Well it’s official, it’s that time of year again. The football season has come to an end and silly season has kicked off. With no proper games to write about and even the likes of the Euros still a few weeks away, journalists need stories and nothing gets them clicks and shares like a transfer story.
I’m not innocent, obviously, given that this article is about that very topic. But my plan is to collate all of the information for you into one place every Friday, so you can sit back, relax and know that you’ll be able to come to andcouldheplay.com for all of your transfer story needs.
Looking On The Bright Side
How much you enjoy the summer transfer madness really depends on how seriously you take it all. If you believe every word written in the papers about every player Liverpool are linked with then you’ll probably have a mental breakdown before we even get to July.
If, on the other hand, you take it all with a pinch of salt and don’t believe the Reds are going to sign anybody until you see them leaning up against a wall inside Melwood, than it can actually be quite fun. You’ve got to understand and accept that transfer rumours and stories are all little more than a game. Some of them are the players themselves and their agents trying to drum up a move. Some are the clubs trying to move a player on or unsettle them. Others are genuine stories that could pan out.
As fans we often think that our clubs are well-oiled, sensibly run machines with executives that know what they’re doing every step of the way. That’s rarely, if ever, true. Instead it’s a lot of people blindly flailing around and trying to do their best in any given situation. Things can change in a moment, too. It’s entirely possible for a club to have a deal thrashed out with a player, everything be sorted and ready to go, only for a different team that the player likes more to make an offer at the last minute.
Rather than seeing every player as a genuine target for the club and getting stressed when we don’t sign them, it’s better to look at the patterns that are formed. Are we being linked with numerous centre-backs, for example? Probably a good sign that we’re after a centre-back. Are we getting linked with no strikers whatsoever? Maybe the manager feels he’s happy with our strike force. Here are the stories that have emerged this week:
The Done Deal
For me personally, this is the most important deal of the summer. Whatever else happens I’m happy that we’ve signed a new goalkeeper. Those associated with the club are suggesting he’s coming in as ‘competition’ for Simon Mignolet, but I just think they’re being polite. The former Mainz ‘keeper has arrived with the intention of booting the Belgian further than he can kick a football, and the Reds will be all the better for it.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 24, 2016
Mignolet isn’t a good enough goalkeeper for Liverpool in the long-term and so we needed to bring in someone who would be. The impossibly good-looking Karius was voted as the second best shot-stopper in Germany behind Manuel Neur last season, so that’s good enough for me. The next step is to move on John Achterberg and bring in a decent goalkeeping coach. Do that and I genuinely think we’ll see an entirely different defensive performance from the Reds next season.
The dream is over. The baby-faced German striker has apparently ruled out any potential move to Liverpool this summer as he promised to knuckle down and be in the best possible shape for life at Bayern Munich under Carlo Ancelotti next season. He will not be coming to Anfield. Or will he?
Earlier this year the player who made his name under Jürgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund was Liverpool’s top target and the noises coming out of the club were that we were very confident of getting him. It was felt that whether or not Liverpool won the Europa League and therefore got Champions League football would be irrelevant as the player was keen to be reunited with his mentor.
Then this week comments emerged in the German newspaper Bild that suggested he would be staying at Bayern. Then, just yesterday, Bayern’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said in no uncertain terms that that club doesn’t want him. So what is the truth of the situation?
Remember earlier when we said transfers are all a game? Here’s the perfect example. The player has separated from his long-term agent, an agent that Bayern Munich really didn’t like. So is he trying to impress the powers that be at his current club? Or is he playing games with them, trying to ensure he gets a higher pay-off when he eventually does leave?
There’s no way to know, of course. It’s also entirely possible that he’s done this as a delaying tactic, hoping to put in a brilliant performance for Germany at the Euros this summer and drum up some more interest so it isn’t just Liverpool or Dortmund that he’s choosing from as his new destination. It’s also possible that he’s sending a message to Germany boss Joachim Löw that he’s settled and in the right frame of mind for this summer’s tournament.
