Patson Daka: Why Liverpool should sign the Red Bull Salzburg sensation this summer

05 April 2021 05:45

It looks set to be a summer of transition for Liverpool.

While Jurgen Klopp and Michael Edwards aren't about to rip out the core of the team that has won the Premier League and the Champions League in the last two years, there is no denying that the squad needs some fresh blood.

With Georginio Wijnaldum likely to leave and a number of recognised starters entering their 30s, new blood will soon be required right across the pitch, and that includes the forward line, where reliable cover for Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is still sparse despite the re-emergence of Diogo Jota.

So where better to start than the player who just scored the fastest hat-trick in Austrian Bundesliga history, and just happens to be a Liverpool fan?

At 22, Patson Daka is beginning to look like the second coming of Erling Haaland (even if he is the elder of the two). Salzburg's latest sensation is banging in the goals at a similar rate to the Norwegian this season - he has 30 in just 32 appearances in 2020/21 - and is garnering reported interest from more than 20 clubs all over the continent.

But while the likes of Man City and Barcelona fall over themselves to land Haaland, who has torn it up in Germany since joining Borussia Dortmund, Daka represents a chance for Liverpool's recruitment team to get in early and stay ahead of the curve.

If the Zambian keeps going at anything like his current rate, it won't be long before someone else is commanding nine figures for his services. Reports in Austria, though, suggest Salzburg will seek a modest fee just north of the £17m they received for Haaland in 2019.

That's roughly half of what Liverpool paid for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino - yet Daka is performing better than any of those three were at the time of their respective Anfield arrivals.

News of Liverpool's interest isn't exactly a surprise, certainly not at a time when they need to start thinking about a future beyond their established front three. Jota looks for all the world as if he's going to lead the next phase, and will be hitting his prime just as the Klopp era at Anfield winds down - hopefully not until 2024.

Harvey Elliott, at 18, is the long-term hope, but there are too many variables to rely on him coming good at the top level just yet.

Daka falls somewhere in between the two - immediately, he would be a step up on Divock Origi, but years down the line, the sky is the limit.

Known for his pace and attacking instincts, Daka looks like the perfect attacking option for Liverpool's minor rebuild this summer. Described by Zambia manager Milutin Sredejovic as African football's heir apparent to the likes of Mane or Samuel Eto'o, he's already on a path to greatness.

“I would say he’s on the road to replace what Samuel Eto’o once was in representing Africa and African football,’ Sredejovic said.

“He could be compared to Sadio Mane or Samuel Eto’o, with the level of skill and speed that he has, with the sense for space, sense of positioning, in the right place at the right time.”

He admitted it was 'lifelong dream' fulfilled when he played against Liverpool at Anfield last season.

The Reds, then, should be using that to their advantage, and pulling on every heart-string they can to win the race for Austrian football's latest crown jewel. It's too good a fit not to try.

Source: 90min