Liverpool transfers: Arne Slot would be wise to make move for hot prospect Leny Yoro

Liverpool transfers: Arne Slot would be wise to make move for hot prospect Leny Yoro
Liverpool transfers: Arne Slot would be wise to make move for hot prospect Leny Yoro

The competition for Leny Yoro’s signature is set to be fierce this summer.

Europe’s biggest clubs are circling Lille’s 18-year-old prodigy, with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United all believed to be on high alert.

And Liverpool are reportedly the latest side to target Les Dogues’ £85million-rated centre-back.

As the race to acquire Yoro hots up, we assess whether a switch to Anfield could be on the cards — and what he would add to Arne Slot’s squad.

On the move

Yoro’s contract with Lille expires in June 2025, so the French club need to sell him now to extract maximum value.

LOSC manager Paulo Fonseca has even acknowledged that his defensive starlet will be on the move.

Speaking last month, he said: “I believe Leny in the next year will be at one of the best clubs in Europe. He started here at 16 with us. He is very ambitious, but very disciplined. He grew a lot but he is a kid with a big maturity, with big quality.

“He’s very focused, very concentrated, he wants to learn every day and I have no doubt in modern football he will be one of the best central defenders in the world.”

With the departure of Joel Matip — and Virgil van Dijk yet to sign a new deal beyond next season — Liverpool are likely to enter the market for a centre-back this summer.

That makes a move for Yoro eminently plausible, if the Reds are willing to meet his significant valuation.

Lille racked up 13 Ligue 1 clean sheets with Yoro on the pitch last term, reflecting his remarkable defensive composure for a player so young.

His positional sense and in-game intelligence are particular strengths, while he is a commanding presence in the air — winning a commendable 46 aerial duels and making 33 headed clearances across the campaign.

Although not necessarily a front-footed defender, Yoro nonetheless registered 26 interceptions and won possession 68 possession times in the defensive third.

The centre-back chooses his moments to become an active presence in Lille’s rearguard, rather than charging out to engage attackers high up the pitch.

Careful distribution

Yoro’s considered approach extends to his decision making with the ball at his feet.

He attempted (1,874) and completed (1,727) a high volume of passes in 2023/24, with an exceptional passing accuracy of 92.16% — inside Ligue 1’s top 10 performers for that metric.

That will undoubtedly appeal to Reds boss Slot, who likes his team to be able to retain possession and start building attacks from deeper areas.

But Yoro is not afraid to play progressive balls when the moment is right, having attempted (155) and completed (81) a solid number of long passes last term.

Crucially, there is plenty of room for development in the teenager’s game, so he can be moulded into exactly the profile of defender that the Reds require.

With so much potential and an impressive body of work for Lille, it would not be a surprise to see Liverpool move for Yoro in the coming weeks.