Pitchside

Is this Liverpool’s next superstar in the making?

Pitchside

View gallery

.

Liverpool have been linked with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can, who could cost the Reds around £10 million. But after challenging for the Premier League title on the final day of the season and guaranteeing Champions League football next season, Liverpool fans will be wanting the club to sign top quality players. So, is Emre Can up to that standard?

Can is only young. At the tender age of 20, he has many years left ahead of him at the top level - a whole career in fact. The midfielder -mwho can also play left-back - would be a good signing for Liverpool as his talent at such a young age is exciting, while the potential waiting to be unlocked can be matured under Brendan Rodgers.

Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan have both flourished at the club over the past few months and it's all down to Rodgers' coaching and tutoring. Can is versatile and excellent with the ball at his feet. He's a raw talent and will need some work but in a year or so, with proper coaching aiding him, he could become a real star.

Let's see how he compared to some of Europe's better central midfielders last season:

View gallery

.

Can played 29 times last season, drifting from playing left-back to central midfield so his statistics will be slightly skewed but it is still interesting to take a look at what he brings to the table at his age.

Compared to his Bayer teammate Lars Bender, Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin, Juventus' Arturo Vidal and his possible rival for a place at Liverpool, Steven Gerrard, Can doesn't shine too often in the statistics, but he is young.

Over an average of 90 minutes, Can completed 32.97 passes per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga. That figure placed him fourth ahead of Bender (32.91). Liverpool leader Gerrard tops the scale with an impressive 58.1 successful passes per 90mins.

However, these figures may be slightly misleading as Bayer Leverkusen do not play the possession and passing game to the extent that Liverpool do, so Gerrard is far more likely to complete more passes than Can.

Gerrard also beats his rivals in the chance creation department, too. The Englishman created 2.08 chances per 90 minutes last season. Can is bottom out of the five players having created just 0.66.

His shot accuracy of 44% is not great either but it is enough to place him third. Gerrard, once again, comes out on top with a shot accuracy of 65%. Vidal (40%) and Schneiderlin (33%) prop up the list.

In terms of tackles, it is the Chilean Vidal who comes out on top. He played 32 Serie A matches last season but averaged out over 90 minutes, he won 3.54 tackles. Lars Bender was not far behind with 3.34 while Can's 2.46 was just better than Gerrard (2.21).

Finally, though, Can wins a battle against the four midfielders. He is an excellent dribbler and has extremely quick feet, switching the ball from one foot to the other as fast as a blink of the eye.

He completed three take-ons per 90 minutes last season, much better than everyone else. Bender is second in the list on 1.84, showing just how good Can is with the ball at his feet. He could even be used in a more advanced midfield position, which could be more suited to his youthful exuberance.

The final department we must delve into is interceptions that Morgan Schneiderlin leads in with 2.21 per 90mins. Can averaged 1.81 which was better than both Vidal (1.44) and Gerrard (1.46).

So, judging by the statistics at hand, Can holds up quite well. He only wins one department but we must take his age into account.

Up against the likes of Bender, Vidal and Gerrard, anyone would come out third or fourth best, but Can holds his own and clearly has a lot of talent - but most importantly, a lot more potential.

View Comments (14)
Write for Yahoo Sport