Liverpool have been linked with Donyell Malen this summer to bolster their attacking ranks but did you know that he played for Arsenal for two years between 2015 and 2017?
He left the Gunners for £540,000 in 2017, joining PSV Eindhoven and ever since, he has been tearing it up in Holland.
The Reds were linked with Malen in April and while there has been precious little since to suggest there is still serious interest from Liverpool, they should definitely consider making a move to bring him to Anfield.
In 42 games this season, he’s got 25 goals and 9 assists. Liverpool are in the market for a new forward and he ticks all the boxes required to play as a forward under Jurgen Klopp.
PSV would like to sell him for around £25million and this is the ideal fee in a summer which sees Liverpool cash strapped due to the pandemic.
Not only is he super fast, but he’s also got the agility and balance to go along with his tight control and dribbling. He’s essentially a defender’s nightmare.
It’s fair to assume these numbers might decrease in the Premier League but Malen wouldn’t be the first Liverpool forward to arrive from the Eredivisie before hitting the ground running.
Luis Suarez, arguably Liverpool’s most talented striker of the Premier League era, joined the club from Ajax in 2011 and subsequently scored 82 goals and assisted 42.
The Atletico Madrid man is a generational talent and I’m not here to tell you Malen will reach the heights he has but rather to say there’s a chance he’s not simply plundering goals in Holland because of the lower standards.
What makes me think he’ll flourish under Klopp is his positional fluidity. He plays as a no.9 primarily but he tends to pop up all across the front line as his pace and agility allow him to twist and turn out of even the trickiest positions.
He’s equally good at receiving the ball with his back to goal as he is at running beyond the central defenders responsible for marking him. Even more important than his ability to score from a wide range of positions is his ability to link up play.
Malen would provide direct competition to Roberto Firmino and the Brazilian’s main strengths are his ability to trigger the counter-press as well as his ability to create space and chances for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
The PSV Eindhoven forward is adept at creating chances for his attacking teammates as well as any midfield runners that may get forward to aid the Eredivisie outfit’s attacking ambitions.
Simply put: Malen at £25million is a must. He’s not on the same level as Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland but he doesn’t need to be when he costs a fraction of the price.
There’s also the impact it would have on Firmino. Manchester United’s move for Alex Telles is a good example of what a new signing can do for an existing player, with Luke Shaw’s performance levels for Manchester United skyrocketing this season.
The English left-back has had a torrid time with injuries in the past so that didn’t help but he’s been distinctly average and was even accused of being overweight.
This season, he’s been the best left-back in the Premier League by some margin.
Malen’s arrival at Anfield could do the same for Firmino. Divock Origi simply doesn’t put the same pressure on the Brazilian and so he knows he’s pretty much a guaranteed starter.
I would bet that if Firmino felt more at risk of spending a few weeks or a month on the bench due to competition for playing time, his performance levels would mimic the spike that Shaw’s saw.
Hopefully, the 29-year-old can find his scoring boots in May as Liverpool look to do the unlikely and qualify for next season’s Champions League.