Kolkata, September 20: Premier League superpower Liverpool are set to battle with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona for the signing of Napoli star midfielder Fabian Ruiz.
The 23-year-old is on the radars of a host of European giants after a phenomenal breakout season at Napoli last season and almost all major clubs in Europe took notice of his exploits for the Naples side. The Spaniard has started exactly where he left off this season and it is hardly a surprise to see his stock rising even higher.
Real and Barcelona are always in the lookout for players who can improve their squad and it is not a surprise to see Ruiz making their wishlist. Also, him being a Spaniard probably acts as a catalyst for the interest, but Liverpool have entered the race now and are looking to steal a march over the Spanish duo.
The Spanish No. 8 has been instrumental in much of the Serie A side's success recently, including in their 2-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League. The 23-year-old looked dangerous throughout the game and forced Reds stopper Adrian into a pair of fine saves in the first-half alone. After 14 years at his boyhood club Real Betis, Napoli activated Ruiz's £27million buyout clause last year and since then, he has never had to look back.
The Spaniard would be a great signing for Liverpool if they can manage to pull the deal off. The biggest USP of Ruiz is his versatility. Thanks to his all round ability, he can be used in many roles. Although he is most comfortable as a number eight, he can also do a decent job as a number six or a number ten and can also play on the flanks. Jurgen Klopp is a huge admirer of versatile players and it is no surprise to see the German rating Ruiz highly.
Liverpool are one of the strongest teams in Europe right now but there are some areas where they are not at par to their rivals like Manchester City and one of them is creativity in midfield. Liverpool's style of play requires hard-working tenacious midfielders. It is more about steal than craft, but Ruiz can add another dimension to the Reds midfield as he can offer both. Naby Keita is undoubtedly the most creative Liverpool midfielder but his struggle with injuries has been a persistent problem and if things do not change, Ruiz can fill that void with ease.
Interest may be high in Ruiz, but Napoli will be in no mood to sell their priced asset next summer and the player himself might also not opt for a move as he is a key player for Napoli who themselves are a force to be reckoned with in Serie A.