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With the summer transfer window in sight, all clubs are working out transfer strategies, identifying the areas that need to be strengthened and players that they could target to provide a boost for the upcoming season.
Liverpool had enjoyed a great season until the turn of the year, post which they have hit a patch of poor form. It is going to be a close run-in for Jurgen Klopp’s men as they chase the top-four spot. However, plans for the upcoming season are already underway, with Liverpool identifying the left-back position as something that needs to reinforced over the summer. And they have earmarked Schalke left-back Sead Kolasinac as the right man to come in and strengthen their defence.
The Bosnian defender will be out of contract with the Gelsenkirchen-based outfit in the upcoming summer and has garnered a lot of interest from various clubs across Europe, but is yet to decide on his future and Liverpool will be doing everything within their powers to get him to Anfield. Let us take a look at what he will bring to Anfield if he decides to join the Reds.
The 23-year old went through the rungs of his youth football with the Karlsruhe Football Academy, before moving to TSG Hoffenheim in 2009 where he spent a season with the Under-17 team before moving on to VfB Stuttgart the subsequent season. His time with the Stuttgart Under-19 side spanned only for six months as he joined Schalke in January 2011.
Having spent the rest of the season with the junior side, Kolasinac was bumped up with the reserve side, Schalke II, that participated in the Regionalliga West. He impressed there, scoring twice in five appearances, and as a result earned a call-up to the first team.
Kolasinac made his first team debut in Bundesliga in September 2012, against Greuther Ferth and three months later played his first Champions League fixture against Montpellier. He went on to play 20 times for Schalke in the 2012-13 season, across all competitions and was rewarded with a new four-year contract at the end of the season, following his promising displays.
However, things did not begin well for the Bosnian in his second season with the senior team, as he tore a muscle bundle in his knee, causing him to miss a good chunk of the season. As a result, his form dipped and he finished the season with 24 appearances, with just one assist in return. The subsequent season was going to be more disastrous for the full-back as he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in August 2014, which resulted in him missing close to seven months of action.
The left-back struggled to get back to his best following the serious knee injury in the 2015-16 season as well, but did clock a lot of minutes under his belt, notching up 30 appearances with a goal and an assist to show for. However, he has shown great signs this term for Schalke. His pace is back, the confidence has returned and it has been evident in his displays. In his 24 games this term, Kolasinac has netted two goals and has set up a further six strikes for his teammates, earning rave reviews for his performances.
Tall and burly, the 23-year old is an aggressive defender who loves to romp forward with every chance he gets and is an equally adept defender. A strong tackler and a hard-worker for his team, Kolasinac also boasts bucket loads of energy and a very high stamina. This allows him to run up and down the flank all day long. His strength and physicality will be a huge added bonus in England and will hold him in good stead. Kolasinac is fast, possesses the natural instincts to attack and can be a great attacking outlet down the left-hand side.
However, over the years, his crossing has been a weakness and it has held him back a little. But the Bosnian international has shown good signs of improvement this term and with more work, will only get better and stronger. His tackling too has come out as reckless and dangerous on few occasions and that is another area that he will need to tighten up.
James Milner has been used as a left-back by Klopp this term and the Englishman has surprised everyone with the ease with which he has slotted in at the back. However, with his advancing age and Alberto Moreno’s unreliability, Kolasinac will be expected to walk into the starting XI at Anfield straight away.
Jurgen Klopp is well aware of the abilities and the potential of the 23-year old from his coaching days with Borussia Dortmund and Kolasinac fits well with the high tempo style his Liverpool side play. Strong and fast, with loads of attacking intent and good defensive nous, he could resolve the Reds’ issues at left-back for years to come.