Who is Manu Kone? The £40m 'Jude Bellingham alternative' Liverpool are 'in talks to sign'
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Liverpool have been linked with a move to sign Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Manu Kone this summer.
The 59-year-old former goalkeeper will officially begin his role on June 1, and has strong knowledge of German markets, having previously worked as a sporting director at Wolfsburg, Koln and Hannover.
But who is Kone, and how could he improve Liverpool if he signs this summer? Let's take a look.
Who is Manu Kone?
France youth international Kone signed for Monchengladbach in the summer of 2021 from French side Toulouse, where he came through the club's academy.
Kone has gone on to make 57 Bundesliga appearances, with 30 of those being recorded during the current campaign.
He a combative midfielder, having picked up 22 bookings during his time in Germany. Kone is yet to be sent off in a match, however, showing he has good temperament.
How has he played this season?
The 22-year-old has proven his strong defensive talents this season, having performed more tackles per match (2.5) than any other member of the Monchengladbach squad, per WhoScored. He has also committed the most fouls per match (1.7).
In the attacking phase, he has produced the most dribbles per match (1.8) of any member of the squad. And in contrast to the fouls he commits, he has also been on the receiving end of the most fouls per match (2.5) as well.
Although Kone is not a goalscoring midfielder - his best season in that regard is the three goals he netted for Toulouse in 2020/21 - his ball progression statistics could make him an ideal fit for Klopp's system.
What's been said about him?
Speaking after Kone's debut for Gladbach in September 2021, his then manager Adi Hutter pointed towards how the Frenchman could fit in at Liverpool.
He said: "He's a player with a lot of potential. I think he forms a very good trio in central midfield with Denis Zakaria and Jonas Hofmann. That's fun."
And in a report from June 2022, scouting website Breaking the Lines detailed: "Kone has been one of the most impressive players in the Bundesliga this [2021/22] season, showcasing his versatility, athleticism and technical ability.
"Standing at 6ft 1in, Kone is an imposing figure in midfield, but he also possesses great speed and agility. This allows him to cover a lot of ground on the pitch and make an impact both defensively and offensively ... Kone is a very good passer of the ball and has an excellent work ethic."
Why might Liverpool be interested?
The above indicates that Kone would be an excellent addition to a Liverpool midfield three - which is the preferred system of Klopp throughout his time at Anfield.
He would add an element of dynamism to the centre of the pitch, with his ability to drive between both boxes, work rate and overall passing skill meaning that it is no surprise as to why Liverpool are reportedly keen on signing him this summer.
Described as a 'Jude Bellingham alternative' by talkSPORT, he could certainly be an affordable option as the Reds look to rebuild their midfield.
What's the latest?
German outlet BILD claim the Reds have "big" intentions to sign Kone, and have already begun talks by enquiring about the midfielder.
They have been quoted an asking price of at least €40 to €45 million (around £34 to £38 million).
It is added that Gladbach want to negotiate a high fee in order to sell the midfielder, but are also wary of needing quick funds to fulfil their own ambitions in the transfer market, with it said to be 'already clear' that Kone will depart the club.