Liverpool have once again been linked with a transfer of Valencia midfielder Yunus Mensah as the struggling La Liga side remain at risk of relegation
Liverpool continue to be linked with a host of midfielders ahead of their planned summer engine room refurbishment, with their decision earlier this month to pull out of a potential move for long-term target Jude Bellingham only adding to the speculation and uncertainty.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount, who is keen to sign at least two midfielders, has become the Reds’ new priority. They have since also been linked on several occasions to Conor Gallagher, Matheus Nunes, Ryan Gravenberch, Joao Palhinha, Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo, Nicola Barella, James Maddison, Teun Koopmeiners and Youri Tielemans.
With the uncertainty over where the Reds will actually finish this season, Champions League qualification looking rather unlikely and their decision not to move to Bellingham only adding to the mystery, it’s no surprise to learn Liverpool’s long list of potential targets with so many different names. As a result, who will actually land at Anfield this summer remains up in the air.
Another name reappeared in the transfer gossip columns last week when 90min reported that the Reds were one of several teams to have watched Yunus Munsah this season. The 20-year-old impressed for the United States at last winter’s World Cup in Qatar, but his club spell with Valencia leaves his future uncertain.
If you mention the La Liga side to Liverpool fans, most will remember how the Spaniards, then managed by Rafa Benitez, beat the Reds in both the Champions League group stage in 2002 and in a torn-with-ease friendly at Anfield in 2003.
La Liga champions in 2001/02 and 2003/04 under Benitez and UEFA Cup winners in the latter, such success would see the Spaniard move to Liverpool in the summer of 2004. Entering the Champions League final champions under former manager Hector Cuper in 2000 and 2001, Valencia had built a reputation behind Real Madrid and Barcelona as one of the best teams in Spanish football. © 2023 a subsidiary of Reach plc
However, it is a very different reality at the moment in Mestalla, where Valencia are in serious danger of relegation to the Segunda Division, having last played in the Spanish second division in 1986-87. Although they recorded a 2-0 victory over bottom-placed Elche on Sunday, it was only their third La Liga win since the World Cup.
Ruben Baraja, who was a key member of Benitez’s impressive squad 20 years ago, took over as manager in February but has failed to turn the tide. They have lost 11 of 16 league games since the mid-season break, as a result remain in the relegation zone in 18th place and are yet to clash with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Champions League hopefuls Villarreal and Real Betis to be in the bottom eight to come. matches of the season.
Given this situation, it would come as no surprise that Musah is leaving the club this summer. Valencia opened talks with the midfielder late last year over a new, better deal but have yet to reach an agreement.
Struggling financially with supporters protesting against owner Peter Lim, a sellout at Valencia is likely should they suffer relegation. But whether or not they avoid the drop, 90min reports that they still couldn’t turn down a big offer for Musah.
The American remains under contract until 2026, with his current deal including a €100m release clause, but given Valencia’s struggles on and off the pitch, he is likely to demand a much larger fee. more modest if he joins.
That alone could make Musah an attractive option for Liverpool this summer if they were suitably impressed when scouting. Finally, while discussing the Reds’ revised stance on Bellingham, Jurgen Klopp said: “We can’t have six players this summer because each player costs £100m.”
Liverpool have a history of opportunists in the transfer market, using Newcastle United, Hull City and Stoke City’s own relegations from the Premier League to bring in Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri on reduced fees. As a result, they may review those tactics if Valencia are relegated.
However, Musah is more than just affordable. He also ticks many of the boxes that Klopp and the Reds’ recruitment team are looking for in potential signings.
First of all, he is only 20 years old but has a lot of experience for such a young player. As well as impressing at the World Cup, he has played over 100 games for Valencia over the past three seasons. His best years are still ahead of him. He would turn 21 in November, would still be considered an Under-21 player and therefore would not need to be included in the Premier League squad next season. Also, when he reached adulthood, he would actually be considered a native.
The midfielder spent seven years at Arsenal’s youth academy before joining Valencia in the summer of 2019 aged 16. Although he is already comfortable in England and fluent in English, he already has the required 36 months of registration with an affiliated club before his 21st birthday in the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales to obtain native status.
Admittedly, such a status is more difficult to achieve in continental competition. Even if he qualifies as an Under-21 player for Premier League action next year, he would still need to be signed up for a 25-man squad for Europe as he wouldn’t be with a new club long enough to ‘List to be registered ‘.B’ despite being under 21 years old.
However, should he join an English club this summer, he will qualify as home-grown in Europe as an association-trained player. Having been on Arsenal’s books as a 15-year-old and 16-year-old, the 2023/24 season could see him earn the required third year on a club’s books in the same association between the ages of 15 and 21 to earn such status.
