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Liverpool could return for attacker Lionel Messi loves after ‘failed £29.5m transfer bid’

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Liverpool have long admired Villarreal attacker Samuel Chukwueze, and it should be no surprise as to why.

Two years ago, France Football claimed that Liverpool had a bid of €35m (£29.5m) turned down for him that January — it was said that the Spanish side were holding out for his €60m (£55m) release clause.

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Prior to that, Chukwueze starred at the 2015 U17 World Cup, scoring seven goals in seven matches as Nigeria were crowned champions.

Lionel Messi placed him third in his vote for the Kopa Trophy, an award for players under 21, voted for by former Ballon d’Or winners.

Speaking to Filgoal, former Nigeria assistant manager Nabil Trabelsi said: “Samuel is one of the best players in dribbling. I like to call him Africa’s Lionel Messi, which is the title he loves.

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“He is one of the best players in the continent after Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané and the great players.

“He suffered an injury during the current season with Villarreal that kept him away from his team for a long time, but he returned again. He will come back better in the future.”

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Rather than Lionel Messi, FBref analysis computes him to be stylistically most similar to Leon Bailey, closely followed by Christian Pulisic, Sadio Mané and Harvey Barnes.

Kylian Mbappé, Heung-min Son and Bukayo Saka are eighth, ninth and tenth most stylistically similar, according to the same data, which will only further increase the intrigue.

Still only 22, Chukwueze is a player that Liverpool have looked at in the past, and while his Villarreal teammate, Arnaut Danjuma, continues to be linked with a transfer move to Anfield, the Nigerian could be another option.

Having returned from a hamstring injury, Chukwueze has scored five times so far in all competitions this season, and he could be one of the stars of AFCON this month.

Capable of playing on either flank, his versatility, speed and agility could be appealing to Liverpool in future, and while it is likely that his goalscoring will have to increase further for them to seriously consider an offer, there is plenty of time for that to happen.

He is not a signing for right now, but perhaps one for the future. Chukwueze is very much one to keep an eye on.

 

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liverpool.com
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