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Liverpool could sign 'next Xabi Alonso' after Bayern Munich call but time ticking on $15m clause

Assan Ouédraogo of Schalke is being linked to Liverpool and a host of European clubs,
-Credit: (Image: 2023 Sebastian El-Saqqa)


Liverpool could very well sign a midfielder this summer. The club signed four of them last summer due to the mass exodus of midfielders. James Milner, Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson all departed Anfield for one reason or another.

In their place arrived the likes of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endō and Ryan Gravenberch. Yet there was always the sense that the club could do with one more. No other midfielders were signed in the January transfer window, and indeed Gravenberch went down as the last signing of the Jürgen Klopp era.

Now, with the summer transfer window a mere weeks from opening again, Liverpool is being linked with host of midfielders, and the Reds have been given a boost in their quest to sign Schalke talent Assan Ouédraogo.

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Ouédraogo was also linked with a host of European clubs, with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Everton, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Manchester United all registering interest in the player. German journalist Florian Plettenberg claimed that Ouédraogo preferred a move to Bayern and was just 'waiting on the call'.

However, Plettenberg then posted on X (formerly Twitter) to say that Bayern had decided against signing the teenager, leaving the door open for Liverpool and other sides to make a move for the player. Ouédraogo has, according to Plettenberg, an activation clause in his contract, valid only for two weeks in June and applicable only to Premier League clubs, that he can be bought for $15m (£12m/€14m).

Ouédraogo has been likened to former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso in recent times: "The Schalke midfielder is more of a natural number eight than a number six, and he has the potential to be a difference-maker in games with his eye for goal and incisive passing range," Goal described Ouédraogo as in a profile piece in April.

The teen is yet to make his debut in the Bundesliga, with Schalke playing in the German second tier. Yet considering Liverpool arguably needs more of a destroyer in midfield than an attacking midfielder, it remains to be seen whether the club could buy Ouédraogo or perhaps activate the clause with the intention of sending him out on loan.

Ouédraogo's contract with Schalke has another three years to run. The 18-year-old made 17 appearances in the Bundesliga 2 for Schalke this season, scoring three times.

Liverpool.com says: It's debatable whether Liverpool needs a player of Ouédraogo's characteristics at this point, the club arguably needs a Fabinho replacement more. However, the club could look to the future and sign the player with a view to sending him out on loan to gain experience, much like Liverpool did with Harvey Elliott.