FSG have obvious €4.5m transfer to make whether they sell Liverpool or not
Liverpool are rumoured to be interested in Midtjylland winger Gustav Isaksen and his stats show why that might be the case
For some Liverpool supporters, the Fenway Sports Group era will inevitably be defined by transfers. They will receive credit for many that were made but also criticism for those that were not, for a perceived lack of spending when the team needed an injection of fresh talent.
With FSG now open to selling the club, uncertainty reigns. Their statement earlier this week mentioned they remain “fully committed to the success of Liverpool, both on and off the pitch,” but fans will inevitably wonder how transfer business will be affected.
Nonetheless, rumours will continue to flow and while a recent one may not send Kopites’ pulses racing, it has an air of plausibility about it. According to Ekstra Bladset (via Express ), Liverpool have sent scouts to watch Midtjylland winger Gustav Isaksen.
If you don’t follow Danish football but his name sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because he featured when the Reds drew 1-1 in Denmark in a Champions League match in 2020. The reason it’s easy to believe Liverpool might hold an interest in the 21-year-old is that Mohamed Salah is one of the players with whom he is most statistically similar ( per FBRef ).
And why stop there? The data also paints him as playing like Raheem Sterling, Harvey Barnes, Moussa Diaby and Wilfried Zaha, before we get to Marcus Rashford and Allan Saint-Maximin. Isaksen sounds like a one-man hybrid of Liverpool players past and present with some other established Reds transfer rumours baked in there too.
But are these player comparisons fair? Early indications are that they are, not least because Isaksen is a fine dribbler with excellent close control. Per Fotmob, he is Midtjylland’s top player for dribbles completed per 90 minutes this season, and joint-14th overall in the Danish Superliga.
There is room for improvement, though. He has played 527 minutes in the Europa League this season, and in that time only two of his carries have led to him taking a shot with none enabling him to create a chance for a teammate ( per The Analyst ). Dribbling past an opponent is a fine skill to have but there needs to be end product after a successful take-on too.
A look at the numbers from a recent Europa League match with Sturm Graz illustrates that the Danish under-21 international is an excellent attacking outlet. When it came to progressive passes, both made and received, Isaksen stood out a long way from his team-mates. By assisting both goals for centre forward Anders Dryer in a 2-0 win over the Austrian outfit, the young winger forced his way into Fotmob’s Europa League team of the week.
For context, Luis Diaz has been Liverpool’s best attacker on this front this season, with a 0.6 per 90 average. As Isaksen’s side enjoy less possession than the Reds, he will have had more opportunities to recover the ball. Showing that he can do so at a decent level in the attacking third is a good indicator all the same.
With Isaksen out of contract at the end of next season, Midtjylland might be open to a deal soon to ensure they receive a fee. Even though he is rated as the seventh most valuable player in Denmark by Transfermarkt, he is only estimated to be worth 4.5m euros. Whatever might be going on with the sale of Liverpool when the transfer window next opens, a fee in that region means they might yet have found a potential Salah of the future.