way that Liverpool play, but you would have to prise him from Leicester.”
What about Anfield exits?
Liverpool have already completed a deal for promising French centre-half Ibrahima Konate and continue to be linked with other additions across the field, but there is also plenty of exit talk.
Some of that has centred around star forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but speculation has started to go quiet there and Heskey expects both to be at the Reds’ disposal in 2021-22.
He said: “I expect them to be there. It’s a funny one. I don’t know where it has to come from. I guess it might be because of their age.
“Salah had another fantastic season, goals and assists. Mane had a good season – considering what everyone was saying, he did have a good season. I don’t where it has all come from, but the manager won’t want to get rid of them. I think he will want to add.
“Another thing is, who is coming up next? It would be good if he had a youth player. This is where Liverpool have always had talent coming through. In midfield, there is Curtis Jones. He has got midfielders to really watch and hone his skills around, to make him a first-team player. They need the wingers now, some young wingers, to look at Salah and Mane and see what they can bring to the game and how they can be the next wingers to come through. They have to pass on knowledge.
“They do need to bring some players in, but I don’t think those players are going to be leaving.”
How long will Salah and Mane stay?
While long-term contracts and a lack of funds in a coronavirus-impacted market appear set to keep key men at Liverpool for now, the likes of Salah have hinted that fresh challenges will be sought at some stage.
It has also been suggested that the Reds need to freshen up their attacking unit, which also includes Brazil star Roberto Firmino, after relying heavily on settled options in that area for several years.
“There has never been a front three in the Premier League that has stayed together that long,” added Heskey, who hit 60 goals across four years at Anfield.
“At some stage you have to freshen it up, and they will. It’s just picking that right time to know how to maximise on the value and maximise on what they are going to offer.
“It’s also about identifying the right person to come in and replace them. That’s going to be the toughest one. But they have got [Diogo] Jota, who can play one side, but they will need another centre-forward and another winger.”
Heskey is working with Weetabix, the official breakfast cereal of the England National team and proud partner of Weetabix Wildcats, an FA football programme for 5-11-year-old girls. Enter the ‘Win With Weetabix’ On-Pack Promotion to win a range of fab football prizes: https://www.winwithweetabix.co.uk/