web analytics
Wirtz chooses Man City over Liverpool as ten Bayer Leverkusen stars set to follow Xabi Alonso

Wirtz chooses Man City over Liverpool as ten Bayer Leverkusen stars set to follow Xabi Alonso

Assuming Girona don’t do an absolute madness in La Liga, Bayer Leverkusen look set to be the surprise title winners in Europe this season, and with that spotlight comes interest in their players, coaches and staff.

Inevitably, much of that interest will come from the Premier League, and we’ve looked at all the Leverkusen lads who could be set for the English top flight this summer, predicting where they’ll end up. We start with the main man…

Xabi Alonso – Liverpool
Despite Xabi Alonso saying, and then repeating, that he would not be drawn on speculation over his future – understandable given his current team is on course for an historic treble – there’s been predictable posturing from supposed in-the-know journalists, with ‘news’ (and we’re as guilty as anyone for reporting it as such) based upon little more than their feelings on the matter.

Let’s assume he does leave Bayer Leverkusen, for Liverpool, not because we have any inkling whether that’s more or less likely than him staying put or choosing Bayern Munich (there are at least five reasons why that would be the smart choice), but because it would greatly increase the chances of some of his players moving to Anfield, making this flight of fancy article ever so slightly more substantial.

Simon Rolfes – Liverpool
Jorg Schmadtke has now left his interim post as sporting director, having very successfully rebuilt Liverpool’s midfield it seems, and former transfer wizard Michael Edwards – to whom a sizeable chunk of the success under Jurgen Klopp can be attributed – has reportedly rejected an offer to return to Anfield.

It’s claimed Edwards may be “made an offer he can’t refuse” but failing that it’s thought Rolfes is high on a wishlist which also includes Frederic Massara, the former Roma and AC Milan director, and Florent Ghisolfi, the Nice sporting director.

It’s thought Liverpool want a new director in place by the end of March, with that individual to make the final decision on a new manager. No prizes for guessing who Rolfes’ top choice would be.

Victor Boniface – Chelsea
How Chelsea are going to spend £100m+ on Victor Osimhen in the summer when they can’t even afford to play in the Europa Conference League obviously isn’t a factor for gossip column writers, for whom the romance of ‘following his idol Didier Drogba’ trumps all logic, but we’re more grounded and exceedingly curmudgeonly here at Football365, and can’t see it happening without them selling not just every academy graduate but every current member of their youth system. Six-year-olds can be pure profit too, right?

Can you tie your own bootlaces? Congratulations, you’re a makeweight for Victor Osimhen.

Fellow Victor and compatriot, Boniface, is two years younger than Osimhen, has scored seven more goals than him this season (16:9) and would be less than half the price.

Piero Hincapie – Liverpool
Liverpool were in touch with his agent both in the summer and winter windows –  according to said agent, so pinches of salt please – but journalists with no particular skin in the game have cited the Reds’ interest in Hincapie as they search far and wide for Virgil van Dijk’s long-term successor at left centre-back.

At 22 he’s a player already performing at a high level, with a much higher ceiling, which certainly fits with the current recruitment model at Anfield.

Edmond Tapsoba – Chelsea
Manchester United have been more heavily linked, probably more because of the Manchester United transfer link obsession rather than greater interest, but there have been at least as many rumours of them going after Jean-Clair Todibo, a move less likely to see them bent over a barrel in typical United style given Sir Jim Ratcliffe owns Nice, the club Todibo currently plays for.

Chelsea want a centre-back, despite spending a cool £200m on new ones in the last couple of seasons, because Thiago Silva looks finished, Trevoh Chalobah’s a pure profit pariah, Wesley Fofana’s eternally crocked, and Axel Disasi channelling John Terry in one game of football apparently wasn’t enough to convince Mauricio Pochettino that his defensive problems are sorted. Tapsoba is on his ‘list’ and reports suggest Leverkusen will listen to offers of around £40m for the 25-year-old.

Reported Chelsea targets Victor Boniface and Edmond Tapsoba celebrate a goal.

Chelse are keen on Victor Boniface and Edmond Tapsoba.

Florian Wirtz – Manchester City
Liverpool are very keen as well, but reports suggest Pep Guardiola’s set his his sights on the 20-year-old, possibly as a Kevin De Bruyne replacement, more likely simply as a very good footballer who will be brilliant in this version of Manchester City or one of the next two or three versions the manager develops them into.

Lucas Paqueta also remains on the City radar, and signing one likely rules out the other as each of them would cost around £100m.

Wirtz does appear to be wedded to Alonso though, with reports suggesting the only way he’ll remain at Leverkusen is with the current boss still in situ. So if Alonso goes to Liverpool, maybe Wirtz will too?

Exequial Palacios – Manchester United
With Casemiro in a downward spiral that features Christian Eriksen somewhere near its base, it would be something of a red flag for Sir Jim Ratcliffe (and here are five more) to make Kobbie Mainoo wholly responsible for the Manchester United midfield, excellent though he’s been.

Palacios is a fighter, not dissimilar to compatriot Lisandro Martinez in that sense, operating in central midfield, predominantly with defensive duties in mind, though he’s also got five goals for Leverkusen this season. United could snag him for around £35m.

Jonathan Tah – Liverpool
‘Interested in a move to the Premier League’ according to Bild journalist Christian Falk, who also reckons Tah is on the Liverpool ‘list’ and would be a snip given his release clause of just £15m.

Huge Joel Matip vibes here as a cheap, experienced right-sided centre-back moving from the Bundesliga to Anfield.

Jeremie Frimpong – Arsenal
Liverpool and Manchester United were both also said to be keen in Frimpong, whose £35m release clause is only valid this summer, but Conor Bradley’s displays have presumably reduced Liverpool’s need for a right-back to zerio, while United apparently have a problem with Frimpong being 5ft 6in, which is a laugh given Lisandro Martinez, but hey-ho.

That leaves Arsenal, whose fans continue to bang the drum for Ben White, while the rest of us have been convinced for a while that they would benefit hugely from an upgrade in that position.

Odilon Kossonou – Manchester United
Now an AFCON winner and a key cog for Xabi Alonso, who is reportedly convinced Kossonou has what it takes to go right to the very top of European football.

At 23 he’s presumably got his best years to come and fits the new youth transfer policy under Sir Jim Ratcliffe at United.

Patrik Schick – West Ham
Heavily linked with multiple Premier League clubs in his 2021/22 heyday when he banged in 24 goals for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, but significant injury woes resulting in a general form dip since make him a prime candidate to become the 427th striker to join West Ham and fail to score goals for them.

Read More

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *