Move It Gakpo: Liverpool Frontrunners for £25m Youngster Who’s “More Talented” Than Ronaldo

This talented young player would challenge Cody Gakpo for a starting position.

On Tuesday morning, the Premier League announced the full fixture list for the 2024/25 season. Liverpool will begin their campaign with a 12:30pm away match against newly-promoted Ipswich Town.

Although Jurgen Klopp has retired from his role at Merseyside, he will undoubtedly shake his head when he hears this news. For Arne Slot, Anfield’s new head coach, this game is just the beginning of an exciting journey in England’s top flight, with three points being the only acceptable outcome.

The club’s new manager will have a wealth of top-tier players to choose from, but it’s clear that Liverpool must address some crucial gaps during the summer transfer window, particularly in central defense and on the wings.

This doesn’t mean that Michael Edwards and his team won’t seize the chance to reinforce other areas if the right opportunities arise. It appears that such a chance might have already presented itself…

Liverpool Transfer Update

According to Spanish reports, Liverpool are the frontrunners to sign Juventus youngster Kenan Yildiz, who is valued at approximately €30 million (£25 million) by the Serie A club.

The 19-year-old Yildiz has become a highly coveted player in Italy following an impressive breakout season. Despite his success, he has been persistently linked with a transfer, with Arsenal and Manchester United also reportedly showing interest in recent months.

Although Yildiz does not exactly fit the profile of a right-sided, in-cutting wide forward that Liverpool have often been associated with, he presents a unique market opportunity. Slot could effectively utilize the young player’s developing skills.

Kenan Yildiz’s 23/24 Season Stats

Speaking of Yildiz’s ability back in January, former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said: “There are very few people who can control the ball like a star player. Moreover, he rarely makes wrong decisions, and that’s a natural talent. We didn’t need to teach him that. I want him to do even more because he has the potential to make a difference.”

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Despite being in the early stages of his promising career, the Turkish international—who played at Euro 2024 yesterday—has already become a regular for Juventus, even though he was playing youth football during the 2022/23 season.

This season, primarily playing just behind the center-forward for Juventus, Yildiz scored six goals and provided two assists in the Italian first division, despite starting only nine matches. He has made a significant impression.

According to FBref, he ranks in the top 11% of forwards in Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for shot-creating actions, the top 4% for pass completion, the top 8% for progressive passes, the top 7% for progressive carries, the top 4% for successful take-ons, and the top 9% for tackles per 90 minutes.

Dynamic and daring, Yildiz is an exceptional prospect and could be an ideal addition to Liverpool’s depth. His impressive early performances have even led his former coach, Sokyan Baskar, to assert that he is “more talented than Cristiano Ronaldo.”

This might be a bit overenthusiastic from Baskar, but it does start to illustrate how highly regarded this dynamic forward is. Still in his teenage years, he has the world at his feet.

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It’s worth noting that Ronaldo, at the same age as Yildiz is now, scored six goals and provided eight assists across 40 matches during the 2003/04 season. While it’s unrealistic to expect the young Turk to reach the same extraordinary heights as Ronaldo—one of football’s all-time greats—the praise reflects his potential to succeed at a team like Liverpool.

How Kenan Yildiz Could Fit in at Liverpool

Yildiz’s exceptional pace and smooth footwork suggest he could become a permanent wide player in the future, potentially succeeding Luis Diaz at Anfield.

Recent speculation links Diaz with a move away, with Barcelona showing keen interest. Meanwhile, Cody Gakpo, another of Slot’s left wingers, looks set to stay and aims to compete for a more prominent role, having started just 17 Premier League matches last season.

Gakpo appeared on the left flank 12 times during the season but only managed to score three goals. Despite his versatility and frequent positional shifts, he has faced criticism for some of his performances. Gregg Evans of The Athletic noted that “he looks a bit short of pace and physicality.”

In contrast, Yildiz excels in these areas. Despite his slender build, the 6-foot-2 star possesses deceptive strength and impressive athleticism.

With his youth on his side, he is expected to continue developing in the coming years. Analyst Ben Mattinson even suggests he could become a regular starter for Thiago Motta’s Juventus next season, should he stay in Turin.

With a continuously developing skill set that suggests progressive and creative prowess, he appears destined for the upper echelons.

Should Diaz be sold this summer, Yildiz emerges as a promising and astute successor. Gakpo aims to solidify his claim for a regular starting role on the left wing, but with the potential signing of Yildiz, he may face competition from a remarkable young talent.

In other Liverpool news, Liverpool Could Finally Sell Centre-back Signed Six Years Ago After Eighth Loan Spell Away from Anfield

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