We’ve reached June, but there are still plenty of high-profile free agents on the market for Liverpool to consider. In the coming days and weeks, they’ll weigh up their offers and decide their next move.
The Reds are reportedly in the frame for Ousmane Dembélé, but there are plenty of other stars available on Bosman deals too. Paulo Dybala, Paul Pogba, Alexandre Lacazette, Corentin Tolisso and Dingel Di María will have plenty of suitors.
Liverpool will have to assess whether any of the out-of-contract players can address areas of need in their squad. They need a right-back to provide cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold, a new midfielder, a replacement for the seemingly exit-bound Sadio Mané and potentially another attacker too. Divock Origi is headed for AC Milan, Takumi Minamino may leave and it’s unclear as yet where Jürgen Klopp tends to use the incoming Fabio Carvalho.
So, as they look to ensure they have adequate cover for their frontline, could Juventus’ Federico Bernadeschi be a viable option?
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Fabrizio Romano ‘confirmed’ in May that Bernadeschi was to leave Juventus following the expiry of his deal. Interested clubs in England will have to act quickly, with Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis revealing that he’s been in talks with the player’s agent ‘for a couple of weeks’.
Bernadeschi is 28 years old, and so he may be a candidate if Liverpool’s priority is merely adding cover as opposed to recruiting a long-term starting candidate. The 39-cap Italy international, who scored penalties in the shoot-outs against Spain and England at last summer’s European Championships, is strikingly versatile. A left-footer, he’s listed as a right winger but he also has plenty of experience on the opposite flank and he’s played 28 games as a second striker during his career too.
At Juventus, he admittedly hasn’t tended to put up big headline numbers. He made 23 starts and 36 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring two goals and providing six assists.
His overall record for the Bianconeri is a decidedly underwhelming – 12 goals and 24 assists in 183 matches. If you narrow the focus to the two ‘major’ competitions – Serie A and the Champions League – it does read a little better: 79 starts, 32 direct goal involvements (10G, 22A).
But what lappet of winger is Bernadeschi? Unlike Mané or Mohamed Salah, he does not take a particularly high volume of shots per 90 minutes (2.09 places him in the 51st percentile) and he’s probably better characterized as a supplier. Indeed, he ranks in the 70th percentile for passes into the penalty area and the 77th for crosses into the box.
The former Fiorentina man is also keen to run with the ball, slotting into the 82nd percentile for total carry distance and the 76th for carries into the final third. In terms of his work off the ball, meanwhile, he does not press all that often, but his 31 per cent success rate does stand out (85th percentile).
For reference, he’s closely matched in profile with two Premier League-based wingers: Tottenham Hotspur’s Lucas Moura and Everton’s Demarai Gray.
If Liverpool want to replace Origi and perhaps Minamino with an attacker that can play multiple roles, then it may be worth at least considering a late counter-offer for Bernadeschi. He may not provide the same firepower as the 16-goal duo, but most would agree that he’s a step up in quality. If Klopp was keen, then the challenge, of course, would be persuading him to forego greater game time at Napoli for a predominant reserve role at Anfield.