At the end of last week I wrote a piece asking what needs to happen for this to be a successful summer. Is it just a matter of spending huge amounts of money, or is the quality of player we bring in the most important factor? Obviously every Liverpool fan will have their own opinion, though as far as I’m concerned the happiness or otherwise of the manager will be the deciding factor. Generally speaking I’m quite a chilled out supporter, happy to leave the club to it and see where we’re at at the end of the transfer window. Even some of the most calm and collected supporters are starting to get twitchy about our lack of action, however.
I have found it really interesting that, prior to Manchester United’s purchase of Romelu Lukaku over the weekend, none of the main teams had done much in the window up until this point. Yes, Manchester City went big quite early on, but even that stopped after only a couple of purchases. Arsenal’s move for Alexandre Lacazette was an interesting one and I think it’s going to make them very competitive next season, so long as they can keep hold of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil. Even that, though, isn’t a deal that is guaranteed to be a success. How will Lacazette cope with the move to the Premier League? Will Arsenal definitely get back into the top four just because of him? What happens if the Gunners do lose Sanchez or Özil?
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) July 4, 2017
It’s interesting that, despite the stresses of the Liverpool supporters and the general narrative that we were the only ones who were moving slowly in the market, no one had really done much of any interest prior to the weekend just gone. It’s equally as interesting that, having seen United complete the transfer of Lukaku and the offloading of Wayne Rooney, Chelsea also announced the signing of Antonio Rüdiger. It’s as if no one is quite sure how much players are worth and there’s a reluctance for anyone to make a move for fear of over-paying for players. I said last week that I thought we’d see some movement ahead of this week and, to an extent, I was correct. It just so happens that it wasn’t Liverpool making the moves.
Now that United and Chelsea have both been seen to get the ball rolling, I wonder whether we’ll see other clubs in the top six do the same. On the one hand, Chelsea won the title last season and Spurs finished second, so they’ve obviously got very strong sides. However, Chelsea’s side is getting older and neither team have much to play with outside of the first eleven that the managers trust, so we’re not the only club in need of strengthening in quite a big way. Most big money transfers tend not to go through until the end of the window, so are we in for another long and tedious summer? Some would say we’ve already endured one…
The Runners And Riders Of The Rumour Mill
We’re getting to the point now when our targets are pretty clear and few new names enter the mix. There are no major surprises on this week’s rumour mill, therefore.
Those lack of surprises are even more prevalent when you look at the ‘Outs’ that we’re rumoured to be considering:
I wrote about Philippe Coutinho’s possible transfer out of the club in last week’s Transfer Rumour Round-Up Piece and suggested that it was mostly a nonsense. It’s a story that won’t go away, however, which is no surprise when you consider that the Brazilian is one of our best players. According to Goal.com, Paris Saint-Germain maintain an interesting in signing the midfielder but haven’t made an official approach as of yet. They’re also likely to be rebuffed should they do so, with Coutinho admitting that he’s happy at Anfield and has no desire to leave. I expect the rumours to rumble on, but the player to remain in Red next season.
Remember last year, when we knew that Sadio Mané was heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations and loads of people said, “It’s ok, Sheyi Ojo can step in for him for the month!” Good times, hey? Unsurprisingly the youngster wasn’t the catch-all solution to our lack of Mané and now it looks as though he might be heading out of the club on loan this summer. Reports have emerged of both Middlesbrough and Newcastle showing an interest in the twenty-year-old’s signature and it seems as though Klopp is willing to let him go in order to rack up some more experience. Personally I think a year under the tutorage of Rafa Benitez is unlikely to be a bad thing, so I’m hopeful that he ends up at St. James’s Park and starts to develop into the player some people thought he already was.
Likelihood Rating: 6/10
No transfer rumour of recent times has been quite such a curious case as that of Emre Can. On the one hand the club seems intent on keeping him, yet on the other we’re also seemingly not doing much to get him to sign a new contract. His current one expires next summer and, despite his improved performances towards the end of last season, very little noise has emerged regarding him getting given better terms than he’s currently on.
That is perhaps why rumours of a departure from Anfield this summer have begun to emerge in recent times, with Juventus one of the clubs trying to steal him away. From what I understand, Jürgen Klopp is a big fan of his countryman and doesn’t want to let him leave, yet if we can’t tie him to a new contract then we risk losing him for nothing next year. An intriguing one.
If the ‘Out’ rumours are few and far between then that’s really as nothing when compared to the ‘Ins’. As I said before, we continue to be linked with pretty much the same group of players and the stories aren’t getting any more interesting…
Has much changed between last week and this when it comes to Naby Keita? Only in terms of the denials from RB Leipzig that he is for sale at any price. It’s getting to the point where their denials are painting a picture of the lady protesting too much, with the club’s sporting director Ralf Rangnik saying last week, “We will definitely not be letting any key players go. There’s nothing that will make us budge. It’s totally normal for clubs to be interested in our players, but that doesn’t affect our stance on the matter”.
Weirdly Gérard Houllier has become an important piece in the puzzle as we try to sign the Guinean. Our former manager was Red Bull’s Head of Global football for two years and is still something of an advisor to the organisation. It was Houllier who persuaded Red Bull Salzburg to sign Keita in the first place, so some at Liverpool are hoping that the Frenchman might be able to put in a good word for us and persuade Leipzig to let him go. I have a horrible feeling I’m going to be talking about this one for a good few weeks yet.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
Virgil van Dijk
Despite the club apologising to Southampton over their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk and a promise that we would withdraw our interest in signing him, I’ve always maintained that the Dutchman will be a Liverpool player come the start of next season. That feeling has been bolstered this week, amid claims that the central defender has told Southampton that he will only move to Anfield. He’s returned to training with Saints but is likely to now attempt to push through a move to Merseyside.
— John Pennant (@jhpennant1878) July 9, 2017
The reported admission from van Dijk that will only move to Liverpool came after rumours emerged that Everton had made a £65 million bid for him and Bluenoses all over Twitter announced that our heads had fallen off over it. Some believed that van Dijk’s signature, combined with the arrival of Wayne Rooney and Jordan Pickford, would be enough to propel them to the league title. The fact they’ve got more chance of signing Dick Van Dyke has apparently not occurred to any of them.
Likelihood Rating: 8/10
Ok, so this one is a bit of a cheat. Nevertheless, the club getting Trent Alexander-Arnold to pen a new deal should be seen as just as important as a brand new signing. The Liverpool local has said in the past that he won’t be satisfied until he’s club captain and many people believe there is something of the Steven Gerrard about him. The eighteen-year-old is a vital part of our squad already and will be a huge part of the club’s future moving forward. It might not please some fans in the same way that signing the likes of van Dijk or Keita would, but it may prove to be just as influential in the long-term.
Likelihood Rating: Done Deal
I genuinely did think that we’d have seen some big movement in the market from Liverpool over the past week or so, but it seems as if everything’s stalled a wee bit instead. Is that because this is the calm before the storm, or is it all down to deals being too hard to complete? We’ll see over the coming weeks, I suppose!
Until next week…