From the final day of the 2016/17 season to the opening game of 2017/18, football fans embroil themselves in transfer talk and ITK rumours, however unlikely they may be.

Current players with ongoing contract negotiations can therefore be pushed to one-side with Liverpool’s Emre Can being a poignant example.

The German played a crucial role in seeing Jurgen Klopp’s side over the line and back into the Champions League last season, emphasising the club’s need to tie him down to a new deal.

That was only confounded by Juventus poking their nose in with the midfielder’s future up in the air.

Thus, recent news of Can verbally agreeing to put pen to paper on a new contract at Liverpool will have come as a huge relief to the club’s fans.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Tuesday, May 9, 2017: Liverpool’s Emre Can wins the Goal of the Season 2017 Award sponsored by Speed Medical at the Liverpool FC Players’ Awards 2017 at Anfield. (Pic by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC/Pool/Propaganda)

It was a pretty anomalous season for the German who initially struggled to hit his stride due to an ongoing calf injury. His physicality, while usually an asset to Klopp’s midfield, instead acted as a hindrance to the fluidity of the front three.

With a poor first touch and a lack of his usual guile on the ball, the plentiful supply of criticism the 23-year-old earned was certainly understandable.

READ MORE: Marcotti – RB Leipzig will sell Naby Keita to Liverpool if they pay a certain amount

Starting against Hull City at the KCOM, the 23-year-old struggled to get his team going in the middle of the park. He dwindled on the ball, giving time for the home side to kill the space, making it impossible for Liverpool to play their natural game.

In contrast, the last few months of the season saw the best from Emre. With Henderson suffering an untimely injury, the midfielder took up the reigns to propel Liverpool into the top-four. Goals against Burnley and Watford were the icing on the cake, with the latter earning the Premier League and Club Goal of the Season awards.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – Monday, May 1, 2017: Liverpool’s Emre Can scores the first goal against Watford with an overhead scissor kick during the FA Premier League match at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was a fitting culmination of his form, snapping into tackles to add a steeliness to the midfield. Take the opening game of the season for example, when Can’s dominance and aggression set the tone for those around him.

The reverse fixture was equally impressive, showing snide off the ball to stunt Arsenal’s momentum and keep his team in control – a trait we haven’t seen since the days of Carragher, Mascherano and Gerrard.

Liverpool are on the path to something special under Klopp and should be looking to build on their solid base, rather than strip away one of their most exciting prospects.

The club have returned to the Champions League and are set to embark on a much busier fixture list with eyes on some silverware.

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Given Can was brought in for under £9million and remains at a young age with his best years ahead of him, tying him down to a new long-term deal makes perfect sense. Players of his quality shouldn’t be allowed to walk out the door at any cost.

It’ll be interesting to see just how he continues to evolve under Klopp during the upcoming season along with where he could fit in.

Naby Keita looks destined to join the club’s midfield ranks, leaving two spaces available alongside him. One of those will go to Philippe Coutinho who dropped into a deeper No.8 role at the end of last season, with Klopp making it known that’s where he sees the Brazilian long term.

That leaves Jordan Henderson and Emre Can to fight it out for the remaining midfield spot, but given the captain’s continued injury struggles the German could enjoy a lot of game time.

An extraordinarily gifted and well-rounded midfielder, Can has all the tools to develop into a top class player. He can be too ponderous in possession but the scale of his impact during Henderson’s absence earmark what is to come from the German.

What better place to unlock such potential than under Jurgen Klopp?


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