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Liverpool should consider reigniting Julian Brandt interest this summer

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It’s fair to say that Julian Brandt’s career hasn’t quite progressed as many had expected when he joined Borussia Dortmund from Bayer Leverkusen for €25 million in the summer of 2019.

After making a positive impression in his debut season at Dortmund, directly contributing to 20 goals in all competitions (seven goals, 13 assists) and featuring in all but one game in the Bundesliga, his form dipped quite dramatically in 2020/21.



He ended up being outshone by teenage sensations Giovanni Reyna and Jude Bellingham and having fallen down the pecking order, Brandt only started half of Dortmund’s Bundesliga games and only started two of their 10 games in the Champions League despite being fit and available all season. In total, he provided just three goals and two assists in all competitions, which represents by far the worst season in his career since becoming a fully fledged senior pro.



It wasn’t any great surprise, therefore, that Brandt was left of the Germany squad for the European Championship, and earlier this year a report emerged from Bild (via Sport Witness) indicating that Dortmund would consider offers of around €25 million this summer, with Arsenal supposedly contemplating a move.



If it turns out to be true that Dortmund would sell Brandt at that kind of price, there’s definitely an argument that Liverpool should be putting themselves in the conversation. Brandt, it’s worth remembering, was initially a priority target for Jürgen Klopp in 2017, and Liverpool only moved on to Mohamed Salah as an alternative once it became clear that Brandt, aged 21 at the time, wasn’t interested in joining as he felt the potential lack of game time might hinder his development and chances of being involved in the 2018 World Cup.

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Even though the move didn’t materialise back then, Liverpool will surely have been keeping an eye on his progress since, and given the amount of close Bundesliga contacts Klopp will have (including at Dortmund), it wouldn’t be difficult for him to enquire about Brandt’s situation and gain some further insight from those who watch him regularly.

Although his development has stalled over the past year or so, Brandt only turned 25 last month, so his peak years may well still be ahead of him – and several underlying numbers suggest that there’s still a hugely gifted player there, even if he fell well below his previous standards for Dortmund in the season just gone.

Over the past year, as per Fbref, he ranks in the 93rd percentile of all midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty expected goals and expected assists per 90 minutes (0.31), the 95th percentile for passes into the penalty area per 90 (1.65), the 92nd percentile for attacking third pressures per 90 (4.78) and the 97th percentile for successful take-ons per 90 (2.47), which offers a general indication of how effective he still is across a range of key performance metrics.

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Across his two seasons at Dortmund, he has played as a central midfielder, attacking midfielder, left winger, right winger and even as a centre-forward on several occasions, so in theory, he’d be able to slot into a variety of midfield and attacking roles for Liverpool, which would be extremely useful given the departure of Gini Wijnaldum and likely sales of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Clearly, any move would come with a significant element of risk attached given it’s been quite a while since Brandt was performing at the top of his game on a consistent basis, but it’s not as if his talent has just evaporated over the course of a single season, and if there’s any manager who can help him rediscover his best form, it has to be Klopp.

If Liverpool are looking for a relatively cheap, versatile player who is realistically attainable and at a good age, it would be well worth exploring the possibility of reigniting their previous interest in Brandt this summer.

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