This blog is not a place for political comment. It is about football and, more specifically, Liverpool Football Club. That being said, it is impossible today not to acknowledge the result of yesterday’s European referendum. The future is now, sadly, a bleak and uncertain place that seems a little bit darker and a little bit more isolated than it did 24 hours ago. It is crucial in the coming days, weeks and months that we do not, as a nation, allow fear and hatred to win out against love and the innate desire we have to help each other.
It’s also impossible to ignore the fact that this result could have a very real impact on Liverpool FC’s future. The freedom of movement of people guaranteed through membership of the EU means that EU nationals have been able to play in the UK without a work permit; something that is not the case for non-EU nationals who need to be granted a work permit.
The current work permit rules mean that players must have played a given percentage of matches for their country in order to be granted said permit. On that basis, Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho would all have failed to get their work permit and would not have been able to play any games for Liverpool.
Another thing to bear in mind is the value of the pound. It absolutely plummeted over night as a victory for Leave became clear, hitting lows not seen since the 1980s. That means that, if it continues to devalue, Liverpool could end up spending roughly £10 million more on a player bought from Europe not because the selling club has put the price up, but simply because the exchange rate is so dreadful.
On the flip side, of course, the pound is now weaker against the dollar, meaning that FSG have theoretically got more bang for their buck.
This blog is not political and, of course, the ramifications of a vote to leave are significantly worse for other parts of society than football supporters. But as someone far more intelligent than I once said, “Football is the least important of the most important things in life”.
We all sort of knew when Jürgen Klopp didn’t pick him for important games and at crucial moments that Joe Allen was almost certainly on his way out of Anfield, but it is now looking more likely than ever. The Welshman was excellent for Liverpool at times last season, but he is a little bit too weak and lightweight for the Premier League in a team that already has relative lightweights in the form of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino as first choices.
The signing of Marko Grujic earlier in the year certainly seemed to signal the death knell for Allen’s Liverpool career. Grujic is unlikely to come in as a first choice midfielder but will, instead, fine himself on the bench for plenty of the season, getting introduced late in matches as he acclimatises to the English game. There won’t be enough room for both him and the Welshman so it looks like it’s tatty-bye to Mr. Allen.
According to the Liverpool Echo Swansea have already made an approach for their former player, with an £8 million bid swiftly rejected by the Reds. They have yet to return with a higher offer but Liverpool expect more clubs to come in for him. It is hoped that, thanks to his strong performances for Wales in the European Championships, the Reds will be able to recoup most of the £15 million we spent on him back in 2012. Whatever happens it seems extremely unlikely that he’ll line-up at Anfield for us next season, and that will be a real shame.
There seem to be significantly less rumours flying around about Liverpool and transfer targets over the last week. Perhaps it’s because Jürgen Klopp has gone off on a family holiday, or it might be that deals are pretty much tied up already with the players ready to sign on the dotted line when they return from their international duties in the Euros. Whatever the reason the simple truth is that most of the newspaper reports have been concerning players we already know about rather than new names not linked before.
The action seems to have really heated up for the Southampton man over the last day or so. Many places are now reporting that a deal in the region of £30 million will be signed off on in the next week or so. It’s interesting that this seems to be being met with such apathy and scepticism from Liverpool fans. The general complaint seems to be that he plays for Southampton, rather than he’s not a good player.
That is as flawed as virtually all of the arguments for Brexit, with the players we have signed from Saints now having come good pretty much to a man. Dejan Lovren might not be the long-term solution to our defensive issues, but it’s remarkable how much he’s been able to turn his career around when he looked as though he’d be chased out of town only twelve months ago.
— Football Transfer (@TransferTrends) June 24, 2016
Similarly Adam Lallana underwhelmed during his first season at Anfield, but he’s looked a significantly better player since Jürgen Klopp’s arrival. He has also been England’s best player during their group matches in the Euros so far. He might not have much end product, but he never has had so that seems a strange thing to criticise him for.
