After completing all the necessary pre-contract arrangements for the highly rated Joel Matip (here is my own article on the Cameroonian just days before the deal was announced), Klopp sets his sights once more on the German Bosman list to reinforce his squad for the coming season.
Ex-Arsenal trainee Havard Nordvteit seems the to be the next player who has made a name for himself in the Bundesliga to make the journey to the Premier League, and whilst he never made a first team appearance for Arsenal, the now 25 year old Norwegian has become a stalwart for Monchengladbach since his arrival in 2011.
One reason for his first team success in Germany is Nordvteit’s flexibility. The Norwegian can play in a host of defensive positions, whether that be as a defensive midfielder, as a centre back or as a right back, and so far this season Nordvteit has occupied all three at some point in every competition the German side have featured. His most prolific position however is at the base of the Gladbach midfield, where he has recently captained the side 3 times. It isn’t only his leadership qualities that have been recognised in this deep midfield position but also his creative as 3 of his 4 goals this season (including this absolute corker against Werder Bremen) as well as his only assist have occurred as a defensive midfielder.
In a world where money is so rife in football particularly in the Premier League, the Bosman ruling could become a bigger issue for Europe’s other leagues outside of England. The Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl himself admitted that whilst the offer on the table for Nordvteit is very good, compared to what the riches of the Premier League can offer it hails in comparison. The financial pull of the Premier League far outweighs what any other league in Europe has at its disposal and with player power ever increasing, nothing can stop a player winding down his contract and dip his toes in the uncertain world of becoming a free agent.
Another question to be asked is one about Liverpool’s potential transfer policy. For as good as Matip and Nordvteit are, is the potential to bring in a whole host of out of contract players the way to move a club forward? With out of contract players comes a much higher wage as you bid for his services, and consequently an unbalanced pay structure begins to emerge at the club. Supplementing your squad with an out of contract player like Matip makes good sense but footballers are sensitive souls with big egos when it comes to money, any player will look around the dressing room to try to understand some kind of hierarchy that may be emerging in terms of pay and potential playing time. You don’t pay rubbish players a lot of money to do nothing.
If Nordvteit was to be brought in to offer competition to Lucas and Emre Can as a defensive midfielder then it is transfer to solve an issue. If the Norwegian were to be utilised as a centre back along with Matip however, perhaps Klopp would be best looking to Premier League experience rather than investing too heavily in Liverpool’s ‘moneyball’ policy. You could do worse than looking at Scott Dann or Ryan Shawcross to add further depth to such a shaky Liverpool backline.
Rich, The Sweeper Blog