Radja Nainggolan – The Man For Liverpool?

Earlier I wrote a piece for another Liverpool website out there, about what Liverpool need in the summer. So, I went through the prominent positions which will need positioning – when a defensive midfielder was mentioned, Radja Nainggolan sprang to mind. So did Leandro Paredes.

I’ve been hearing all sorts on Twitter that we’re reportedly interested in the latter in the summer – one that promises to be a very busy one for both manager & board. Neither really have excuses for what lies ahead.

Then I looked at Leandro Paredes’ statistics for Roma. For me, they aren’t that impressive. Compare that our current midfield depth, you can’t really say Paredes is head & shoulders above either Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum or Adam Lallana for that matter.

Here are his statistics from this season. Obviously, not saying you have to treat these statistics as a gospel – sometimes Squawka statistics can lack context.

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Here are how they compare to Jordan Henderson’s & Georginio Wijnaldum’s..

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Where set-pieces are concerned, Paredes definitely is the man. We’ve lacked a natural set piece taker since the Steven Gerrard days – but I strongly think Radja Nainggolan is suited to our midfield duo/trio for next season. I’m not convinced Paredes can dispense Henderson of a defensive midfield position next season on the evidence of these statistics.

Who is Nainggolan? Well, most international supporters around the world may remember Nainggolan featuring at Euro 2016, where he scored two fantastic goals against Sweden and Wales respectively. He’s currently doing his trade at Italian side AS Roma, who are 2nd in Serie A at the time of this article being written.

The Belgian was reportedly wanted by Antonio Conte’s Chelsea in the summer, so he clearly must be gifted. What I find particularly favourable about Nainggolan is that he is a multidimensional player in midfield. What I mean by that is that he can play in defensive midfield, central midfield & attacking midfield. As opposed to Paredes, who can only play in DM or CM.

This makes Nainggolan a suitable player who can function in a formation which requires a No. 10 to play off two orthodox centre-forwards (e.g 3-4-1-2, 4-3-1-2). He is definitely a creative talent, and has the legs to press – a philosophy we all know Klopp has become accustomed to adopting in his time at Liverpool.

For me, his tackling, creative forward play, solidity & ball manipulation is reminiscent of Adam Lallana – possibly an upgrade on both Jordan Henderson & Adam Lallana. I definitely fancy Klopp to go for more of an offensive formation such as 3-4-3 next season – should he do so, Nainggolan is the perfect gulf between attack & defence. He can get high up the pitch and create opportunities for team mates, whilst providing sufficient defensive cover too – ensuring we don’t get hit on the counter attack. Oh, and not to mention his passing too. For me, he’s reminiscent of Momo Sissoko or Xabi Alonso – the days when we had one of the best midfield spines in Europe.

Here are a look at his statistics this season..

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With all of this in mind, and his hunger in the middle of the park and in an attack-minded position, there’s no reason why we can’t sign him. Attitude problems are also non-existent.

It’s now over to you, Jurgen Klopp.

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