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Liverpool are targeting a shock move for Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez in the summer transfer window according to recent reports. The Uruguayan, who signed with Boro on a permanent deal less than a year ago, is keen on leaving the Riverside outfit and put in an official transfer request in the last month as he tried to force through a move to last season’s Premier League champions Leicester City.
Manager Aitor Karanka, however, blocked the move. But if Liverpool comes calling with a big offer in the summer, Middlesbrough could very well be tempted to sell. The Reds have lacked the bite and creativity to an extent in the middle of the park this season and manager Jurgen Klopp has identified Ramirez as the solution.
However, is he the man to provide Liverpool with the impetus and the drive going forward? Does he have the quality to strengthen the Liverpool side and turn them into title contenders? We analyze;
Ramirez was the subject of interest from Liverpool, back in 2012, when he was plying his trade in the Serie A for Bologna, but the Uruguayan ended up joining Southampton instead. After a below average returns in his first two years at the St. Mary’s, that saw him score only 8 times and assist 7 goals only, things started to go downhill for the 26-year old.
Following season, Ramirez was sent on loan to newly-promoted Hull City, where he once again struggled badly. In his 24 appearances in the league, Ramirez just managed a single goal and three assists throughout the campaign.
The 2015/16 started on a sour note, with injury problems ruling him out for the early parts of the season. Ramirez, after returning from injury, made just 5 appearances for the Saints across all competitions, scoring none and assisting just a sole strike, that coincidentally came against Klopp’s Liverpool, before moving on to Middlesbrough on loan in the last week of January.
He enjoyed a decent six-month spell with the Riverside outfit in the Championship, netting seven goals and setting up four more, playing a crucial role in Boro’s promotion to the Premier League. Impressed by his displays, Karanka signed him on a permanent deal in the summer of 2016, but things have hardly gone as planned for Middlesbrough and Ramirez in the English top-flight.
Boro are languishing at the 15th spot in the league table, just one point above the relegation zone. And Ramirez has struggled to bring his A-game this season. In his 17 appearances in the league, Ramirez has scored just twice and assisted three strikes. His disciplinary issues have been also a cause for concern as the Uruguayan has already chalked up 7 yellow cards this term.
While Liverpool have struggled since the turn of the year, the attacking midfielders that they currently have at their disposal are of much better quality than Ramirez. Adam Lallana, Phillipe Coutinho and Georginio Wijnaldum are all top-notch performers who displayed their class and level in the early parts of the season. The Liverpool stars are going through a rough patch and with teams having found a way to thwart their attacking outlets, have been struggling in recent weeks. However, there is no doubting their talents and they will be expected to return to top form soon.
Ramirez, on the other hand, in his 108 appearances in England since 2012-13, has just scored a paltry 18 goals and has struggled to get going at all of his clubs. Despite the experience in the league and the know-how, Ramirez isn’t the of the quality that can turn Liverpool into a better unit and the Reds are better off pursuing other targets than persisting with their interest in the Uruguayan.