When Liverpool wrapped up a £34m deal for Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch, the door was shut at the final hour to conclude a summer of far-reaching change at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp had decided that the dismal 2022/23 campaign called for change, with the sapped midfield replaced by four shiny new signings to restore the club’s credentials to compete at the forefront of European football.
Wataru Endo, aged 30, was brought in to replace the declining Fabinho – who was sold to Al Ittihad for £40m – after the Reds missed out on both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia to Chelsea, and while the Japan international has been an underrated star of late, the long-term solution to the No. 6 position remains unsettled.
It’s unlikely that Liverpool will make any moves to complete the midfield this month but there is little question that Klopp and co would be wise to make a move for a specialist deep-lying midfielder who could anchor the engine room for many years to come.
Liverpool transfer news – Fabinho heir
According to a report from Football Transfers, Newcastle United are begrudgingly willing to let the jewel of their midfield, Bruno Guimaraes, realise his dream of playing in Spain and join either of Spanish suitors Barcelona or Real Madrid for less than his £100m release clause.
Liverpool – alongside Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain – are also known suitors but will not receive any such ministrations, with the La Liga sides not in the same financial situation, ensuring the Reds will have to meet that £100m clause.
Profit & Sustainability regulations are inhibiting the Magpies from heavy spending and have now opened the door to potential outgoings to husband resources and ensure that investment can be made going forward.
Bruno Guimaraes’ style of play
Chiefly, Guimaraes operates in the deepest reaches of the midfield, with his brilliant range of passing, high energy and relentless recycling of possession establishing him as one of the Premier League’s leading midfielders since signing from Lyon for £40m back in January 2022.
Having chalked up 86 appearances for Eddie Howe’s outfit, the 26-year-old has scored 11 goals, supplied nine assists and pronounced himself to be the team’s “piano carrier”, a footballing term highlighting a player who does the unseen work on the pitch.
Last season, as Newcastle defied expectations to surge toward a fourth-place finish and a spot in the Champions League, Guimaraes played 32 times, earned nine goal contributions, completed 85% of his passes, averaged 1.3 key passes and 2.4 tackles per game and succeeded with 63% of his dribbles, as per Sofascore.
The catalyst for success, he has still showcased his myriad of qualities this term but with Newcastle blighted by injury problems and something of a virulent case of ‘second-season syndrome’, he has perhaps not been quite so influential.
Bruno Guimaraes: Biggest Strengths
# Through balls
*Sourced via WhoScored
Nonetheless, the £160k-per-week machine ranks among the top 15% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for shot-creating actions, the top 12% for progressive passes and the top 8% for successful take-ons per 90, as per FBref.
Having also averaged 2.1 tackles and 6.2 ball recoveries per fixture in the English top-flight this season, it’s clear to see why Liverpool might want this all-encompassing midfielder to dictate the play and ward off opposition advances.
For all intents and purposes, he would be the perfect replacement for Fabinho, albeit offering a different style to his compatriot, who is less inventive with his distribution but undoubtedly one of the finest holding midfielders of the last decade, crucial in the club’s success.
How Bruno Guimaraes compares to Fabinho
Guimaraes has been hailed as a “world-class” member of the Newcastle project by teammate Dan Burn and with his dynamic approach it is clear to see why so many illustrious (and pass-centric) outfits across the continent are eager to secure his services.
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Jurgen Klopp’s side could make a shrewd January signing with this rising EFL star.
But he would differ from Fabinho, who completed 219 matches for Liverpool and played a central role in every major honour won under Klopp’s guidance thus far, carrying out his duties in the centre of the park – where he usually remained glued – with a singular industriousness that was not replicated anywhere else on the pitch.
Gini Wijnaldum too played his role to perfection but he bounced up and down the midfield passages and influenced play with his intelligence and robustness.
Fabinho was the anchor and this allowed his peers to surge forward and wreak devastation on opponents, emboldened by the knowledge that this pillar of Brazilian power was erected in front of the rearguard, commanding and cultured.
Of course, his final year on Merseyside was not one of success and he was even branded “awful” by pundit and former Red Jamie Carragher for his lacklustre displays.
But the 30-year-old still averaged 2.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions on average across the duration of his professional career – as per WhoScored – while never dropping below an 87% pass success rate in the Premier League after his maiden year on English shores.
Liverpool have now evolved, and with Alexis Mac Allister shoehorned into a defensive midfield role on many occasions this season, Guimaraes certainly appears to offer the right style to flourish in this revamped Liverpool team, effectively more suited to the placement than the Argentine while flourishing many of the same core qualities.
Liverpool might be flying high but this is certainly not the same team that was once assembled by Klopp’s hand, and Guimaraes would be a stunning acquisition to spearhead the illustrious success that is desired over the coming years.
Of course, Newcastle are demanding that divisional rivals pay his full £100m release clause and this is somewhat infeasible, even in the summer, but that’s not to say that something won’t give at the end of the campaign and Liverpool can’t then make their move.