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Liverpool eye £68m titan 'like Rice'

There will be those who think new Liverpool manager Arne Slot will be stepping into an impossible task this summer, the unknown Dutchman tasked with trying to fill the shoes of the departing legend, Jurgen Klopp.

It's fair to say that following in the footsteps of a managerial titan rarely ends well with new arrivals, with the likes of David Moyes and Unai Emery being clear examples of that – the pair taking ten and 18 months respectively, after taking over. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

That said, Klopp has at least given his predecessor a fighting chance after passing on a young and exciting squad to work with, with the German making a point of revamping the full-backs last summer.

Fabinho, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were sent packing, and Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch came in – a quarterback that Slott will likely be licking his lips to work with next season.

That doesn't mean the Feyenoord boss won't want to put his stamp on the process by bringing in a marquee midfielder in the coming months, however, as the Reds believe they are looking for a top-quality long-term solution in front of the back four.

Liverpool's search for a midfielder

While Endo, to his credit, impressed following his £16.2m move from Stuttgart last year – labeled a “machine” by Klopp – at 31, the Japanese international was seen as a rogue, short-term option. instead of Fabinho, that's why there is a need to strengthen that middle room again this time.

According to Spanish outlet AS, the Merseysiders could land a dream in the form of Newcastle United talisman Bruno Guimaraes, with the Anfield side joining Arsenal and Manchester City in the battle for Brazil.


As the report points out, the 26-year-old has a €115m (£100m) release clause in his current deal at St James' Park – which expires on June 24 – although it is said that any suitors could try to negotiate a lower fee of around for €80m (£68m) instead.

While still a hefty sum, that final sum would represent a sensible deal, with the club looking to make a big splash after missing out on top target Moises Caicedo last year – as reported by AS.

How does Guimares compare to Endo

Newcastle certainly won't let Guimaraes go voluntarily, yet why on earth would they, having had such a player's impact since arriving from Lyon in a £40m deal back in January 2022.

Since that switch from France, the all-action asset has recorded 33 goal involvements in 107 games in all competitions, an impressive return considering he has operated as a deep-lying midfield three.

Although the Magpies endured a difficult 2023/24 campaign that saw them miss out on European qualification altogether, Guimaraes again impressed with his overall performance, scoring seven goals and collecting eight assists in 37 league appearances.

To put that into context, Endo, for example, scored just one goal and failed to register a single assist in his first Premier League season, looking like he was a tough guy rather than a gung-ho, midfield monster.

However, what is surprising is that the Newcastle man is able to combine that excellent attack and defence, averaging 3.3 balls per game this season, while conceding 6.4 balls per game – Endo, by contrast, only averages 2.4 and 3.7 of those. the same. two metrics, respectively.


That great defensive mix and crashing nature has surprisingly led to comparisons with Arsenal hero Declan Rice, with journalist Dean Jones suggesting he “looks exactly like Rice in the way he plays now and would like to play in the next few years”.

Like Guimaraes, Rice has been happy for the Gunners this season after scoring seven goals and eight assists, and his return of nine 'big chances' created and an average of 1.2 important passes per game, according to Sofascore, was behind the 20- cap Brazilian international (who made ' 12 big chances and averaged 1.7 key passes per game).

Rice vs Guimaraes – 2023/24 PL season










It helps



Pass accuracy



Great opportunities have been created



Key passes per game



Fighting and breaking in each game



Duels won



Statistics with Sofascore

As Rice was part of the Arsenal side that ran champions Manchester City close to the title race, the hope would be that getting an improved Endo like Guimaraes could lead to a similar story at Anfield.

Why Guimaraes' signing could benefit Mac Allister

On occasions when Klopp opted not to go with Endo as his number six – with the experienced figure having started 20 league games – the onus fell on another newcomer, Mac Allister, to provide defensive cover in front of the back four. .

In fact, that role doesn't seem to benefit the Argentine, who has scored five goals and contributed just five assists in the top flight this season – down from his ten goals and two assists in the previous campaign at Brighton and Hove Albion. .


Somewhat ill-suited to operating in a deeper role, the World Cup winner has also been beaten twice per game in 2023/24 – having only been struck once per game in the previous campaign at the Amex.

Jones suggested that if Arsenal were to sign Guimaraes it would “open up Rice”, however the same could be said of Liverpool's Mac Allister, the latter being regarded as a player similar to the former West Ham United captain, according to FBref. – and a comparison with Guimaraes himself.

Top 10 Players Like Alexis Mac Allister

1 – Declan Rice

2 – Conor Gallagher

3 – Bruno Guimaraes

4 – Exequiel Palacios

5 – Angelo Stiller

6 – Hakan Calhanoglu

7 – Pierre Lees-Melou

8 – Youssouf Fofana

9 – Federico Valverde

10 – Douglas Luiz

with FBref

In a way, Slot could have the two Rices he has as Mac Allister as number eight and Guimaraes as number six – the two roles the Arsenal man has occupied under Mikel Arteta so far.

Having that combination of Guimaraes and Mac Allister next to each other can be a threat, as the ex-Brighton man can do what he does best and influence the game at the other end of the pitch – a role he has thrived in as shown by his impressive strikes against the likes of Sheffield United and Fulham this term.

Winning the battle of the stars for the Magpies is another matter entirely, and what better way to start a new era at Anfield than to make such a statement.


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