Liverpool missed out on a player who’ll become “much better” than Chelsea star Kai Havertz, former Germany youth star Simon Cziommer has told ESPN.
For Reds supporters, Germany’s 6-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Armenia this week offered a glimpse into what may have been and what still might be.
In the closing stages of a thumping win at the Mercedes Benz Arena, Florian Wirtz – Liverpool’s one that got away – danced through a forest of legs before setting up Karim Adeyemi to become the youngest German goalscorer since Mario Gotze a decade ago.
According to BILD, Red Bull Salzburg starlet Adeyemi could follow in the footsteps of Takumi Minamino with a potential £17 million move to Anfield in the next window.
And if things had worked out differently, the 19-year-old goal-machine could have been linking up with fellow teenage sensation Wirtz on a more regular basis.
“(Wirtz) has huge talent,” Bayer Leverkusen youth coach Patrick Helmes told Sport1.
“He could have gone to Liverpool, to Bavaria or to Dortmund. Everyone wanted the boy.”
Liverpool may regret missing out on Florian Wirtz
Last year, Wirtz replaced Havertz as the youngest Bundesliga debutant in Leverkusen’s history.
And while two of the most gifted young attackers on the continent are hardly peas in a pod – Wirtz is more direct and dynamic than the subtle, ethereal Havertz – comparisons between a pair of Bay Arena graduates are inevitable.
“Wirtz is going to be the best player in Germany ever, I think,” says Cziommer.
That’s some claim given we’re talking about a nation that gave us Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller and Lothar Matthaus.
“You can write that down. He’ll be much better than Kai Havertz in any case. At a young age he has all the skills to play between the lines, to find the right solution and excel in the small spaces.
“(He’s got) a good shot, good link-up play, he’s strong one on one. He’s a real number ten.”
After Wirtz slipped through Liverpool’s fingers, Klopp will hope history doesn’t repeat itself with Adeyemi.