Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is rumoured to be readying an £8m bid for Schalke’s teenage starlet Max Meyer as he looks to build his side for Champions League football next season.
The Northern Irishman has already recruited 32-year-old Rickie Lambert, while he complimented that signing with a blend of youth by luring Emre Can to Merseyside.
Rodgers is now set to drop one step lower in the age department, but most certainly a class above in the quality category.
Max Meyer has been one of the most sought-after teenagers in Europe in recent years and at the mere age of 18, Rodgers may well transform the raw wonderkid into a complete midfield orchestrator.
Valued at the just £8 million, one of Schalke’s midfield metronomes was well above his apparent welterweight class in the Bundesliga this season. His small stature, coupled with his lack of physique, was a ploy to opponents who thought the silky midfielder was playing the wrong sport.
He took on the mantlepiece this season and in the lengthy absences of Huntelaar, Schalke’s talismanic forward, Meyer stepped up with some scintillating performances. He made 30 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, starting 16 games – evidence of his growing importance in the squad.
Classified more of a dictator, Meyer is not renowned for his goalscoring prowess. However, he still managed to register six goals in those appearances making him Schalke’s fourth-highest goalscorer. In fact, those half-dozen strikes put him fifth in the list of most goals in the Bundesliga for players under the age of 21.
His crafty nature has drawn similarities to Liverpool’s very own Philippe Coutinho and with the Brazilian likely to fight fatigue with the number of games next season, Meyer could prove to be a useful alternative.
He created 35 chances in the Bundesliga, which was bettered only by Jefferson Farfan (45) and Julian Draxler (59) in the Schalke side. Usually deployed through the heart of the pitch, it is where Meyer is his most dangerous. Able to dissect through the defence, the German created 71.4% of his chances through that area of the turf.
However, he has a growing tendency to roam between the opposition lines and that is evident in the fact he has created 28.6% of his chances on the flanks – a useful asset to have in your armoury.
His low centre of gravity enables him to navigate his way with ease past opponents and his astute take on success rate outlines that. He completed 90/138 take ons in the Bundesliga last season – a 65% success rate. The German talent was fouled 50 times in the German league, which highlights just how much of a tricky customer he is to opponents.
With the likes of Raheem Sterling, young Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard pulling the strings last season, Rodgers will look to take the burden off the triumvirate in midfield.
Max Meyer, a talented young German, would be a brilliant acquisition to the Liverpool side and while many will see spending that amount of money on a teenager a risk, the 18-year-old demonstrated he is more than capable of coming up with the goods.
Whether Schalke will part with their prized asset is another matter, but the delicate attacking midfielder could be the one to change Liverpool’s fortunes – for the better.