Losing Emre Can would be a big blow to Liverpool if the midfielder was to join Juventus in the summer, insists Gary Neville.
Juventus have offered Germany international Can a five-year contract, according to Sky in Italy, and Sky Sports reports the 23-year-old has reached an agreement in principle to join the Italian champions in the summer following talks earlier this month.
Can is out of contract this summer and is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club, having entered the final six months of his current deal.
Neville, speaking after Can put in a fine showing in Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Manchester City on Sunday, believes the loss would be more detrimental than many would think.
He said: “The news about Can leaving, for me, I think he’s a fantastic player, with personality and character. I think he brings a lot to this Liverpool team in terms of character.
“That three in midfield and the three up front were brilliant in the first half. They set the tone for how you could play against Man City if you’ve got that energy and ability to know how to press.
“It’s a big blow for Liverpool. It won’t make the headlines that (Philippe) Coutinho’s sale made. Juventus are a clever club, they sign intelligent players who are shrewd and know the game. I know there’s a mixed reception on Merseyside to Can in terms of how good he is, and I’ve even had debates with Jamie Carragher.
“He looks like he has authority on the pitch, and there aren’t many of those characters around in the game.”
Summer signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring for Liverpool at Anfield, and is beginning to impress following his move from Arsenal in the summer.
Neville says the England international has the tenacity required to earn plaudits on Merseyside, and praised his showing during Sunday’s dramatic win.
“I said that I thought Liverpool would either make or break him,” Neville said. “The doubters were there, within the Liverpool crowd, and I think he’s gone a long way on Sunday to proving he can be someone who adds great value to this side.
“He has the tenacity, not just the skill and the talent, but the fight, the spirit to play for Liverpool. They wouldn’t accept anything less here. Arsenal is slightly different under Arsene Wenger, the flowing football, the freedom to play is almost the most important thing.
“But at Liverpool you have to apply that with the other side of the game as well. He did really well in both halves, he was tenacious, and it was a good goal for him as well.”