Liverpool has stated that they will be looking for a midfielder in the future. After the rush of the final few days of the summer transfer window, with Julian Ward scrambling to bring in Arthur Melo, who has since been sidelined with a major injury, January will provide the club with another opportunity to go big.
Mikel Merino, who has been in excellent form for Real Sociedad this season, is one prospective target who was linked with a move to Anfield by Spanish source Fichajes last season, as Liverpool.com previously reported.
Merino has seven goal contributions from the holding midfield position in 14 La Liga games this season and has even captained Real Sociedad at times, highlighting his maturity at 26 years old. A composed and competent defender as well as an exemplary creative asset, Merino would certainly be able to bring another element to Liverpool’s midfield.
His form even earned him a preliminary call-up to Spain’s World Cup squad, however, he was ultimately snubbed by Luis Enrique alongside Thiago Alcântara.
And considering Enrique left out Thiago, who has been Liverpool’s best player in midfield over the last year or so, it is entirely possible that the Spanish national team manager had also made an error in not selecting Merino either with Enrique going for the experience of Sergio Busquets and Koke instead.
Liverpool may not be able to keep track of Merino at the World Cup, but the fact that he will not be involved could entice the club even more considering he will rest and be fresh for the second half of the season, which is exactly the type of player Klopp’s squad needs, considering the number of games Liverpool have had to play in the last year.
Merino’s ability to move the ball effectively from deep and create an impact in the final third is something that Liverpool currently lacks in the midfield. At the same time, he is capable of providing defensive solidity, ranking in the 79th percentile for tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes (3.68) in La Liga this season, according to FBref, whereas Fabinho only ranks in the 58th percentile.
Sociedad will not want to lose him on the cheap given his importance to the squad (Transfermarkt values him at £44m), but Julian Ward could try to get the Spanish midfielder to Anfield for the proper price in order to fix the club’s midfield dilemma.