Having seen Alberto Moreno endure a tough few months in 2016, Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp is said to be closing in on a possible solution to his concerns at left back.
A report from ThisIsAnfield.com suggests that Köln have accepted an offer for defender Jonas Hector, with a transfer fee mooted to be about the £12 million mark.
The 26-year-old, who is in the German squad for Euro 2016, has been linked with Klopp’s side throughout the Spring, and Köln themselves seem to have been preparing for Hector’s departure with the signing of left-back Filip Mladenovic in January.
If this deal is finalised, Hector would become the second German and the third player from the Bundesliga to sign for Liverpool this summer following the arrivals of Loris Karius and Joel Matip from Mainz and Schalke respectively.
Left back has been identified as a key area for the Liverpool boss to strengthen this summer. For many, Moreno is considered more of a winger than a full back – being an excellent option when bombing forward – and statistics show that no other Premier League defender created as many chances as Moreno last season. However, there is considerable scepticism over his defensive abilities.
The Europa League final is still fresh on Liverpool minds and it highlighted the defensive inefficiency of Moreno, with the full back badly beaten on the flank on the way to an equalising goal that Liverpool never recovered from. The player’s awareness, concentration, discipline and positional sense have also been called into question numerous times over his two years on Merseyside.
While often vilified by Liverpool supporters, some still want Moreno to stay as a squad player. Since arriving in 2014, Moreno hasn’t faced any serious competition for his place, which means there has been little pressure put on his place in the team. The signing of Hector could theoretically lead to Moreno improving his game and, at just 23 years of age, he is still young enough to develop further. The Spaniard would certainly be an adequate back up player for both the left back and left midfield positions at Anfield.
Hector, meanwhile, would be an ideal solution on paper as Klopp looks to steady the ship at left back. He is well known for his consistency – earning the moniker of “Mr Reliable” by the German press – and with his ability to provide a reliable base at the back and still maintain a decent outlet going forward, the German international would be considered an upgrade on Moreno.
Liverpool’s successes and failures last season were all cushioned against the fact that the Reds manager was utilising a squad entirely made up of players signed by predecessors, so it will certainly be interesting to see what he delivers in his first full season at Anfield.
Steven Parkhill, Pundit Arena