Liverpool FC writer Neil Jones has provided some insight into why it took until right at the end of the summer transfer window for the Reds to finally sign Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich.
The Netherlands international had been linked with Liverpool for much of the summer, and Jones has explained precisely what went on in the saga in the latest edition of his exclusive CaughtOffside column.
Jones also provided his analysis on why he feels Gravenberch can prove a good signing for Jurgen Klopp’s side, despite having struggled in his single season as a Bayern player.
The 21-year-old looked an elite talent at former club Ajax, but he’ll now have a point to prove at Liverpool after failing to really make an impression at the Allianz Arena.
Jones is optimistic, however, that Gravenberch will prove a better fit at LFC than he did at Bayern, and praised the strength of the club’s major midfield rebuild overall.
“The reason the Ryan Gravenberch deal took so long was that, for most of the summer, Bayern Munich didn’t want to sell him. That only changed in the last days of the window, and when it did, Liverpool were ready to move,” Jones wrote.
“They have liked the player for a long time, dating back to his Ajax days, and that played a big part in this deal. Gravenberch has had a difficult 12 months since joining Bayern, and the fact that Liverpool were persistent, that they made a clear and convincing pitch to him and that they are ready to back him in a way Bayern never, really appealed to him and his camp.
“What he brings is a real mix of technical and physical quality, and a really high ceiling in terms of potential. Liverpool have a lot of versatile midfield players now, a lot of players who can do a bit of everything, and I expect Gravenberch to fit into that rotation.
“At Bayern he suffered because of the system, not quite a No.6 and not able to get in as a No.10, but at Liverpool there should be ample opportunity to play in Klopp’s three-man midfield. He knows he needs to deliver – I believe that is a key factor behind his decision to withdraw from the Netherlands U21 squad – and I believe Liverpool will have a motivated player on their hands, one who has a good chance of fitting in really well in the Premier League.
“In terms of the midfield rebuild as a whole, I think you have to say it looks encouraging. Probably, it’s been a little more dramatic than we envisaged at the start of the window – I don’t think many expected Jordan Henderson or Fabinho to leave, or indeed for Wataru Endo to come in – but in Gravenberch, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai Liverpool have bought three players aged 24 and under, all with plenty of experience and all with high potential.
“And don’t forget they already have Curtis Jones (22), Harvey Elliott (20) and Stefan Bajcetic (18). That’s encouraging for the long-term, and already the signs are positive in that the team looks more dynamic, more aggressive and more cohesive this season.”