With Liverpool still stalling over giving their most exciting young central midfielder, Emre Can, a new contract, and the sharks of Juventus circling, has the time come for Jürgen Klopp to move on the German midfielder, should Juve be willing to pay the right price?
The first question is what the right price is, as the £26million that it is rumoured Juventus would be willing to pay would surely not be anywhere near enough to prise Can from Liverpool’s hands. In the current market the Reds would need to spend somewhere close to, or even upwards of £50m to replace Can, so it makes no sense to accept a bid worth half of that. That isn’t to say that Can himself is worth £50m, but in the current market he has to be worth at least £35m-40m.
And even then, there is certainly a very strong case to be made that Liverpool should not be selling Can at all, whatever the price offered (unless of course that price is truly ludicrous). The reasons for this are twofold: Emre Can is an extremely talented young player, and Liverpool should send a message by keeping him. These two reasons are inextricably linked, but subtly different.
Liverpool’s bright young talent
The first and most salient point is that Emre Can is one of Liverpool’s best young players. At 23, he’s significantly younger than Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum or Jordan Henderson and has the talent to surpass all three of them. He was one of Liverpool’s best players last season, and Klopp clearly trusts him as a key member of the squad.
Whilst it remains to be seen who will be Liverpool’s first choice midfield next season, there is plenty of evidence to support the claim that Can will be one of the first names on the team-sheet. Replacing Can would not be an easy task, as he is a versatile midfielder with strengths in every area, and nobody in Liverpool’s team is as rounded as he is. He’s a robust tackler, a great dribbler, a consistent and ambitious passer and has a fantastic shot on him, not to mention that he’s good in the air. Oh and then there's this.
More Emre Can’s, not less
The second point is that Can is exactly the kind of player that Liverpool should be looking to add to their squad this summer. He’s a young, dynamic, versatile midfield workhorse, exactly the sort of player that Klopp loves to have in his team, and the exact profile that FSG have been hunting.
Selling Can would mean selling one of Liverpool’s biggest assets, and the team should be looking to add an Emre Can to the squad, not sell one.
Not only do Liverpool want to not be seen as a selling club, but they do want to be seen as a club that is ideal for young talent, and keeping hold of Can sends a message that young players are happy and embracing Klopp’s project, even when bigger clubs such as Juventus are making offers.
Moreover, not only does keeping Can send a signal to young players that Liverpool is a good club for them, but it also sends the message to other teams that Liverpool’s best players are not for sale. There are many Liverpool fans who will argue that Can is not one of the club’s best players but that will not be Klopp’s perception, or indeed the perception of many within the market. If Can isn’t already one of Liverpool’s best, he’s certainly got the potential to be.
So Liverpool should reject Juventus’ advances for Emre Can, because he is a fantastic young player, with a bright future under Jürgen Klopp, and keeping hold of him sends a big and bold message about the future of Liverpool Football Club.