Steven Gerrard gives Liverpool transfer boost in bid for ideal £33m Jude Bellingham alternative
RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara was spotted by scouts from the renowned JMG academy, who have produced the likes of Yaya and Kolo Touré, Yves Bissouma, and Salomon Kalou.
Coming through the ranks at the academy, Haidara harnessed his skills by unique methods such as being forced to play with bare feet in order to master his technique until he ‘earned’ his right to play in boots.
He would spend his weekdays away from home, and provided the opportunity to concentrate on football alone.
However, that approach has helped him to achieve success in his senior career, and as Liverpool continues to search for a midfielder to replace the long-departed Georginio Wijnaldum, Haidara could end up being the perfect option.
He has the dynamism, versatility, and the right profile to suit Liverpool’s central area.
The Malian is best in a box-to-box no.8 role, but he is also capable of dropping deep in the same vein as Wijnaldum and playing in the holding midfield position.
Not to mention, Haidara has occasionally filled in as a right-wing back for RB Leipzig, and could even provide cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold in his absence.
His work rate and energy are well-suited to Liverpool’s press system, and he also has a large appetite to continue to develop. A factor highlighted by his former academy administrator, Mamadou Wad to first Time Finish.
“From a young age, Amadou was very determined, he never ever gave up,” Wad said. “Even when the exercises were very difficult. He said: ‘Coach don’t worry I will finish this exercise and I will do it.’ And in the end, he always did.
“After breakfast at 6:30 in the morning, he went straight to the field before all the players and started to work. He had a huge love for football and he was very confident in himself.”
Mentality and what a player is like off the pitch often plays a key role in Jürgen Klopp’s recruitment, and Haidara certainly ticks the boxes in that regard with his attitude exactly what the Liverpool boss demands from his players.
Just like Wijnaldum, Haidara also can score top-notch goals on a fairly consistent basis from midfield.
His positioning is adept at getting in the right areas, but he also has an excellent shooting range. Haidara’s impressive technique from long-range has already troubled a lot of goalkeepers in the past — the only criticism in that regard is that the Malian doesn’t use it as frequently averaging just 1.46 shots per 90 as per Wyscout this season.
When asked who he looked up to growing up on a special feature by UEFA back in 2018, Haidara was quick to name a certain former Liverpool captain as inspiration.
“Steven Gerrard. He was an exceptional player,” he said. “He had it all and really battled on the pitch. He was an exemplary captain. I loved him as a player.”
FBref lists Jude Bellingham among the top five players who are most similar to Haidara, and the Malian international does possess similar traits to the current Liverpool target.
The only difference is in terms of age, with Haidara five years his senior, and of the course transfer value.
Haidara is valued at around £33m according to reports, which is not too steep, especially in comparison to the £80m-100m being touted around for Bellingham.
Liverpool have good relations with RB Leipzig having carried out numerous business with them in the past and that could help in negotiations.
Manchester United are also keen on the midfielder (thanks to the Ralf Rangnick link), Liverpool will have to act fast.