Player: Alex Teixeira
Current Club: FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Position: Attacking Midfielder
When Jurgen Klopp took the Liverpool managerial position back in October, Reds supporters around the world cheered and celebrated. Although a lackluster start to the Premier League season haunted the club once again, the world class appointment seemed to immediately bring life back into this historic club for many reasons.
Firstly, Klopp is a winner. He tamed German giants Bayern Munich twice, winning the league in 2010-11 and 2011-12, claimed the DFL-Supercup twice, DFB-Pokal once, and was Champions League runner-up to Bayern Munich in 2013. The man understands how to achieve greatness. He also understands how to manage his players. Sure, he can be rash at times and express moments of outrage and mayhem towards individuals, but his team will run through a brick wall knowing he wants what’s best for them. Players want to play for Jurgen Klopp not just because he’s a great manager, but also because he cares about his players and brings out the very best in every single one of them.
This is even more evident today, as Liverpool have been strongly linked with Brazilian superstar Alex Teixeira. Teixeira, who is currently running rampant through the Ukrainian Premier League, just turned 26 years old two weeks ago and is just beginning to enter the prime of his career.
Teixeira began his career with Brazilian side Vasco De Gama at a very young age and quickly rose up through the club’s’ youth ranks. After making his senior debut at age 18, the Brazilian went on to tally 16 total goals over two seasons prior to moving to Eastern Europe to eventually ply his trade with fellow countrymen Douglas Costa, Willian, Fernandinho, and a few others. The Brazilian migration to the Ukrainian club has been truly remarkable over the past decade and Shakhtar immediately cemented themselves as a dynasty and a massive threat in European competition. Teixeira, without a doubt, played a massive role in the club’s recent success.
Since moving to Shakhtar, Teixeira has showcased a plethora of skills. His ability to control the ball in midfield is brilliant, his passing abilities is top class (over 90% completion rate this season), he possesses blistering pace and, most importantly, the Brazilian is a proven winner just like Klopp. Alex has amassed 12 champions medals in his 6 ½ seasons in Ukraine including five league titles, three league cups, three Ukrainian Super Cups, and a United League championship (tournament featuring two best teams from Ukraine and two best teams from Russia). With the rest of the Liverpool squad relatively inexperienced in winning trophies, Teixeira’s proven winning record will be more than welcomed at Anfield.
Along with all of these positive attributes, Teixeira has displayed the ever-so-important ability to consistently find the back of the net, scoring 83 goals in 180 total appearances since the start of 2011-12. In the 2015-16 campaign alone, Alex has netted 22 league goals in just 15 matches and tallied 26 goals in 25 matches throughout all competitions. Not only does he lead his league in goals this season with 22, the closest player to him is Yevhen Seleznyov of Dnipro with just eight. Not too bad for an attacking midfielder.
With the gaping hole left by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, the Reds have been searching for a goal scoring replacement but have come up empty. Teixeira could very well be that player.
Lastly, Liverpool’s new target is quite versatile in the midfield. Although he is primarily used as Shakhtar’s #10, Alex has the ability to drift into several different dangerous positions in the attack. According to @BrazilStats, a very knowledgeable account of Brazilian football, Teixeira, Firmino, and Coutinho could fit very well together. Although they are somewhat similar, all three players can be interchangeable and, with Teixeira possessing that Brazilian flash, the three attackers would provide an enjoyable sense of unpredictability.
Although Alex seems to be a perfect fit for Liverpool and Klopp, I have heard some people somewhat snicker at Teixeira’s talent, citing the weakness of the league he plays in. I understand being concerned in that capacity, but the idea that Teixeira’s stats are a product of a bad league are simply inaccurate.
Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Bayern’s Douglas Costa, and Chelsea’s Willian have all proven that they were always world class players and certainly not a product of a bad league. All three former Shakhtar stars are currently in the upper echelon of their respective leagues and dominating European competition, something Liverpool believes Teixeira will be doing shortly.
As Liverpool fans know all too well, a player of this magnitude has usually been monitored, scouted, and courted by several top teams. In the case of Alex Teixeira, this theory holds true. Just a few months back, Chelsea were reportedly interested in making a deal with the Brazilian come January. Although a deal seemed likely at one point, the London club could be turned off by Shakhtar’s reported price tag, causing the Blues to focus towards Alexandre Pato and possibly PSG hit-man Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Regardless of other club’s interest in Teixeira and Liverpool’s lack of Champions League football, Liverpool have quite the weapon in Jurgen Klopp. With Klopp’s track record of getting the best out of all of his players, winning trophies, and contending for European titles, what player wouldn’t want to make the move to Merseyside in the near future? Sure, Liverpool’s recent results on the pitch aren’t exactly envious, but Alex Teixeira would certainly be that first, massive stepping stone for Klopp to achieve Anfield greatness and bring winning ways back to the club.
Written By: Michael Pietrzak