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Arne Slot 'eyeing reunion with former Feyenoord captain at Liverpool'

Arne Slot 'eyeing reunion with former Feyenoord captain at Liverpool'
© Reuters
Incoming Liverpool manager Arne Slot reportedly wants to reunite with former Feyenoord captain Orkun Kokcu at Anfield this summer.

Newly-appointed Liverpool head coach Arne Slot is supposedly keen to reunite with one of his former Feyenoord captains at Anfield next season.

On Monday evening, the Reds officially confirmed Slot's arrival on a reported three-year deal, as Jurgen Klopp vacates the reins after a nine-year spell in the Anfield hotseat.

Slot will begin work on Merseyside on July 1, but with the summer transfer window opening two weeks before the Dutchman starts his new job, targets are already being drawn up.

Reinforcements in defence are expected to be a priority for Liverpool ahead of the 2023-24 season, especially after Klopp and former sporting director Jorg Schmadtke oversaw last summer's midfield rebuild.

However, the Reds are still believed to open to bolstering their engine room if the right opportunity comes along, and according to Turkish outlet Fotospor, Slot is particularly bent on bringing one of his erstwhile troops to Anfield.

Liverpool 'considering move for Orkun Kokcu'

Orkun Kokcu warms up for Benfica in January 2024© Reuters

Twenty-three-year-old Turkey international Orkun Kokcu spent nine successful years at Feyenoord from 2014 to 2023, coming through their youth ranks to register 32 goals and 27 assists in 175 matches for the club.

Kokcu - formerly linked with Arsenal - played a starring role in Feyenoord's 2022-23 Eredivisie title triumph under Slot, sporting the captain's armband throughout the campaign before being sold to Portuguese giants Benfica in a €25m (£21.3m) deal.

The 23-year-old's debut campaign with the Eagles has been a strong one too, as he has amassed seven goals and 11 assists from 43 games in a central role and also helping his side win the Portuguese Super Cup.

Kokcu is under contract with Benfica until the summer of 2028 and is also believed to be on Besiktas' radar, but Slot has apparently earmarked him as his first desired signing on Merseyside.

Money could prove to be an issue, though, as Kokcu's deal supposedly includes a release clause of approximately £128m, meaning that Liverpool might have to shell out a club-record fee for his services.

Is Kokcu the type of player that Liverpool need?

Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister celebrates scoring their first goal on May 19, 2024© Reuters

Kokcu's versatility makes him a standout candidate for a transfer to the Premier League, as the Turkey international has featured as a number six, number eight and number 10 in 2023-24, in addition to a brief stint on the left wing.

However, the 23-year-old is evidently more suited to an attacking midfield position, whereas Liverpool are more in need of a holding lynchpin, having rotated Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endo in that slot in 2023-24.

Despite sometimes being forced to play in a deeper role, Mac Allister matched Kokcu's tally of seven goals for the season - as well as setting up seven more - while Dominik Szoboszlai, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Ryan Gravenberch can play in similar midfield positions too.

In contrast, Endo's only real backup in the number six role is Stefan Bajcetic, whose talent is undeniable, but his injury-disrupted 2023-24 campaign means that he should not be thrown into the deep end next term.

While Kokcu can certainly do a job as the midfield screen, Liverpool may find it more beneficial to pursue a player with more of a defensive edge about him; current Feyenoord man Mats Wieffer immediately springs to mind.

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