Liverpool, like most Premier League teams, recruit heavily during the transfer windows from overseas, boosting their squads with signings from the likes of Spain's La Liga, France's Ligue 1 or Holland's Eredivisie.
One major European league which the Reds haven't delved into too often, however, is the German Bundesliga—a surprise, considering the depth and quality of players there, and the comparatively low cost against similar-ability players from England or Spain.
A recent report from Paul Hetherington in the Daily Star indicates that the Reds are now after two Bayer Leverkusen players this summer—though not perhaps the midfield name fans would have hoped for. Even so, this is most certainly a market the Reds should be looking at as they prepare for a season back in the Champions League.
Bereft of Bundesliga Talent
That's Liverpool's sole incoming business deals with the top flight in Germany, dating back to 2008-09 season, when they brought in "free transfer"—quite possibly the most expensive one ever on a games:wages basis—signing Philipp Degen from Borussia Dortmund.
In fact, it seems quite remarkable that in the past decade, Liverpool's only signings from Germany have been Yesil, Degen and Andriy Voronin, another free transfer and another failure.
Is it a lack of knowledge of that market? Or a lack of faith in it?
Either way, it's a poor showing from such a global club as Liverpool that they have not made the most of investing in players from a competitive and technical league such as the Bundesliga.
Ask most Liverpool supporters who they (realistically) want from Germany, and the answer will, in many cases, be Lars Bender. An aggressive, box-to-box midfielder who is technically impressive and can also play as the deepest midfielder, Bender would be ideally suited to the Reds' tactical plan in a 4-3-3 or a diamond and would bring no shortage of quality and experience.
Instead, at this moment, Emre Can is the midfielder being linked.
Can is a very talented youngster in his own right, capable of playing either deep in midfield or from full-back, though he was perhaps expected to break through at Bayern Munich rather than at Leverkusen, where he transferred last summer.
However, as laid out at the time by B/R's Sam Tighe, Bayern Munich have a buy-back clause invested with Can. That's the first obstacle to overcome.
Whether or not he has progressed to immediately be worthy of a starting place in a Champions League side is another, though he's a regular performer for B04 and has been featuring in a withdrawn midfield role of late, rather than at full-back.
Heung-Min Son is the other Bayer player linked to the Reds.
A wide forward with pace to burn and a habit of scoring goals, he seems like a good fit for the Reds when playing the 4-3-3 system, supporting with creativity and invention from out wide, though also able to play just off the front man when Liverpool choose to go with two central players.
Again, though, Son moved to Leverkusen just last summer, from Hamburg for around €10 million, replacing Andre Schurrle.
That seemed at the time the right moment to go for him, which the Reds and other interested parties passed up. A year later, with Leverkusen closing in on Champions League football again and a long-term contract to his name, his price is likely to have gone up even further.
Whether the Reds end up targeting these two or not, it's high time they started looking at the Bundesliga to bring in quality recruits. Bender, but also a handful of players from Dortmund, Schalke, Moenchengladbach or other top sides, could all bring an awful lot to the present squad which will need additions this summer.
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