Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt is one of the wide candidates under consideration by Liverpool should they strengthen their forward options in January.
Jurgen Klopp already possesses the Premier League’s most explosive attack, but has admitted he does “not have too many wingers” to call upon, a fact that will be highlighted when Sadio Mane departs for the African Nations Cup.
And like the Senegal international before him, Brandt is thriving under Roger Schmidt’s tutelage with the Leverkusen manager advocating aggressive attacking football with quick transitions.
The 20-year-old, who created one before scoring and winning a penalty against Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig on Friday, has the attributes the Reds are after - versatility, quick feet, physicality to match his fluidity, stellar technique, greed for goals and assists - as well as a good understanding of their authoritative approach.
The only asterisk against the German international is his defensive contribution, which he has already indicated he is working on sharpening.
It is no surprise that Liverpool are heavily monitoring his development, with Brandt on the club’s watchlist for years as opposed to months in keeping with their commitment to long-term planning.
However, Leverkusen are expected to strongly bat away any enquiries for the player in January, while Liverpool will only make a move in the winter window if circumstances dictate so.
Mane’s absence has always been factored into the equation for 2016-17, and while Danny Ings has been ruled out for the rest of the season, Liverpool still have Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge as forward options, with Sheyi Ojo back in training.
Both Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana can also operate further forward and Klopp has shown an appetite for seeking solutions from within before looking to buy as evidenced with James Milner’s use left-back and Jordan Henderson’s role as the deepest-lying midfielder.
The German has instructed the recruitment team to round up possibilities should Liverpool need to enter the market due to injuries and the like, but by no means is it a foregone conclusion that a new signing will be introduced to the set-up.
Like Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, who was the subject of a failed £11 million bid from the Reds in the summer, Brandt has the perfect profile for Liverpool - with much greater experience - but prising either away will prove difficult and require a patient, longer strategy.
The former has two-and-a-half years to run on his contract, while the latter is reported to have £17m buyout, which can be activated in 2018.
BVB are attempting to tie Pulisic into a new long-term deal, with Leverkusen sharing that thinking but Brandt’s father and agent told Germany’s Express: "Sure, there is interest, but there are no talks or pre-arrangements with other clubs. It's Julian's decision, and it's often a gut decision where timing plays an important role."
Leverkusen’s sporting director Rudi Voller, meanwhile, stated: “We know what Julian's contract looks like and we know he is feeling very well here.
"It would not be the first time a player reaches a stage where he wants to leave. I hope it will not happen with Julian, but we will just move on if it happens."
Liverpool demonstrated their intelligence with transfers this summer, recruiting Joel Matip on a free in one of the best bits of business of the window. They also signed Loris Karius - one of Germany’s highest-rated young goalkeepers - for just £4.7m, with their smart purchases matching an assertive stance on sales that led to a profit.
There will be no short-termism, regarding transfers or otherwise, as the club solidifies their structures for the future.