Ryan Gravenberch’s £22m transfer decision should be obvious amid Man Utd and Liverpool’s rival interest

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Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has been linked with both Liverpool and Manchester United in the latter stages of the current transfer window, but who should he sign for?

Well, here we are, back at the beginning. After weeks and weeks of missing targets with all the self-assured obliviousness of a blindfolded archer, and with the transfer window firmly in the throes of its concluding fortnight, Liverpool have seemingly turned their attentions once again towards Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.

The 21-year-old is one of those names, like Jude Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe before him, that feels perpetually linked with the red half of Merseyside. Where he is concerned, the interest radiating from Anfield appears to ebb and flow, peak and trough, but at the time of writing, with the only thing scarcer than potential alternatives being the time in which Liverpool have left to sign them, it feels as if this particular never-ending pursuit could be about to reach a crescendo.

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According to the Daily Mail, productive talks have been held between Jurgen Klopp’s side and Bayern, who could be persuaded to part with a player who they themselves only signed from Ajax in a £21 million deal last summer. As for Gravenberch, it is understood that he would be open to the prospect of a move if it brought with it the opportunity to gain greater first team opportunities. The Dutchman made 33 appearances in his debut season in Germany, but 27 of them came from the substitute’s bench.

Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. The midfielder has been linked with both Liverpool and Manchester United in the latter stages of the current transfer window, but should perhaps be more tempted by the offer of a move to Anfield.Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. The midfielder has been linked with both Liverpool and Manchester United in the latter stages of the current transfer window, but should perhaps be more tempted by the offer of a move to Anfield.
Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. The midfielder has been linked with both Liverpool and Manchester United in the latter stages of the current transfer window, but should perhaps be more tempted by the offer of a move to Anfield. | Getty Images

In terms of an asking price, it is thought that Bayern would like to return a profit on the midfielder, but only a little one; according to the Mirror, a fee of around £22 million is expected. Certainly, if nothing else, Gravenberch would make for a more cost-effective option than the Moises Caicedos and Romeo Lavias of this world.

But in spite of affordability and the willingness, this is not a chase without its potential hiccups. Alongside Liverpool, bitterest of rivals Manchester United are also said to be considering a late bid to lure the midfielder to England, as per the Manchester Evening News. Like their fellow Reds, United are in the market for central reinforcements, and like their fellow Reds, they too have encountered frustrating obstacles in their efforts to do so. A protracted dalliance with Moroccan international Sofyan Amrabat has thus far yielded no results, and every other name mentioned has been done so in a kind of hazy, speculative way that promises very little.

This, then, is where we found ourselves as deadline day careers into tangibility - two great foes and their respective woes, both duking it out for a player who, in truth, falls just short of a last resort. A kind of ‘penultimate resort’, if you will.

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But where should Gravenberch opt for, assuming he is presented with the choice? Well, there are certainly arguments to be made for both Liverpool and United. In the case of the latter, the Dutchman has worked with compatriot Erik ten Hag before during their shared time at Ajax. Perhaps, then, there would be a seductive air of familiarity to the manager’s project at Old Trafford - although he need only look as far as the long-forgotten Donny van de Beek to see how little an entwined history can matter. Indeed, Van de Beek’s eventual departure might well be the catalyst that brings about a swoop for Gravenberch.

And then there is Liverpool. If reports are to be believed, then the compulsion to bid farewell to Bayern this summer could be fuelled by a desire for frequent minutes. Given the rickety, threadbare nature of Jurgen Klopp’s midfield at this present moment in time, you would fancy that Gravenberch will be afforded plenty of chances to prove himself at Anfield. In a similar vein, you would also imagine that he has a greater likelihood of displacing Wataru Endo in a starting XI than Casemiro.

Really though, so much of Gravenberch’s decision will hinge on his hunger for the risk associated with notable personal growth. At United, he could quite happily slot into a matchday squad as an understudy in a rotating cast of established midfield talent, whereas at Liverpool, he could shoulder the tremendous expectations of the Kop to step out as a pivotal component in a team who are enduring a seismic changing of the guard.

In some respects, the pressure will be greater on Merseyside, but so will the potential reward. If Gravenberch is serious about becoming the player that he evidently wants to be, then he must be ready to embrace that gamble; he needs to sign for Liverpool.

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