Liverpool transfer news: Reds step up interest in Ligue 1 ace - The Verdict

Liverpool are stepping up their interest in Lille forward Jonathan Ikone, as reported by Anfield Central.

The 23-year-old has been linked with the Reds recently, and it has now been reported that Liverpool are planning to hold talks with the player's agent in the coming days. 

Ikone, who has spent the last three years at Lille, won the Ligue 1 title with the French club last month, registering nine goal involvements in the league during the course of the season.

He has four international caps for France, but failed to make the world champions' squad for this summer's European Championships.

With Liverpool having completed the signing of Ibrahima Konate at the end of May, would Ikone be another good addition to Jurgen Klopp's squad?

GIVEMESPORT's Sam Brookes, Jonathan Gorrie, Joshua Cole and Jack Saville give their views below...

This Liverpool fan on The Football Terrace is loving the latest Reds transfer update!

Sam Brookes

"It's too soon for Ikone to move to Liverpool.

"While Lille did manage to win their first title in a decade this season, it has to be pointed out that Ikone wasn't actually that impressive himself. 

"According to WhoScored, he was only Lille's 14th best player across the course of the campaign, earning an average match rating of 6.65. This falls some way below the marks received by Liverpool's attacking options of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota.

"Lille's title win was built on the strength of their defence, as they only conceded 23 goals in 38 matches.

"Ikone only turned 23 in March and needs a little more time to develop his game before he gets his big move. He will progress by getting more game time under his belt, and that is why he should stay at Lille next year, rather than joining Liverpool and sitting on the bench in a move that will benefit no one."

Jonathan Gorrie

With Liverpool needing to refresh, Ikone could be a breath of fresh air.

Tipped for a big future by the big-wigs at PSG, the 23-year-old averaged 1.4 dribbles per game last season (via WhoScored) as well as 1.3 shots over the same period.

Though those averages would only see him rank sixth and fourth in the Liverpool squad, this is a 23-year-old showing rapid improvement this season.

That looks like the perfect talent for Jurgen Klopp. Indeed, he's improved players over his time at Anfield, taking the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to superstardom through good old-fashioned coaching.

That's not to suggest Ikone will reach those levels but, with four goals and five assists for a title-winning team, he certainly looks as if he has the talent to at least support them.

Then, with Klopp's coaching, perhaps he could one day take their place in the team.

Joshua Cole

“Whilst the Reds were lethargic in an attacking sense at times during the 2020/21 campaign, it could be argued that it would be a ridiculous decision to strengthen their options in the wide areas by signing Ikone from Lille.

“Considering that Liverpool already have three players at their disposal in the form of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota who all know exactly what it takes to thrive at this level, Ikone may struggle to compete with this particular trio for a position if he makes the move to Anfield.

“Furthermore, having never played in the Premier League before, there is no guarantee that the winger will be able to cope with the competitiveness that this division is famed for.

“Therefore, instead of splashing the cash on Ikone, Liverpool ought to instead draft in some added competition for Roberto Firmino as it could force the Brazilian to step up his performance levels as he only managed to find the back of the net on nine occasions this season.”

1 of 15

How much did Liverpool pay Newcastle United for Andy Carroll?

Jack Saville

"Ikone, who is stylistically quite similar to Mo Salah as a left-footed right-winger, could be Jurgen Klopp's next Sadio Mane project. Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Liverpool moved to sign Mane from Southampton in 2016. There were glimpses of brilliance to get excited about but he looked like a gamble for a club with aspirations of returning to the elite.

"However, Mane and Salah's respective developments at Anfield have cemented Klopp's status as one of the best man managers in the game, with the German transforming both players into two of the best wide forwards in world football.

"Ikone's return of 14 goals and 25 assists in 125 appearances for Lille is respectable and proves there is talent to be nurtured within the right environment. If Liverpool do manage to sign him this summer, the 23-year-old could blossom into a world-beating winger.

"He'd be an excellent signing for the Reds."