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Given the nature of hype around major international tournaments and their stand-out performers, Liverpool can expect themselves to be linked with a host of players that impress at Euro 2020 in their positions of need – namely central midfield and in the final third.
But there is one player, an attacker, who may genuinely be the perfect addition for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool this summer.
That man is PSV’s Donyell Malen, who is playing for a Netherlands side who clinched three wins from three in the European Championship group stages, scoring eight goals in the process.
Malen may not have found the net yet, but two assists in 92 minutes at the Euros adds to 37 goal contributions in 45 games this season for PSV at an average of a direct contribution every 96 minutes.
That is a strong show of consistency from a player who is just 22 years old. Since leaving Arsenal for PSV in 2018 for less than £1million, Malen has produced 55 goals and 24 assists in 116 club appearances.
At international level, his record reads two goals and three assists in 12 matches. He’ll hope to add to that as Holland look to go deeper into the Euros.
Certainly, he has a significant part to play if Frank de Boer’s charges are to emerge triumphant at Wembley on July 11, even if he has only started one of their three games thus far.
Even in his relatively sparing minutes, former Ajax trainee Malen has showcased his wide skillset which includes an excellent dribbling ability, consistently clever movement and link-up as well as his more physical traits such as his energy and rapid pace among other things.
Malen’s Netherlands minutes have come alongside Memphis Depay in a 3-4-1-2 formation at the Euros and he spent the 2020-21 season operating as a centre-forward for PSV too.
But the direct forward, who loves to get on the ball and drive at defenders, can comfortably – and more importantly, efficiently – play off the left or right too.
That is a major selling point for Liverpool, given they need a versatile player who can operate out wide in place of Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane equally as much as they will be able to play centrally instead of Roberto Firmino.
Firmino is the most likely to suffer from the signing of Malen but the Dutchman’s ability to step in for Salah or Mane would be invaluable, particularly when the two African wide-men report for Africa Cup of Nations duty in January.
The Athletic say PSV expect to sell Malen this summer and that a fee of £25.6m (€30m) might be enough to prise him from Philips Stadion. Transfermarkt estimate his transfer value just above that, at £27m.
Either way, for a player of his ability and versatility, it is a bargain. He has the potential to be worth treble in the very near future.
Borussia Dortmund have been mentioned as a potential suitor but more recently, it’s claimed Malen’s team-mate Noni Madueke interests the German club more because he’s an out-and-out winger and therefore a better Jadon Sancho replacement.
That makes Malen to Liverpool even more feasible than it was already – especially given Voetbal International reported back in April that they were ‘front of the queue’ for the former Arsenal youngster.
Malen’s stylistic profile looks ideal for Liverpool and he’s obtainable at a fair price. It is the same school of signing as Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who joined and saw their transfer values skyrocket.
Liverpool’s only doubt will be that they do not often sign from the Dutch league, which is less competitive than Europe’s five major divisions. Their last two Eredivisie additions, Luis Suarez and Oumar Assaidi, appropriately sum up the ‘hit and miss’ nature of acquisitions from Holland.
But looking deeper beyond the fact it is an easier league to perform well in than the Premier League, everything about Malen suggests that he would be a success under Jurgen Klopp.
And Liverpool would get the added bonus of rubbing some salt in the wounds of Arsenal too, with the Gunners no doubt wishing they still had Malen at the Emirates given the player he has blossomed into.
Liverpool will have been keeping a keen eye on Malen’s performances at the Euros, and from what they’ve seen already, they should be readying a bid to take him to Anfield.
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