Liverpool have been heavily linked with a big-money move for Miralem Pjanic this summer, the Bosnian midfielder that AS Roma value at a whopping £37 million.
According to the Daily Mirror, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers travelled to the Italian capital last week to declare his interest in the 24-year-old after holding talks with the Serie'A' outfit's director of football Walter Sabatini.
However, the club-record fee that is currently being touted is way above what the Merseyside outfit should be prepared to pay for a player that is remarkably similar in playing style to several existing members of the club's first-team squad.
Peddled in the media as a potential replacement for club captain Steven Gerrard, that perception of the fleet-footed playmaker is entirely inaccurate. Pjanic is more in the mould of Philippe Coutinho or Adam Lallana, not the industrious box-to-box star of yesteryear.
Liverpool's search for a natural successor to their soon-to-be-departing skipper will inevitably lead them to splashing out a significant sum of money on a reinforcement, but the Serie 'A' star is not the man they should go for.
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The Reds would be better off pursuing Pjanic's club team-mate Kevin Strootman, a player that has many more similarities to Gerrard. It will cost a fair price prising the Holland international from Stadio Olimpico as well, but his suitability to fulfil that role is easier to foresee.
There are still some doubts about Strootman's fitness after he suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury last season, but that could prove to be a useful bargaining tool if Rodgers tries to drive down Roma's asking price for the Dutchman at the end of the campaign.
Pjanic, meanwhile, is under contract with the Giallorossi until 2018, and with reported wages of £160,000-a-week Liverpool will need to top that pay packet to even tempt the player to England, which means he'd arrive on Merseyside as the club's highest earner.
That will bring its own unavoidable pressure
Slight in build, but sophisticated in style, Pjanic is also something of a set-piece specialist, skills he honed during his early days in France with Lyon, learning from one of the best in the business in Juninho Pernambucano.
In the Eternal City the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has flourished under the watchful eye of Rudi Garcia, after devoting numerous hours on the training field to continue his development.
There's no doubt that Pjanic has all the necessary tools to take his game to the next level and establish himself as one of the very best footballers at the elite level of the game. But, given the wealth of creative attacking talent already on the books at Anfield, Liverpool would benefit from investing their money elsewhere.
Liverpool fans: Would you like to see Brendan Rodgers splash the cash on Miralem Pjanic - or do you think £37 million is too much for the Serie 'A' star? Share your thoughts below...
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