Meanwhile, he is extremely versatile. While predominantly a central-midfielder, he has senior experience of playing on either flank, behind a striker, as a holding midfielder, and even at full-back.
As a player, his physical attributes have been lauded throughout his career, with his strengths getting on the ball, retaining possession and carrying it forward. Such traits certainly fit into what Klopp demands from his midfielders.
“I was the under-16 coach and Yunus was playing up a year group,” former Arsenal academy coach Trevor Bumstead recalled to First Time Finish back in 2021. “He was a really likeable lad. He had a fantastic smile, was very softly spoken but sociable.
“As a player, he was ‘wow’. He’s got fantastic physical attributes and the drive and determination to go with that. His versatility is a coaches’ dream really. He would play anywhere to get in the team but his favourite was as a central attacking midfield player.
“His physical stats at under-16 would compare to our first-team players. The sports scientists dragged him off the pitch. He was consistent in his behaviours which led him to be consistent in his performances. He recognised his strengths and weaknesses.
“It’s always difficult predicting who will go on to play first-team football. Having worked with Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, I would consider Musah to be on the same level as those.”
Truly praise for a player who certainly also has the ‘right’ attitude to improve. When you consider that he was born in the United States, raised in Italy and spent his teenage years in England before moving to Spain, it also paints a picture of a player who is comfortable adapting to a new environment.
Whether Musah will become a Liverpool midfielder this summer remains to be seen. But there are a number of reasons why he could be an attractive signing, as ties to the American remain.
After Tottenham’s 21-minute humiliation Liverpool is 9 points off top 4
Never trust Tottenham, ever. If anyone ever needed a reminder, it came in the 6-1 defeat at the hands of Newcastle.
In an ideal world, Spurs would have won at St James’ Park and Liverpool would have been just six points off the top four.
Instead they were shredded by Eddie Howe’s side, who went on a 5-0 run in the first 21 minutes of the clash.
Jacob Murphy scored twice, as did Alexander Isak, and Joelinton added the other for a humiliating match opener for a confused Spurs side who are way above Liverpool at the table. 5 – Newcastle took a 5-0 lead in 21 minutes, the second-fastest team in Premier League history after Man City against Watford in September 2019 (18th minute). Stop. pic.twitter.com/AgRctZdQYZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 23, 2023
There was never a realistic expectation of Tottenham leaving Tyneside with the three points, but fans still live in hope – but that was quickly erased.
Jurgen Klopp’s side currently sit in seventh place, nine points off the Champions League places after beating Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Newcastle (59 points) moved up to third on goal difference ahead of Man United but played one game more than Erik ten Hag’s side, while Spurs are fifth on 53 points.
Liverpool have a game in hand against the Londoners and are yet to meet at Anfield on April 30 – win both and Klopp’s men will skip Spurs in the table.
The Reds’ Wednesday opponents, meanwhile, boosted their confidence with a 4-0 win over Bournemouth to leave West Ham six points above the relegation zone.
Predictably, there were many mixed reactions to Spurs’ humiliating collapse:
It’s unbelievable where Liverpool are in the league the insistence of Chairman Bill and all his works that Chelsea are an absolute mess with more players than points we have a situation where Tottenham Hotspur are by far the most sad about the division.
— Neil Atkinson (@Knox_Harrington) April 23, 2023
It’s never a good place to take a favor from Spurs.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) April 23, 2023
I had no idea the government emergency alert at 3pm would be about the Spurs result. — Richard Osman (@richardosman) April 23, 2023
As terrible as this season has been for us, Spurs are here to remind everyone that a painful and/or hilarious failure is *every* season for them.
— Liverpool Offside (@LFCOffside) April 23, 2023
In fairness, Liverpool’s next two opponents are in contrasting form. pic.twitter.com/uHOGs9bccQ
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) April 23, 2023
Tottenham’s defense against Newcastle pic.twitter.com/xldWrJ5kXc
— Not Game of the Day (@NOT_MOTD) April 23, 2023
The crazy thing about this season is that Spurs will be 3 points out of the top 4 if they beat Man Utd on Thursday. A team trailing 5-0 after 20 minutes against a team that lost 7-0 last month…
— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) April 23, 2023
Newcastle are brilliant, have they been all season??
Tottenham is a disgrace!
How did they become a four-man defender for the first time this season, with Porro at the back who can’t defend and Perisic who is a winger? Find a good manager immediately, not Conte’s partner
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 23, 2023
We know Liverpool must first fulfill their side of the deal, but a helping hand from others is never wrong. But it is clear that Tottenham are not the type to help.
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