That Was The Week That Was
In the week that (most of) the players returned to training; Sean O’Driscoll & Pepijn Lijnders were confirmed as being part of the new Liverpool backroom team; and a certain Liverpool player dominated the headlines for all of the wrong reasons, the Reds have been linked with a host of new players. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to trawl through the tabloids to figure out what’s going on – we’ve done it for you! Stick with us to find out who could yet be in a Liverpool shirt when the first ball is kicked in August.
The Rumours & News
It’s been another quiet week in the life of Raheem Sterling, the young lad who hates the limelight and has a calm, sensible representative. Honest. The week began with Sterling reportedly having a meeting with Brendan Rodgers in which he told him that he wanted the club to allow him to move to Man City and he didn’t intend to go on the club tour to Australia and the Far East. Apparently Rodgers said no, so on Wednesday Sterling called in sick.
No one goes sick for just one day, however, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone that he didn’t turn up for training on Thursday either, this time without even bothering to phone up. The whole thing has turned nasty, with Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward citing a difference of opinion with Brendan Rodgers being the chief reason Sterling doesn’t want to stay. That seems unlikely, though, and it’s more logical to think that Ward feels his client will be able to force Liverpool’s hand with his behaviour.
Chris Bascombe at The Telegraph is saying different, however. He reckons that Liverpool would rather stick Sterling in the reserves on his current wage of £35,000 a week than let him go to City for less than their valuation of the player. It’s a tricky moment for the club. Cave in to Aidy Ward’s demands and players will know that they can bully the club if they don’t like their situation. Stand strong and they could not only miss out on a fee of around £50 million for the player, but they’ll also have an unhappy youngster sat around on £35,000 a week. Expect City to play hardball on this one and allow it to run until the very end of the transfer window.
When news broke that Liverpool had released Colin Pascoe from their Assistant Manager and First Team Coach positions some thought that it was an attempt from FSG to make Rodgers’s position as manager untenable. The recent appointments of Sean O’Driscoll to Assistant Manager and Pepijn Lijnders to the newly created position of First Team Development Coach, apparently sanctioned by Rodgers, has put paid to that notion. It seems that the backroom reshuffle isn’t quite complete yet, though, and that Rodgers would also like to bring in an ex-player as the First Team Coach. He’s due to interview some more people, but Gary McAllister – who played for the Reds during their treble winning season under Gerard Houllier – is the bookie’s favourite to take the slot. He had a meeting with Rodgers earlier this week and could be brought in as early as next week.
It feels a little bit like we’re writing about Christian Benteke’s move to Liverpool every week, but it’s a rumour that won’t go away. According to The Express the big Belgian star sat down with Tim Sherwood this week and told him that he wants to move to the Merseyside club. He hasn’t handed a transfer request in yet and Villa are determined to stop him from leaving for less than his £32.5 million buyout clause. Will this one end any time soon? It feels a little bit like it’s entered the closing stages, but it could all rest on the Sterling situation being resolved first.
Should the Benteke deal look like it will never come to fruition for Liverpool they could instead turn to Ligue 1 sharpshooter Alexandre Lacazette. The French forward scored 27 goals in 33 outings last season and is apparently refusing to pen a new deal with his club Lyon. They won’t be overly worried by that, seeing as though he’s contracted to the club until 2018. But the talented 24 year old is ready to hand in a transfer request to force through a move to the Premier League, according to The Independent. His value of £28 million is still more than Liverpool are hoping to pay for Benteke, but less than they might have to pay if Villa play hardball.
The Metro reckon it’s a different Frenchman that Liverpool will be signing in the coming weeks, with Newcastle’s 18 year old midfielder Olivier Kemen high on Brendan Rodgers’s list of priorities. The Frenchman has failed to impress at St. James’s Park since arriving from Metz two years ago. He was only 16 at the time, mind, but that’s not stopped Rodgers from monitoring his situation. The Liverpool manager is well known for his ability to develop younger players, so if the club can sign him up for a small fee he could be one to watch in the future.
One of the slightly more off the wall calls comes from The Express this week, with the paper reporting that Liverpool have entered the race for the signature of Marco Reus. It had been thought that the Borussia Dortmund front man would be making his way to Barcelona this summer, but reports have emerged from Spain saying that he isn’t keen on being 4th choice behind Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi. That means the 26 year old could be heading to the Premier League this summer, with Arsenal, Manchester United and, apparently, Liverpool all keen. Whether that’s just because Liverpool are in the market for a forward and The Express have put 2 and 2 together to make 5 remains to be seen.
Alongside Benteke the name of Aymen Abdennour is another one that keeps getting linked with the Reds. Sticking with The Express, the paper reckon that the defender is weighing up offers from both Liverpool and West Ham. It’s an odd couple to be linked with the player, given that his agent also reckons his parent club, Monaco, have had contact from AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Juventus. How West Ham make it into that list no one is really all that sure. Still, who are we to argue with the reliability of The Express?
Given that the club have only got Jordan Henderson, Lucas, James Milner, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Joe Allen, Lazar Markovic and Jordan Ibe to choose from, it makes sense that they feel a little bit light in the midfield department. Perhaps that’s why Eurosport are reporting that Liverpool are trying to get Asier Illarramendi from Real Madrid. The Spanish international only made 10 starts in La Liga last season and has since been deemed surplus to requirements by the new Los Blancos manager Rafa Benitez. That means a £16 million move to Anfield could be on the cards for the 25 year old who Brendan Rodgers has apparently been tracking since his days at Real Sociedad. The move could be dependent on the Madrid club signing William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon, however, with the 23 year old being one of Benitez’s top targets.
Pedro & Cheryshev
The reality is that whether Manchester City come in for Raheem Sterling or he ends up sitting in the reserves next season, it’s difficult to see him making his way back in to the Liverpool first team given everything that’s taken place this summer. It makes sense, therefore, for the club to be looking at alternatives and everywhere you see the name of Barcelona’s Pedro the name Cheryshev is right alongside it. Head to The Liverpool Echo’s website, for instance, and you’ll see how they’re covering the story there. It seems that Barcelona’s winger Pedro will be available for around £15 million, a steal given how well he’s performed in La Liga in recent years.
Cheryshev is something of an unknown quantity, however. The 24 year old is on the books of Real Madrid, but he spent last season on loan at Villareal and that was the Russian’s first full season of top flight football. There’s no question that, given he’s been linked to LFC since he was a fetus, the signing of Pedro would do more to excite the Liverpool faithful than the arrival of an unknown Russian with little experience where it matters.
The website ClubCall claims it has been reporting on football news since 1986, and who are we to disagree? Just because we’ve never heard of them before doesn’t mean they’re any less reliable than the likes of The Metro or The Daily Star – and they’re really reliable. Therefore we don’t think there’ll be any salt needed with the report on ClubCall today that Liverpool are ready to meet Manchester City’s £16 million asking price for their forward Stevan Jovetic.
He’s a weird one for Liverpool to be chasing. The Montenegrin is 4th choice on City’s books behind Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Wilfriend Bony owing to his injury problems. The Reds are keen to bring someone in to cover for Daniel Sturridge, but could end up with two ex-Manchester City strikers sitting in the doctor’s surgery if the 25 year old comes in. On top of that, he only ever seems to score when he’s playing against Liverpool, so how would he do if he was up front for the Reds rather than against them? Regardless, Brendan Rodgers sees £16 million as good value for money and is ready to go head to with Inter Milan for the striker.