Liverpool have been terrific this 2018/19 season, challenging what seemed like an unstoppable City juggernaut for the Premier League title. But with the title race set to go down to the wire Jurgen Klopp needs reinforcements this January.
Originally, the former Dortmund manager wasn’t planning on bringing anyone to Anfield this window. However, it seems like the plan has changed with his reported interest in Schalke’s Weston McKennie.
The American has impressed in the Bundesliga and for the US national team, with Liverpool reportedly sending scouts to watch him. A teammate of former Liverpool target and new Chelsea signing Christian Pulisic, let’s take a look at what McKennie could bring to Klopp’s side.
Born in Texas, he spent three years between the ages of 6 and 9 playing in Germany before the midfielder returned to the US. Mckennie rejected the offer to play for the University of Virginia in 2016, instead opting to join FC Dallas’ youth system.
Yet after seven years in Dallas’ youth system, he rejected a contract offer and subsequently left the States for the fabled Schalke academy. A bold move for a young player, but it has definitely paid off.
The fact he made his senior debut for Die Königsblauen just a year after joining their academy speaks volumes of his ability. Despite the debut being his only appearance of the 2016/17 season, McKennie has gone from strength to strength in the Bundesliga over the last two seasons.
25 appearances in 2017/18 and 13 appearances so far in 2018/19 show he is growing as a player in one of Europe’s best leagues.
Style of Play
Standing a 6ft 1in in the centre of the pitch, the seven-time capped American is an incredibly versatile player, playing in defence, midfield and even up front! Yet his main position is the centre of midfield in a box to box role, using his engine to take part in both defence and attack.
As shown in the video, he is constantly tracking back, strong in the tackle and capable of holding up the ball. 1.2 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game is fairly decent for someone who plays all over the pitch.
But not only is the former FC Dallas player good defensively, he is also fairly decent on the ball. Able to both out-muscle and dribble past opposition players, McKennie is fairly decent with the ball at his feet and contributes to attacking play.
Being an up and coming player, Weston McKennie would probably not be ready to start for Liverpool or play many minutes for the first team. Yet he is without doubt an exciting prospect that has gone under the radar with the emergence of other Bundesliga young players.
A £20 million fee has been reported which in today’s market is essentially the norm for an inexperienced player. But squad depth is crucial in a title challenge so this could be a shrewd bit of business by Liverpool, if the rumours are true…
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