Liverpool could take advantage of €3.25bn crisis with transfer move for the next Sadio Mane – Liverpool Echo

When Liverpool signed Diogo Jota last summer, there were two other names who joined him on their shortlist of attacking targets.

Ismaila Sarr at Watford was one of those, while Jonathan David, who ended up moving to Lille, was another.

Liverpool, certainly, made the right call in the end, with Jota able to slot in and make an immediate impact on the team until he got injured – it is likely the others, slightly young than the Portuguese, would have taken longer to adapt.

But Liverpool, no doubt, will have been keeping tabs on Sarr and David even after deciding they were not ready for a move just yet.

Now 21, Canadian international David is particularly interesting.

He started this season slowly, scoring just twice in the first 19 Ligue 1 matches of the season, but is now on nine goals and four assists in 41 matches this season (from an xG of 7.41).

Those numbers would have to increase again for him to convince Liverpool entirely – Jota netted 16 and assisted six in 48 games in his final season with Wolves – but more interesting than that is his development position-wise over the last 12 months.

“David is now at Lille,” said Ollie Connolly on the Liverpool.com podcast.

“He used to be at Gent and Liverpool were sniffing around him last summer.

“He is a big one for the analytics crowd and he can play any of the positions in the front three, but while he is more of an off-the-shoulder number nine, he has become much more of a creator and a facilitator this season.

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“The French market is where all of Europe’s clubs, particularly the Premier League clubs, will look this summer because of the TV deal collapse, to try and test their restraint.

“They might, for example, want £45m for a player who is going to be Europe’s next star, but would they take £30m right now with no installments?

“That market has collapsed meaning they will have no money coming in for 36 months. If you don’t make the Champions League, it will be really hard to keep your best players.

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Jonathan David can be a bit of a false nine and when he was in Belgium, he looked identical to Sadio Mane in that he was flying in off the left as an inside forward.

“But he has now become much craftier and more central, which as a scouting department, you would be excited by, but also knowing that this kind of player was in there.”

Certainly, if David is the right player and a cut-price deal can be struck, then Liverpool would be interested.

Lille were already in €125m of debt even before the collapse of the French football TV deal worth around €3.25bn, according to City AM – and they are not going to be the only Ligue 1 side in financial trouble.

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The question would be whether or not the North American has progressed enough this season to make Liverpool change their minds on whether he is ready 12 months on from their initial interest.

David would, at least have an advantage over any player who has emerged onto scouting radar’s this season, given the nature of pandemic football.

“Targeting players that they have looked at before, who have been on the long-list for the last two seasons, with the constraints on the budget because of coronavirus, seems important,” Connolly added.

“There are players who have not played in front of fans yet, essentially on a training ground, this season, so they need to target those players who they have been tracking for maybe two years, but couldn’t get back then – they can maybe enact that plan now.”

Whoever Liverpool may end up moving for, it seems several players at French sides could be targeted by those in England as the economic landscape post-TV deal collapse becomes clear.