With Liverpool already beginning their search for a long-term successor for the soon-to-depart Steven Gerrard, Ipswich Town’s Teddy Bishop appears to be one name manager Brendan Rodgers has earmarked.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Reds are prepared to fork over £10 million to beat the likes Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to the promising midfielder’s signature, and there is a good reason for his high price tag.
Aged just 18, Bishop has established himself as one of the Championship’s most exciting prospects since making his first-team breakthrough at the start of the season, recording one goal and an impressive five assists in 17 appearances.
In fact, among all the players who’ve played more than 250 minutes in the second-tier this season, the academy product’s assist-per-minute ratio puts him fourth in the league – an impressive feat even before taking into account his age.
|Position||Team||Assists||Total Key Passes||Assist MINS||Mins Played||Appearances|
Furthermore, according to Who Scored, no teenager across Europe’s top leagues [Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Eredivisie] has recorded more assists than Bishop this season and, while he might be competing at a slightly lower level, that fact still goes some way towards underlining his creativity.
A deep-lying playmaker, who’s not afraid to go hard into a challenge, ex-Ipswich star Mick Mills has compared the youngster to England legend Ray Wilkins in the past, telling BBC Radio Suffolk: "He's like a quarterback.
"He's so young to be doing that sort of thing. I remember playing with Ray and that is all he would do - never going beyond the ball but always supporting."
That description might in fact be more fitting of a Xabi Alonso-type than Gerrard in his prime, but a player cast from a similar mould to the Spanish World Cup-winner certainly wouldn’t go amiss either.
With Ipswich sitting second in the Championship table at present, it’s unlikely that the club will allow Bishop to leave Portman Road this month, but a sizeable summer bid is certainly going to be hard for the Tractor Boys to resist, even if they secure top-flight status.
Fellow reported targets Fabian Delph and Miralem Pjanic might be the more popular names to fill Liverpool’s midfield needs, but Bishop's undoubted potential should certainly put him near the top of Rodgers’ transfer wishlist.