The truth is only the player and those closest to him knows what’s going on. The likelihood is, however, that this one is going to run and run and probably has one or two more twists and turns left in stall before it’s over. Don’t assume that just because the player has said he’s looking forward to starting next season as a Bayern player that he’ll actually start next season as a Bayern player.
Having sorted out the goalkeeper problem it appears that Klopp is now looking to bolster a midfield that has been shorn of any decent pace for some time. With Henderson’s injury problems never far from flaring up and James Milner’s legs containing more miles than a clapped out old Morris Minor, it makes sense for the Liverpool boss to aim for youth and vitality.
Back to the Bundesliga we go, then, and this time we’re hoping to pilfer the ranks of Borussia Monchengladbach. Mahmoud Dahoud is a Syrian born 22-year-old who can play across the middle but, more importantly, is the ideal sort of player for Klopp’s notorious pressing system. He’s full of energy and pace and has emerged as Klopp’s top midfield target.
His price tag would be around £20 million, so well within the confines of the sort of money Liverpool are able to spend. The major stumbling block, however, might come in Monchengladbach’s reluctance to sell. The Bundesliga outfit have already sold Havard Nordtveit to West Ham and Granit Xhaka to Arsenal, so another major player heading out of the door won’t do them any favours. Keep your eye on this one, though, as he could be a brilliant addition if we can get it tied up.
It wouldn’t be a summer if Liverpool weren’t linked with a Southampton player now would it? At some point someone inside the Anfield hierarchy might want to consider signing Saints’ scouts rather than their entire first XI in piecemeal fashion, but what do I know.
Jürgen Klopp is, by all accounts, a big fan of the Southampton attacking player and has been ever since his days at Red Bull Salzburg. Despite being dropped by Saints’ manager Ronald Koeman in January the Senegalese international still ended up as the club’s top scorer, having netted 15 times in all competitions.
The Reds are being seriously linked with him, with many suggesting that he’s who we’re looking at if we can’t get the Götze deal tied up. In truth, however, he’s a very different player from the German and is more like Jordan Ibe if the youngster had fulfilled his potential and grown up sufficiently.
With Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren now widely considered to be successes at Anfield after a rocky start it might not be the worst thing in the world to return to St. Mary’s one final time. For all that Liverpool fans might be unimpressed with the links, Chelsea and Man United are also rumoured to be chasing him. We’ll see.
If you were to ask Liverpool fans which positions needed strengthening at the end of the season then the majority would have replied with two answers: Goalkeeper and left-back. Well we’ve now got the most gorgeous goalkeeper in the world ready to play for us, so our attention needs to turn to brainless wonder who currently occupies the left side of our defence.
Alberto Moreno isn’t a bad person. He’s also a much better footballer than he’s given credit for, in the sense that he’s played for both Sevilla and Liverpool and they are not the sort of teams that get to play for merely by showing up with a pair of boots. He is, however, a massive divvy with little to no sense.
No wonder, then, that the Reds are being linked with every left-back under the sun. There’s only one that Jürgen Klopp really wants, though, and that is Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell.
Rumours are circulating that the Reds are poised to make a £4 million bid for the 19-year-old in the coming days and that the player himself has told the Premier League champions that Anfield is his favoured destination. Given that Joel Matip is already coming in and that Klopp was a huge fan of Joe Gomez before he got his ACL injury at the start of last season, it seems clear that we will have a very different looking defensive line-up from the start of the 2016-2017 campaign.
A new look defence will be no bad thing when you consider that we conceded fifty goals last season. That’s the same amount as in 2013-2014 when everyone was quick to lambast our absolutely horrendous defence, so it’s no wonder that Klopp wants to mix things up a bit. Will Chilwell be able to hit the ground running if we do indeed bring him in? Will anyone? Transfers are a game, but they’re also a great big gamble.
Until next week…