Jürgen Klopp is looking to add a third Brazilian amigo to his attacking arsenal in the summer. Luan Guilherme de Jesus Vieira, more commonly known as Luan, is once again a transfer target for Liverpool. The Brazilian forward was linked with a move to Anfield last summer with reports at the time suggesting the Merseyside club had agreed a €31million deal with Grêmio.
However, a move never came to fruition and the Olympic gold medal winner stayed in Brazil.
Fast forward 18 months and reports linking the Reds with a move for the versatile forward have resurfaced. Yahoo Sport claim the player has a £16million release clause in his contract and that Liverpool are more than happy to pay it. Luan’s current deal with the Imortal expires in 2022.
Do Liverpool need Luan?
He’s a creative forward with intelligent movement, he’s able to play a variety of positions in the attack and has a love for long distance efforts. Who doesn’t need a player like that?
Born in São Paolo, Luan was compared to local hero Kaká during his younger years. In recent weeks he’s been compared to Brazilian legend Ronaldinho. But as he’s developed he’s turned into a Roberto Firmino/Philippe Coutinho hybrid of sorts.
His movement and the positions he finds himself in is similar to that of the former but the way he pulls the strings while playing on the left of the attack is reminiscent to that of Coutinho in red.
He’s part of the new wave of Brazilian playmakers who have managed to combine being a creative force with being a goalscoring threat, all while putting on a show.
The Reds have had issues this season when trying to break teams down. They, at times, look a little bereft of ideas and lifeless in attack. While Luan isn’t blessed with the Sadio Mané’s pace, he is full of selfless movement and that is one way to unlock many defensive set-ups.
In the two pictures above you see an example of this. Luan is circled in red in the first picture and he’s in space on the edge of the area. The Grêmio player ahead of him to his left is making a run into the space behind the opposition’s full-back. This leaves Luan one-on-one with the right sided centre-back. Most players here would look to receive the ball and curl an attempt at goal.
The centre-back will want the Grêmio No.7 to hold his position and stay in front of him. He’s effective from distance but most teams would prefer to see a player shooting from 25 yards out. However, Luan bursts past him and attacks the space in behind. He then lifts the ball over the on-rushing ‘keeper and the ball is tapped home.
Coritiba go from having players behind the ball to looking really open in a matter of seconds due to Luan’s movement.
The four pictures are taken in the lead up to a Luan goal. The opposition look to play out from the back and as the ball is worked to their right Luan shuffles over to put pressure on the man in possession.
It’s played inside and Luan wins the ball back, as shown in the second picture. His first thought is to carry the ball forward and drive into the vacant space ahead of him. He plays the pass, highlighted by the white arrow, and continues his incisive run forward, shown by the red line.
The opposition don’t track his run into the penalty area and he’s able to fire home with a good finish from just inside the box.
His first thought after winning the ball is to get into a dangerous central area at speed. It’s exactly what the Liverpool attackers have done this season and it’s why all three; Coutinho, Firmino and Mane are all in double figures for the campaign.
Stepping into Coutinho’s shoes
Liverpool need to replace their former No.10 on the left. Luan could do that job and then some. Most would prefer a quicker player in attacker, similar to Mané, but it’s clear that Klopp has a similar type of individual in mind and Luan ticks that box.
The Reds have one of the best attacking units in the Premier League right now but there’s no depth. If one of Mané, Mohamed Salah or Firmino are ruled out the drop in quality is evident. Luan bridges the gap and gives Klopp options moving forward.
A work permit shouldn’t be an issue either despite the fact he’s only played twice for the Brazilian national side.
New guidelines were announced in 2015 and FA Chairman Greg Dyke had this to say at the time: “The new system will make it far easier for us to identify and attract top quality players that truly are at the elite level, and it will make it far tougher for those who don’t meet the quality standard to get to play in Britain.”
Luan’s price-tag means he would be viewed as a ‘top quality player’.
He’s not a like for like replacement for Philippe Coutinho but he does fill the attacking void left by his compatriot. For £16million it’s not a deal that breaks the bank and the Reds need to add depth to their squad.