Dream 1st Slot Signing: Liverpool Eyeing £40m Starlet Who Can “Reach Sadio Mane Level”

This would be the dream first signing for Arne Slot and his new Anfield side.

On Friday, Spanish outlet Diario AS reported that Liverpool have set a significant asking price of €75m (£68m) for Luis Diaz, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona. The speculation surrounding the Colombian’s potential transfer to Catalonia shows no signs of abating.

During the 2023/24 season, Diaz was one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers. However, with Jurgen Klopp’s departure and Diaz managing 13 goals in 51 matches, FSG and its footballing CEO Michael Edwards might find it hard to turn down an offer meeting their valuation.

On the other wing, Mohamed Salah is set to be a key player for Arne Slot’s Liverpool next season. Entering the final year of his £350k-per-week contract, Salah remains one of Europe’s elite forwards, scoring 25 goals and providing 14 assists as Liverpool finished third in the Premier League and won the Carabao Cup.

However, Salah is approaching 32 years old and, irrespective of short-term developments, won’t be with the team indefinitely.

Liverpool are looking to acquire a wide forward, and despite some uncertainty on the left side, Edwards and his team are actively searching for Salah’s replacement and may have found an ideal candidate.

Liverpool Lining Up Mo Salah Replacement

According to The Telegraph, Newcastle United are urgently trying to meet their PSR requirements, and Yankuba Minteh might be one of Eddie Howe’s most valuable assets.

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The 19-year-old winger had a standout breakout season on loan at Feyenoord. However, while Newcastle faces this challenge, Liverpool could benefit, with reports indicating that Feyenoord might look to strengthen their wide options by signing the Gambia international.

Although Newcastle are reluctant to sell, they might have to consider an offer of £40m from any interested party.

Yankuba Minteh’s Season in Numbers

Signed from Danish club Odense Boldklub in July 2023 for around £6 million, Minteh was promptly loaned to Eredivisie champions Feyenoord by St. James’ Park to further develop his skills and talent.

Odense’s chief executive, Steffen Nielsen, praised the winger’s “magic” with the ball, which was clearly evident during his tenure in Rotterdam. Minteh scored ten goals and provided six assists in 27 matches in the Dutch top flight, also netting a goal against Celtic in the Champions League.

Primarily a right winger, Liverpool will undoubtedly value his goal-scoring prowess, but it’s the player’s underlying statistics that likely caught the eye of data-driven Edwards.

Combining combativeness, creativity, and liveliness, the 5-foot-11 starlet averaged one key pass, 2.2 dribbles, 1.7 tackles, and five successful duels per game, according to Sofascore, and created nine big chances.

Yankuba Minteh: 23/24 Eredivisie Stats
MetricPer 90Percentile
Non-penalty goals0.62Top 3%
Shots total3.46Top 7%
Assists0.31Top 13%
Shot-creating actions5.81Top 3%
Progressive carries7.85Top 2%
Successful take-ons3.65Top 2%
Touches (Att pen)9.89Top 1%
Tackles2.84Top 4%
Stats via FBref (vs positional peers)

Minteh stands out in the division for his impressive goals per game ratio, exceptional assisting rate, and dynamic ball-carrying skills, positioning him as a rising star in European football.

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With comparisons to Sadio Mane, a Liverpool legend, it’s clear that Minteh has immense potential. Given his stellar performance throughout the recently concluded season, it would be wise for Slot to make a strong push to secure his signature and propel him to greater heights.

Why Liverpool Should Sign Yankuba Minteh

First and foremost, let’s address a conspicuous point: Minteh has dedicated a year to honing his skills in the Netherlands, notably under the guidance of Slot.

If reports hold true and Liverpool indeed harbour an interest in this young talent, it’s evident that Slot has been instrumental in advocating for his acquisition, recognising the attributes that contributed significantly to a second-place finish in the league and victory in the KNVB Cup, despite an expulsion in the final.

According to one scout, Minteh “can reach Sadio Mane level” once everything falls into place, citing the fluidity of his movement and the evolving precision of his shooting.

Minteh exhibits the traits of a composed finisher, as evidenced by his performance this season. While he squandered ten significant opportunities in the Eredivisie, he also converted ten goals. By comparison, Darwin Nunez tallied 11 goals in the Premier League this season but missed 27 big chances.

The clinical efficiency displayed by Minteh bears resemblance to the Senegalese star, who missed 13 major chances in his final Premier League campaign while netting 16 goals.

Additionally, Mane averaged 2.3 successful dribbles and 6.9 duels won per game, highlighting his multifaceted contribution, a level of impact that unfortunately hasn’t been fully replicated by Diaz.

Maintaining consistency will be crucial, and Newcastle’s talented player demonstrated this throughout the year. He scored three goals in four league matches in September and finished the season strongly with seven goals and four assists in 11 appearances.

Whether Liverpool opt to give this promising young talent an opportunity remains uncertain, as they are considering other targets. However, with Salah staying for another year, it could be an ideal time to groom a talented understudy who can learn from Salah’s trademark qualities.

Then, once ready, he could unleash his skill set as Liverpool’s key player on the right side of Slot’s frontline.

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