With a major Europa League clash between AS Roma and Ajax Amsterdam on the horizon, the Italian publication decided to preview the match by taking a look at the key battles.
They identified Gonzalo Villar vs. Ryan Gravenberch as an interesting duel in the midfield before going onto suggest that Liverpool are ‘pursuing’ the 1.9m powerhouse, who is yet to turn 19.
Despite his age, he operates with the authority and presence of a veteran and has the strength and muscle of a 90s-era midfielder. The below video is the perfect highlight reel for those that have never seen him play.
Liverpool fans will remember facing him in this season’s Champions League group stages and while his attacking talents were stifled by the Reds’ tireless pressing that night, he showed maturity and an understanding of the game that belie his tender age.
Gazette dello Sport claim he’s worth €35million while Sport Witness suggest this means Ajax will value him higher than that. Georginio Wijnaldum seems destined to leave the club even though Anfield Central sources are told there’s still a contract offer on the table from sporting director Michael Edwards.
His greatest strengths include his passing – which is unsurprising as an Ajax academy graduate – his dribbling, aerial ability and long-range shooting. The final attribute listed is what I like about him the most.
In the modern game where clubs and their data analysts are obsessed with stats such as xG, shooting from outside the box isn’t encouraged as much as it was when Steven Gerrard and the like were around.
Liverpool’s midfield is primarily tasked with providing cover for their marauding fullbacks so as to ensure the Reds aren’t constantly decimated by counter-attacks. This season this hasn’t worked as well with the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez leaving them devoid of pace and positional awareness.
So it would be great to have someone like Gravenberch in midfield that is able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck by scoring a goal from 25+ yards.
With Gini Wijnaldum potentially on his way to Barcelona, why not replace him with another Dutchman and better yet, one that’s 12 years younger than him?