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Klopp, Liverpool & his No10 search: Why not roll dice on Wilshere?

COMMENT: Jack Wilshere and Liverpool. Why not? Okay, okay, it's a simple idea. Easy. But more often than not, the most successful are just that...

After the Nabil Fekir fiasco, Liverpool need a No10. Well, they can carry on without, but Jurgen Klopp wants to find that one player who can successfully replace Philippe Coutinho.

He thought he had him in the form of Fekir. They'd spoken in January. They both gave their commitment. The Lyon ace was the one Klopp wanted. Fekir was it. The Liverpool manager doesn't do Plan Bs. It was Fekir or bust. But the club's medical team ruled it had to be the latter.

So for Klopp, it's back to the drawing board. There's at least £70m burning in his pocket for a player of Fekir's type. But don't bank on anything happening soon. He's not going to invest in an alternative on a desperate whim. That's not the German's style. But while he's working through Michael Edwards' database, there is an opportunity out there just waiting for a call.

Off contract inside a fortnight, Wilshere won't cost Liverpool a penny. And on a performance-related deal, starting at just over £100,000-a-week, he'll fall well inside the club's budget. Here's a No10 for nothing. Not just a quality No10, but one capable of reaching a world class level - given the right guidance. What does Klopp and Liverpool have to lose?

Liverpool reached the Champions League final - and secured a top four finish - without Coutinho. Klopp will take his time finding his Fekir alternative knowing his team can cope. But in the meantime, why not roll the dice on Wilshere?

You'd like to think any English football fan would love to see Klopp get his hands on the Gunners midfielder. Just as he did with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, if Wilshere is receptive - and can stay fit - we could finally see the potential of 5-6 years ago being fulfilled.

Could he slot into Klopp's system? You bet. Indeed, this column will argue Wilshere would offer more to Liverpool than Fekir off the ball. The England inter..., ahem, the former England international, is far happier getting his foot in and making tackles than the Lyon captain. It isn't always pretty, but Klopp would know Wilshere will do his part when Liverpool are not in possession.

Let's not mince words, in England the player's reputation is hanging by a thread. No matter how genuine Eddie Howe is about Wilshere's impact at Bournemouth a year ago, it does ring a little patronising. On paper. On reputation. Wilshere should've bossed that midfield. Indeed, he should've bossed that club. But he did neither and wasn't close to securing first-choice status during his time at Dean Court.

When word was circulated that Wilshere was unhappy with the terms offered by Arsenal, it hardly sparked a stampede. Indeed, this column understands that NO concrete offer has been made to Wilshere's camp. There's been enquiries. Sure. But that's all. The strongest interest has arrived from abroad, particularly Italy - where Juventus and AC Milan, turned down by Wilshere in preference to Bournemouth two summers ago, are in contact.

For this column, the Serie A interest is no surprise. Indeed, Juve have been trying to tempt Wilshere to Turin since before he turned pro. Back in the day, this column was contacted by two Italian agents working on behalf of Juve seeking an introduction to Wilshere's representatives. Not yet 16, Juve fancied it their best chance of nabbing a future phenomenon for nothing - similar to what Massimo Moratti attempted when trying to nick a 16 year-old Leo Messi away from Barcelona while Inter Milan president.

That was how much those on the continent thought of Wilshere's potential a decade ago. Ten years is a long time, but while he is now being wrote off by some inside the English game... just consider Glenn Hoddle for one, 'his days of beating people in and around the box are over'... Wilshere can still take something from Juve's interest. The Bianconeri are no mugs. They sign proper footballers. And if they're genuine about Wilshere, then that should be good enough for any club in England to give him a second look.

And on recent evidence, there's no club, nor manager, better qualified to help Wilshere rediscover that teenage promise than Liverpool and Klopp.

A Bosman stop-gap could turn into something much, much more. For Klopp, the upside is so huge it must be given some thought. What has he to lose?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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