Nathaniel Clyne, meanwhile, has been Mr. Reliable all season and was probably one of our most underrated players in the campaign; not something to be sniffed at when everyone is wanting Alberto Moreno strung up by his laces for being anything but reliable. Ricky Lambert, meanwhile, was always a gamble and at £4 million one that made sense at the time.
Mané offers pace, power and end product. Something that Liverpool have been lacking far too often in the days since Luis Suarez left the club. In the insane world of transfers with the new television money, is the rumoured £25 million pls £5 million add-ons really that excessive for a player who can offer so much? He’s also in the middle of his contract, so there’s not much wiggle room there either. His representatives have made clear that he wants to come to Anfield, though, so Jürgen Klopp might not be too far from having his first statement signing under his belt.
Liverpool had reportedly set their sights on Leicester City youngster Ben Chilwell as the ideal person to come into the squad as competition for the left-back spot. The 19-year-old was meant to be Klopp’s first choice, so the Reds went in big for him despite his youth. It’s believed that the German manager’s best friend David Wagner, who managed Chilwell during a loan spell at Chesterfield, recommended him as a future star so Liverpool offered £7 million for him.
In spite of the fact that the England Under-21 international has yet to appear in the Premier League, however, Leicester are holding out for closer to £10 million, meaning that Liverpool are considering turning their attention elsewhere. You have to feel for the player a little bit in all of this, given that he’s already made clear that he wants to leave the defending Premier League champions in order to come to Anfield.
With the Reds having cooled any slight interest they had in Jonas Hector, the German left-back, it appears as though Hull’s Andy Robertson is next on the list of potential full-backs that Klopp is considering turning his attention to. What’s interesting about this particular transfer rumour is that Hull are not keen to let Robertson go for less than £12 million. So Liverpool may end up paying £2 million more for their second choice than they would have to for their top target. That alone suggests that this is a game of chicken that the Reds are playing with the Foxes, seeing who will blink first.
In one of the least believable transfer rumours of the week, it appears that Liverpool are keen to sign former Manchester United winger Nani from Fenerbahce, according to stories emanating from Turkey. Nani was, to be blunt, a bit rubbish at Manchester United, so it seems highly unlikely that Liverpool’s scouts have harboured secret dreams of signing him on the sly.
Yet the 29-year-old scored twelve and got thirteen assists during his first season in Turkey, meaning that a whole host of clubs are apparently considering triggering his £6.5 million release clause. Everton and Inter Milan are amongst those teams, with some even suggesting that the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ himself, José Mourinho, might try to take him back to Old Trafford.
— FootyBadger24 (@FootyBadger24) June 24, 2016
Nani is out in France with Portugal at the moment and, according to reports, has let it be known that he favours a return to the Premier League over any other options. I’m not convinced that this one has got any legs whatsoever and I dread to think what the reaction on Twitter will be like if we do sign him. Then again the EU referendum result has made me feel like the world is falling in on itself, so what does it matter anyway?
It’s always fun when newspapers report that Liverpool are looking to ‘renew’ their interest in a player I’ve never heard of, but that’s what’s happened in the case of Rachid Ghezzal. The Lyon winger was, according to L’equipe, a target for the club back in January and now it looks like we’re back in for him.
The 24-year-old played 38 games for the French club last season, scoring ten and getting nine assists. Suggestions are that Liverpool want to bring him to Anfield, especially as the player has just a year left on his contract and has yet to agree an extension he’s been offered.
The Lyon chairman, Jean-Michel Aulas, made clear that if the player doesn’t sign the extension soon then he’ll be out on his ear. He said, “He left on vacation, he was to return late last week but extended his stay for a week. I asked to see [the contract extension]. He did not sign [it]. He will be in fact on the transfer list if we do not reach the agreement next week”.
Does that mean Liverpool are definitely going to be in for him? The other teams rumoured to be looking at chasing his signature are Middlesbrough, Celta Vigo and Villarreal, which aren’t exactly the best teams to be in the same market as, to be honest. That said, Klopp is all about taking unheard of talent or players that haven’t quite hit the big time and turning them into something special, so maybe it wouldn’t be the worst signing in history!
Until next week…