Liverpool could have another Dominik Szoboszlai on their hands with dream £30m summer swoop

Liverpool have been linked with an exciting Brazilian talent who plays at number ten - but what would he bring to Anfield?
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Liverpool are about to enter a period of transition. Long-serving and much-loved manager Jürgen Klopp is leaving the club at the end of the season, and several key players are beginning to get a little long in the tooth. Their work in the transfer market this summer could define them for several years – will they continue forward progress in their new era, or regress as a great coach leaves and great players follow?

Of course, they already have several building blocks in place for a team that can challenge for silverware for years to come. One of those is Hungarian playmaker Dominik Szoboszlai, who has been a hugely impressive and influential part of Klopp’s midfield since he arrived last summer. But while that may be one piece of the puzzle that they don’t need to worry about too much, his recent injury problems have highlighted the need to sign at least one more player who can carry his creative burden.

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This could be where Luis Guilherme comes in. Reports from Brazil suggest that Liverpool are making enquiries about the 18-year-old Brazilian, one of several supremely gifted young players who have broken into the Palmeiras first team in the last couple of years and who helped them to win the Brazilian Série A in 2023. Apparently he would cost around €35m (£30m), a seriously meaty price tag for such a young player – but he could well be worth it.

Guilherme is a dazzling number ten whose technique, ball control, pace and dribbling skills all stand out immediately. While he plays a broadly similar role to Szoboszlai, he’s a very different and much more direct player, but there’s a mounting body of evidence that he could be a superb understudy or even complement to the former RB Leipzig man.

Where the two players overlap is in their ability to find half-spaces between midfield and defence and exploit them to the full. Szoboszlai tends to use that space with his cultured passing range, but Guilherme is much more straightforward in his play, in some ways. He likes to start in deep positions, get quickly forward into pockets of space, and then take his man on – and he is supremely effective at it.

His ball-carrying skills are quite remarkable. He’s a relatively small player at just 5’9” but has he’s strong and has a low centre of gravity which means he’s very hard to knock off the ball, and his incredibly quick feet and bursts of acceleration mean he can get past players with relative ease and unlock defences.

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So far, he’s mostly been used as a late impact sub, hassling tired defences and generating chances in the closing minutes, and he’s only started four top-flight games in Brazil, but all the evidence suggests that he will develop into an incredibly dangerous player. He’s got good long-range shooting, his passing vision is impressive and while he has yet to score a goal at senior level, he generates an average of over five shooting chances for his team-mates per 90 minutes he’s on the field. Even Szoboszlai doesn’t create that many opportunities.

He’s also excellent off the ball, creating passing options through sheer speed. Marking him is clearly a nightmare – and he could well develop into a player who doesn’t just create chances from the number ten slot but also gets on the end of balls and scores himself. Nor is he any kind of individualist. He’s always a willing runner in the pressing game and tracks back happily. Frankly, the only weakness he seems to have is inexperience.

He's also capable of playing on the right wing, and could be an option there in the future when Mohamed Salah leaves – although he doesn’t have the kind of composed close-range finishing that the Egyptian offers and will likely never be a 20-goal player, he has all the attributes to be a devastating option at inside forward, cutting in on his left, beating opponents one-on-one and surging into the box. He’s versatile and hugely talented.

Liverpool are unlikely to be the only club interested in Guilherme, and previous reports have linked with Real Madrid and both Manchester clubs. He may be as green as a Palmeiras shirt, but he’s impressed at age group level with the Under-16 and Under-20 national teams and has looked the part in domestic football, even if he has largely been restricted to cameos so far, and a lot of scouts appear to be very excited indeed. He seems like a candidate to be bought and loaned back for a little while to continue his development, but all the signs suggest that he could easily become a world class number ten in the not-so-distant future.

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And yes, £30m is a lot for a youngster. Signing any player at that age will be a gamble, and there are no guarantees that he continues his sharp upward curve. But Liverpool will need fresh blood as they rejuvenate their team, and will need someone else who can offer the kind of creative threat in the final third that Szoboszlai does. He is already a better dribbler than the Hungarian, and has the vision to match him as a passing player, too.

Guilherme has ‘next big thing’ credentials. He’s dynamic and dangerous. Signing him for a substantial sum might be a risk – but it looks like a risk worth taking, because in five or ten years’ time, £30m might well look like a bargain.

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