Jürgen Klopp might have new transfer option as £8m Brazilian outlines Liverpool 'desire'.
Football transfers, in which two clubs trade money for a person, can occasionally seem like a profoundly bizarre idea. In baseball, for example, players can be traded to a team on the other side of the country whether they want it or not, but at least they have some control over where they end up.
We’ve all seen photos on social media of football players being formally introduced by their new club who appear incredibly miserable, leaving many to wonder why on earth they even moved there. It’s uncommon for observers to hear directly from athletes about the teams they would most like to play for, but a young Brazilian midfielder recently went completely open on an Instagram live stream.
Flamengo’s Joao Gomes was responding to queries from spectators when a question on his wish to play in the Premier League was posed. “I’d like to play for Liverpool. I really want to play,” he declared (according to ESPN Brasil, via Sport Witness). The 21-year-old continued, “My ultimate desire in football, and that of my family, is to play in the Champions League.
FAO Julian Ward: All right, let’s move on! At a time when the Reds need midfielders, he has made a genuine “come and get me” plea. Liverpool won’t make a move based only on this, as fantastic as it would be for the transfer market to operate in this way. I could post on social media that I wanted to play for them, but I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to happen.
It is intriguing that Gomes has nailed his colors to Liverpool’s mast in this day of online teasing and fans’ perceptions that winning the transfer window is more important than winning games. A club so deeply preoccupied with their social media presence and reach is unlikely to take kindly to a target declaring he would like to play for one of their biggest competitors. The Flamengo midfielder was linked with a move to Manchester United earlier this summer.
Maybe Gomes is just using the Reds’ moniker to avoid moving to Old Trafford, a fate that would probably make the majority of players appear dejected during their unveiling? Or perhaps he learned about the madness at United through a teammate? Last season, they loaned Andreas Pereira to Flamengo, where he played alongside Gomes in 20 games. According to Sports Illustrated, the Brazilian team was set to sign the United player but decided against it, opening the door for Fulham to sign the 26-year-old in its place.
However, given that Gomes has expressed a desire to play for Liverpool, it is important to consider whether he is the type of player the Reds need (apart from the fact that he is a midfielder and the Reds’ injury woes have made them appear short at this position). The Rio-born player is mostly a defensive midfielder, however he has experience playing in a variety of positions, including center back when necessary.
And if his tackle statistics are any indication, he seems to be a decent one. Gomes averaged 3.4 tackles each season in Brazil’s Serie A and 4.2 per 90 minutes thus far this year. Flamengo currently has the third-highest possession percentage in the division, averaging 56.3% in 2022, according to WhoScored. Their players have less opportunities to tackle as a result, but Gomes has still done so.
To put his efforts in perspective, only one player in Brazil with at least 1,000 minutes of playing time has a greater average, and Marcos Rocha of the Palmeiras is only 0.1 per 90 minutes ahead of him. The the Premier League last season, no player with a respectable sample size came close to Gomes, with another Brazilian (Bruno Guimares on 3.8) coming in closest.
Even though the Flamengo player doesn’t dribble frequently, he is effective when given the chance. Only five midfielders in Europe’s top five divisions with comparable playing time last season accomplished more take-ons (75% in Serie A). It’s intriguing that Aurélien Tchouaméni, a player the Reds t, was one among them.
Of course, none of this implies that Liverpool will fulfill Gomes’ ambition. However, it could be worthwhile to add a new category to their scouting database that reads “has openly declared he’d play for us” in addition to spotlighting him.