Liverpool have been linked with AZ Alkmaar and new Netherlands international Teun Koopmeiners as a possible replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum is into the final three months of his Liverpool contract, hasn’t looked close to signing a new one, and will be able to leave as a free agent when it expires in June.
The 30-year-old, bought for £25m from Newcastle in 2016, has been heavily tipped to join Barcelona on a free transfer, which would mean reuniting with former Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman.
With Wijnaldum’s departure increasingly likely, Liverpool will soon have a void to fill in central midfield and Koopmeiners is a name that is now coming up.
AS reports that Liverpool are the latest club to show an interest in him and is seen as an ‘ideal candidate’ to make up for the loss of fellow countryman Wijnaldum this summer.
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However, there has already been interest in his services from Roma, Napoli, Inter and Sevilla.
Koopmeiners could cost around €20m (£17.4m) and has even been likened in some quarters to Real Madrid and Germany veteran Toni Kroos because of his range of passing.
He is still only 23 but is already AZ captain, having first joined the club at the age of 11 and progressed through the youth ranks to the first-team. He made his senior debut in 2017 as a teenager and has been a regular ever since.
Koopmeiners also made his Netherlands debut in 2020 in October and was called up during all three international squads in the autumn, although he missed out last month in order to play at the first part of the Under-21 European Championship finals instead.
Koopmeiners is typically a defensive midfielder, whose presence at Liverpool could allow Thiago to have a freer role in future, but his goal stats are impressive because of his role as penalty taker at AZ – he is also good at free-kicks.
Seven of his 15 Eredivisie goals this season have come from the penalty spot. He has also scored two direct free-kicks, although it means there have still been six goals from open play.
It should also be pointed out that Wijnaldum has not generally been a goalscoring midfielder for Liverpool, and while they may not be exactly the same kind of player, Koopmeiners could be a good fit in what will soon be an evolving Reds team.