Liverpool linked with United’s 2011 Champions League tormentor

Reports in the British press today state that Brendan Rodgers has identified Granit Xhaka as the man to replace Steven Gerrard in the long term at Anfield.

Liverpool are being linked with a big-money move for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka in January, according to Metro.

The Switzerland international midfielder is valued between £15 million and £20 million, and has been in strong form this term for the Bundesliga side in their rise to fourth in the table.

With Steven Gerrard getting older, it is believed that Liverpool are keen to identify a potential midfield driving force to replace the veteran when he finally calls it a day.

The Reds showed interest in Xhaka last summer, but the box-to-box man opted to move to Monchengladbach from Basel in a €8.5 million deal.

The midfielder has also played an important role for his nation, and is set to shine in next summer’s World Cup.

Xhaka is well regarded in Germany for his range of passing, work-rate and positional sense – which Rodgers feels is akin to Gerrard in his prime.

Manchester United were victims to Xhaka’s immense abilities back in 2011 when the midfielder inspired Basel to beat United at St Jakob’s Park in a decisive Champions League match.

A 1-0 win for the Swiss side saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s men eliminated from the tournament at the expense of Basel.

The likes of Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva have been suggested as potential replacement for Gerrard in the long-term, but looking at the Liverpool squad it is obvious that the Reds will have to buy a new player once the talisman retires.

Xhaka is 21, still developing, but has all the raw attributes to be a success in England.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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