- 5 December
- 87K+ views
Kouadio Kone: Liverpool could have own Bruno Guimaraes with Bundesliga youngster
The 21-year-old is still raw but he has the physical attributes required and the ‘legs’ that Liverpool so desperately need in midfield - even though his tactical propensity is yet to shine through.
So yes, the club would be paying for the potential he could grow into, but all the trimmings are there for a future star.
Gladbach paid €9million to sign him from Toulouse in January 2021, with the French side falling to relegation. They loaned Kone, who was still a teenager at the time, back to the Ligue 1 outfit and he was given plenty of first-team opportunities as they dropped to the second division.
In fact, during this period, Kone earned 2,000 minutes and provided four goal contributions as a defensive-midfield - though he showed he is capable of playing in the more advanced No.8 role and even, at times, as a No.10.
The Frenchman made his Bundesliga debut under Adi Hutter at home in a 1-0 home victory against Borussia Dortmund and then was a standout player as Glachbach dismantled then the reigning Champions League champions Bayern Munich.
Hutter left the club by mutual consent before their current boss Daniel Farke was brought in last summer. This season, the former Norwich City coach has been putting Kone on the left-side of a double pivot, in a system that demands a quick tempo, fast turnovers in transition, and a possession-based philosophy.
Kone is a box-to-box midfielder who tirelessly recycles the ball and yields great mobility. He shows a remarkable understanding of when to cover and when to make runs forward, working in tandem with Julian Weigl, who’s on loan from Benfica.
Something of a workhorse, Kone has an aggressive style when out of possession and enjoys forcing turnovers near his box, with 1.34 tackles won in the defensive third per 90.
Kone’s forte, however, is in carrying the ball and making space for his side. He has completed 1.95 successful dribbles per 90 which put him in the top 98 percentile compared to players in his position.
Though he acquires good passing ability, Kone often falls short when looking for balls forward in terms of volume - making just 1.30 progressive passes per 90, which is in the 41 percentile.
Liverpool’s Guimaraes prototype
What is so striking about Kone is how complete he is: he seldom lacks any real weaknesses and has vast versatility for someone in his position. He is matched probably only by Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle in that regard. The two play in very similar styles, particularly when in possession behind inside their own half.
Kone, though he is reluctant to play long balls regularly, has the ability to find his man from distance, just like the former Athletico Paranaense man.
Kone is slightly taller than Guimaraes but also knows how to use his body weight to win possession. Indeed, in close-quarters, Kone, like the Brazil international, is strong on the turn and able to prise away the ball from his opponent and more often than not comes away as the victor from duals.
He is also five years younger than the Magpies star, but he would fetch the same price Newcastle paid to Lyon for Guimaraes - about €40m.
But it would prove to be a relatively cheap price for Liverpool considering what they would be getting in the long-term.