Emre Can's £9.75 million release clause at Bayer Leverkusen has reportedly been triggered by Liverpool, suggesting the Reds will move ahead with plans to sign a long-term replacement for defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva.
The 27-year-old Reds enforcer has suffered in recent years with injuries that have hampered his contribution to the team but it now looks as though manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing Emre Can as his successor at Anfield.
Leiva managed 27 appearances in the Premier League this term whilst Can appeared 29 times for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. The youngster also made 7 appearances in the Champions League.
Can scored three goals and made three assists for the German outfit in the league compared to the Brazilian’s no goals and no assists but attacking play is not the basis for what Rodgers will surely be judging a holding midfielder on.
In terms of protection for the backline, Can averaged 2.6 tackles per game last term to Lucas’ 3.3 per game for Liverpool. The youngster also made fewer interceptions, 1.6 to Lucas’ 1.9 per game on average but the youngster conceded marginally fewer fouls than the Reds’ man, 1.6 per game to Lucas’ 1.7 per game on average.
Lucas made more clearances too, 2.1 per game to the German’s 1.4 per game on average as well as a slightly higher number of blocks, 0.3 per game to Can’s 0.2 per game on average. The pair were dribbled past the same number of times per game, on 1.4 occasions on average.
The Brazilian also had a vastly higher pass completion rate with a massive 90.8% of his passes finding a teammate to Emre Can’s 77.9% success rate and that is despite the fact Lucas made more passes per game on average, 52.7 per game to Can’s 36.6 per game on average.
Overall, it’s abundantly clear that Lucas Leiva is the more reliable, consistent and quality defensive midfielder although that’s not negating the fact the young target is seven years his junior.
With some more experience, and a likely necessary period of adaptation the intensity and physicality of the Premier League, however, Emre Can’s future could be very bright should he join Liverpool this summer and develop under Brendan Rodgers as an understudy and perhaps eventual replacement for Lucas Leiva who, despite his fitness struggles, is an exceptionally consistent performer in a pivotal role in the team.