Liverpool may have their work cut out if they swoop for the ‘next Luka Modric’ in January, with Barcelona among those showing an interest. Earlier this summer, Express Sport touted Rennes maestro Lovro Majer as the answer to Jurgen Klopp’s prayers in the middle of the park, but two significant hurdles now stand in his way.
This season, the Reds have struggled to dictate and control games in the way fans have become accustomed to in recent years. Despite his steady start to life at Anfield, Thiago Alcantara has grown into a hugely influential player under Klopp and his absence has been harshly felt.
The Spaniard hasn’t made a Premier League appearance since hobbling out of Liverpool’s season opener against Fulham last month with a hamstring injury. Fabinho, Harvey Elliott and James Milner have been called upon more often than not, producing mixed results.
Although Arthur Melo was signed on a season-long loan from Juventus on deadline day, match fitness concerns have seen him play just a handful of minutes as he looks to regain sharpness during the international break.
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Despite splashing out over the summer, the Catalan side are already believed to have one eye on the January transfer window with Xavi keen to bring in a high-level passer in midfield. Majer certainly fulfils that brief and, ominously for Liverpool, not many players turn down an opportunity to play at the Nou Camp when it comes their way.
Splashing out that much money on the Croatian international may also be a tough sell for Klopp, given that Liverpool’s owners haven’t been as free-spending as their main rivals in recent months. Darwin Nunez was the marquee recruit this summer with Arthur signed on loan and two teenagers – Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay – bought on the cheap.
Majer’s performances in France appear to have gone down well in neighbouring Spain with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid also believed to be keeping tabs on his situation. Rennes only paid around £10m for his services last summer so they would bank a tidy profit if someone met their asking price.
The midfielder rose through the ranks in Croatia, where he stayed until he was 23. He notched 14 goal contributions in 29 league matches during his debut campaign and has featured in six of Rennes’ eight games this term.