As reported by L’Equipe on Monday, Liverpool reportedly opened negotiations with Marseille concerning the transfer of young midfielder Mario Lemina.
The report claims that Brendan Rodgers has enquired into signing the former Lorient prospect, but little is known of Lemina, so here are five facts to get you started.
1) A 21-year-old defensive midfielder, Lemina has made 14 league appearances for L’OM this season, and has impressed for the title chasers. Providing a defensive role in the centre of the park, the youngster has won 1.4 tackles per game, 0.8 interceptions per game and made 0.9 clearances per game. Although providing little as an offensive force, he fulfils his one duty with aptitude.
2) Having progressed through the academy of fellow French club Lorient, the Gabon-born star signed for Marseille at the start of last season. He made 18 appearances for his first side prior to the transfer, and has since totalled 37 games with two goals in his year-and-a-half with Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
3) Despite being born in Gabon, Lemina is a French youth international, having made his Under-21 debut in 2013. He was called up by the Gabon national side for the 2015 AFCON tournament, but refused the call-up to hold out for a senior appearance for Les Bleus.
4) There is as yet no indication how much Liverpool would have to pay to secure Lemina’s services, or whether he would want to leave the club, with his contract running until 2018. He signed for Marseille for just over £3.5 million, as per Transfermrkt, and so it is likely that the Reds will have to top that value to prise him away from the Stade Vélodrome.
5) Considering his age and talent, Rodgers could look at Lemina as a potential long-term signing for the Merseyside club. He is a like-for-like replacement for Lucas, but the head coach could look to convert him into the successor for departing club captain Steven Gerrard.