Liverpool continue to be linked with a move for Villarreal winger Yéremy Pino. The young Spaniard has grown in stature at the Spanish coastal outfit and is attracting the attention of some big names, both domestically and abroad.
Last season, Pino played 40 games for The Yellow Submarines in all competitions, scoring seven goals and providing four assists. Yet of those 40, only 27 came from the start.
Still only 19, Pino made his debut for the Spanish national side last October and has won four caps already.
Capable of playing on both wings, but more at home on the right, Pino’s versatility would be a useful tool for Jürgen Klopp in case of injuries to Luis Díaz or Mohamed Salah.
Pino is said to be inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo’s now-famous work ethic, with Pino recently commenting on how the Portuguese legend is held up as a role model for all young players.
“[Ronaldo] won me over with his mentality and sacrifice. A player who might not be a pure talent, but who, based on work, perseverance and effort, gets to where he wants to,” Pino told Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness).
“And then he comes from Madeira, an island like Gran Canaria. And looking at him, I also recognised myself in emigration, suffering, difficulties. For me, he was a point of reference for everything. Today, the thing that strikes me most about him is his intact ambition: he is 37 and continues to fight and work harder than anyone to keep winning.
“An example, I know that there are people who say that he affects the way a team plays. I reply that he is still one of the few able to carry that team on his shoulders and win a game alone.”
Given his versatility to play on either wing, Pino would make for a smart addition to the Liverpool squad. Moreover, given his very young age (19), he has essentially his whole career still in front of him, barring serious injury of course.
According to Spanish outlet AS, Liverpool and Arsenal are ready to make an offer to Villarreal for Pino, believed to be somewhere in the region of €40-50m (£34-42m).
Yet it remains to be seen whether he will sign for Liverpool this summer, given the current situation in midfield. The club and Jürgen Klopp have been hesitant about dipping back into the transfer market this summer after getting business done very early in the window.
If they were going to sign a player, it’s likely going to be in the middle of the park due to the injuries to Thiago Alcântara, Naby Keïta and Curtis Jones. There is simply no need for Pino at this stage.
However, an agreement could be found with Villarreal to sign the player but keep him at El Madrigal for the season, and bring him to the club in a year’s time. Liverpool pulled a similar tactic with Keïta five years ago and it could be used again with Pino.
Given his admiration for Ronaldo, if Pino goes on to have half the career Ronaldo has had, then Liverpool could reap the benefits enormously.