With the European transfer window set to open on Saturday, Liverpool are still looking for their own ‘spinning plates’ as they continue their efforts to reshuffle their squad.
The message has been consistent for a long time within the club about the business that needs to be done this summer. There will be a lot of moving parts and it will require a level of agility that the Reds haven’t always needed in recent years, especially for players like Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara, three of whom Jurgen Klopp has refused to let go. when. it has come to move the target.
While the pool of players capable of improving the squad between the years of 2018 and 2022 is shallow due to the success that has come during that time, last season’s shock underperformance has at least gone as deep this time around.
With the start on July 1, however, Liverpool are still looking at what they can achieve this summer as they prepare for a first season outside the Champions League since 2016/17. Some have argued that activity has been limited due to the European dates for the transfer window and while there is some merit, it has done nothing to delay Jude Bellingham’s blockbuster move to Real Madrid.
READ MORE: Why Arsenal could spend £209m on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber as Liverpool watch
READ MORE: Liverpool transfer target left on crutches as Reds suffer blow to plans
Bellingham, of course, was once the object of affection at the AXA Center. It seems like a long time ago since some supporters were thrown into a frenzy during the World Cup when the former Borussia Dortmund international was regularly cavorting with England team-mates Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson.
Liverpool privately believed at the time that Bellingham’s value was somewhere around the £80m mark only to see it inevitably sky-rocket due to his performances for the Three Lions in Qatar.
Once Gareth Southgate’s side were knocked out by France at the quarter-final stage, the new Real Madrid midfielder was being touted as a £130m man and in early April it was clear the Reds didn’t believe in spending what will be part of their migration. A single-player budget represents prudence at a time when more than one is needed to fix problems that crop up faster than whack-a-mole.
Bellingham eventually signed for the La Liga monoliths for a fee that could reach £115m and is likely to earn more than any Liverpool player not named Mohamed Salah.
Interest in Mason Mount is genuine but fees of around £60-65m are always likely to be a barrier for a player entering the final 12 months of his contract. The Chelsea midfielder remains at Stamford Bridge for now as Manchester United try to negotiate a lower price. The Mount saga has become increasingly messy, which is something Liverpool always try to avoid. Reports this afternoon suggest that a breakthrough has finally been struck, with United pulling out a £55m deal with another £5m in add-ons.
The deal for Alexis Mac Allister has been completed in double quick time with the Argentina international joining less than two weeks into the Premier League season. After triggering the World Cup winner’s £35m release clause, however, the completion of that particular deal marks the formal handover of duties from Julian Ward to current sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, who has officially started on a short-term contract at the beginning of June.
While there doesn’t appear to be any progress on the transfer front since Mac Allister signed a five-year contract, it’s also fair to say that Schmadtke only has a few weeks left on his contract and behind-the-scenes discussions are ongoing.
Liverpool have spoken to Dominik Szoboszlai’s representatives this week but it is unclear how productive they have been, at present. The existence of a £60m release clause and the speculation around its expiry date, believed to be June 30, were cited as a hindrance. Once those terms expire, RB Leipzig could theoretically name their price for the Hungary captain.
If £60m is deemed too much for a first-choice target, however, Liverpool will struggle to navigate their way back to the summit of the English game at a time when Saudi-backed Newcastle United are looking at similar values for themselves. transfer targets and Arsenal are spending upwards of £200m in an effort to build on their regained status as a Champions League club.
Interest in a quartet at the U21s Euros is real but little suggests any of Khephren Thuram, Manu Kone, Gabri Veiga or Ryan Gravenberch are approaching Anfield. Southampton’s Romeo Lavia was another subject of due diligence in the recruitment department.
Wolves’ Matheus Nunes, Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo were three others who were assessed earlier this year when two lists were informally drawn up should Liverpool finish in any of the Champions League spots or the Europa League.
Mac Allister’s level of experience, age and quality mark him as a unique case this summer. Rarely, if ever, are players like him available for a relatively modest price. The release clause was inserted into a new deal signed in October and it is to Liverpool’s credit that they have been able to muscle in at the front of the queue for the ex-Brighton star.
Such a transaction is the exception to the rule, however, so while that deal is evidence of a shrewd recruitment department, adding to the squad at the level required is difficult to achieve when shopping in the sub-£40m range. The market has changed significantly since 2018 when Liverpool last splurged.
Arsenal’s remarkable move for Declan Rice is proof enough of this. The Gunners will pay around £105m all-in for the West Ham United captain after ditching Manchester City. The England international will add a dynamic quality to the Emirates engine room next term but Liverpool will never be close to that particular transfer tussle at these kinds of prices. That’s more of a factual statement than it is a criticism.
Nicolo Barella has admirers at Liverpool, not least Klopp and assistant Pep Lijnders who gushed about the Inter midfielder in his book released last year. “On Friday night (before Inter’s Champions League game),” Lijnders wrote. “We watched Inter against Salernitana in the hotel and Barella was very good.
“Jurgen asked me why I was laughing; we were in the middle of a discussion but I was watching the game with one eye and I saw him play another incredible pass. ‘I’m so happy that he didn’t feature against us,’ Said ko. ‘Every attack starts with him, it’s scary.'”
With Newcastle closing in on a £60m deal for AC Milan’s Sandro Tonali, it is expected that their cross-city rivals will demand more for a player who was instrumental in helping the Nerazzurri to the Champions League final.
Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde has been another speculatively linked in recent weeks but the Spanish giants will certainly be annoyed to lose the combative Uruguayan, although they intend to pursue Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe to join the Bellingham.
Value in this current climate appears to be thin on the ground, which is something Liverpool and Schmadtke – who have been working on a whole new level this summer – seem to be finding out at home and abroad.
Inevitably, criticism for Fenway Sports Group and their strictly self-sufficient ownership model has been strong on social media. The Twitter comments section isn’t the right tool to test the temperature but it’s fair to show that a section of Liverpool’s fanbase is concerned about the silence that has swept the landscape in recent weeks.
Those at the club can point to their track record over the years and urge patience and confidence but with the start of pre-season barely a week away, the excitement can already be heard.
#Liverpool #transfer #state #play #target #list #grows #FSG #turmoil