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Fresh reports suggest Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is set to snub Juventus in favour of joining Manchester City next summer.
The 23-year-old is entering the final few months of his Liverpool contract and will be able to leave the club as a free agent next season. Can is reluctant to commit his future to the Reds unless the club includes a release clause in any new deal — a request that has not so far been met.
And reportedly, the German wants to join City next summer as Pep Guardiola steps up his pursuit of the midfielder. It is also believed Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund might hijack the move in order to persuade Can return to Germany. As it stands, Can will be able to leave Anfield for nothing at the end of the season.
Can arrived at Anfield three years ago on a £10m deal from Bayer Leverkusen, and has since become a popular player for Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Why Guardiola would want Can is a question that would need to be considered as his midfield options are plentiful. However, getting the German international on a free transfer could be a solid business for any club and there’s never too much harm in having too many good players.
City have some excellent players in midfield at the moment. Apart from the exciting trio of Fernandinho, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne, they have Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Toure. While Gundogan is a quality midfielder but injury-prone, Toure was rumoured to be on the verge of joining the club’s sister team in the MLS, New York City FC last month.
This makes Can a welcome signing for City and could actually be the replacement for the ageing Ivorian; all this for free next summer. His versatility makes him a player in huge demand, as the German’s ability to play in a number of positions from defence to midfield seems to have impressed Guardiola.
With Fernandinho tasked to do the donkey work in this City team, the addition of Can, a proper box-to-box midfielder would give the City attackers more freedom to attack. Can himself is a threat in front of goal with his runs into the box, which will always come handy.
Guardiola has brought a pattern of play to City this season, which has seen them blow teams away in England as well as in Europe on a constant basis. The team likes to maintain possession and play out from the back.
Can is also capable of playing out of the back and is comfortable in possession. His passing is crisp, and for someone who is big and bulky, the German is relatively quite mobile. His presence will be a huge boost to the midfield and will add support to the back-line. The midfielder boasts of a never-ending engine; he can run for the whole game without getting tired.
Guardiola, who is a master at altering his tactics depending on situations, has always picked a ball-playing midfielder to dictate the game and that is why his interest in Can comes as no surprise. In the German international, Guardiola would get an experienced midfielder with positional sense, the ability to read the game and make the right decisions.
Can has been found guilty of taking more than two touches before releasing the ball when a single touch would have been ideal. With experience, he has improved massively but under the Spanish manager, things are expected to be perfect. Also, Can’s close friendship with fellow Germans Leroy Sane and Gundogan could be decisive in him choosing Man City.
Liverpool seem almost certain about losing Can, who has made 15 appearances for them this season but the German should simply decide to wait until the summer before making a decision on his future.