Connect in the back of the net

Liverpool have been linked with Portugal and Lorient’s versatile full-back Raphaël Guerreiro to boost the side’s chances of Champions League qualifications at the end of the season.

The Portuguese player is a big talent and has constantly been in reports for having a bright future with the amount of interest held in him. It’s believed Arsenal were chasing him last summer, and PSG were also heavily linked a while back, but the deals didn’t materialise.

Born to a Portuguese father and a French mother, Guerreiro has played his club career entirely in France. After spending his formative years with Caen, Lorient bought Guerreiro in 2013 as a 19-year-old for a sum of €2.5 million/£2.1 million. If he just caught the eye with his performances in the first season in top flight, he was an absolute revelation in the second season.

Though born in France, the 22-year-old accepted the call to represent the Portugal under-21s back in 2013. He received his international senior call up in November 2014.

 

Identity crisis

The problem with many youngsters has been versatility. The fact that they can do well in a variety of positions isn’t always a blessing as they risk becoming a “jack of all trades”. Guerreiro has also been going through a similar identity crisis, and for a while now.

It’s unsure whether he can best perform as a left-back or in the midfield and he has been switched in the two positions all season. He started as a more attack-minded player back when he was at the prestigious Clairefontaine academy.

At Caen, his coaches were impressed with his versatility but he was preferred to be used in the defence and those skills were developed further.

Caen were a very attacking team so the coach coach use the 22-year-old as a marauding left-back, which basically brought out all his best skills – pace, technical skills like dribbling and intercepting the ball, and tenacity.

Much like Liverpool’s Emre Can, who has been used almost everywhere in his short career for both club and country, Guerreiro is suffering from the same multi functionality. His tactical development has halted slightly because he is not used in one position, and is naturally unsure of what his primary job is.

Should he be used in defence, like with Portugal U-21 in their brilliant World Cup run, where the side conceded one goal in five games, en route to the final; or should his pace be put to better use in the midfield as he can link up better with the attackers?

 

Klopp and Liverpool could benefit greatly if he’s used properly

Jürgen Klopp needs to figure this out before he shells out the requisite sum for the player. Liverpool currently don’t have out-and-out wingers and with Jordon Ibe their only proper wide-man in the squad, they’ve been relying on width provided from the full-backs.

Perhaps Klopp feels Guerreiro can solve that problem for the side, and the squad does need reinforcements if they’re to challenge for a top four finish, which looks on the tougher side at the moment as Leicester, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur don’t look like they’re dropping out of the top four.

Manchester United as well as West Ham United are also in contention for the coveted spots.

 

No denying his talent

There is little doubt about the 22-year-old’s talent and he looks destined for bigger things. Lorient will not be opposed to selling if they’re paid the right sum for the Portugal international given they have a few players who can be utilised on the left side of the field.

He can be an astute signing for the Reds but Klopp needs to be sure of what role he is bringing the player in for. That is the key, in general, as far as the future of Guerreiro is concerned.

 

Written by Aakriti Mehrotra

Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1

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