Are Liverpool heads going all over the place? Are our supporters up in arms about Everton’s transfer dealings this summer? Are we all terrified that the Blues are going to finish above us come the end of the 2017-2018 season? That’s what a lot of their supporters seem to be thinking, including gob for hire Mike Parry; he of TalkSport fame who is such a proud Scouser he was born in Chester and he’s had his photo taken reading the S*n for money.
I don’t agree. I think Everton will easily finish above Liverpool .. by 3 .. Everton can challenge for the Prem Lge title .. can win it .. https://t.co/fAfMgjgYZO
— Mike Parry (@mikeparry8) July 15, 2017
According to Parry the Blues are ‘easily’ going to finish above Liverpool before challenging – and possibly even winning – the title. There’s a definitely feeling of confidence amongst a large section of Everton fans and I’m really interested to know where on earth this has come from. After all, we are yet to sell a player who had any sort of meaningful impact on our season last year but we have bought Mohamed Salah. Everton, on the other hand, have sold their central striker. Lukaku, lest we forget, scored more than 20 goals for our neighbours last time out. The next closest player was Ross Barkley who scored five.
The Blues, then, have sold a player who scored virtually all of their goal and have brought in Wayne Rooney; a player who even the most biased of football lovers would have to admit is about three years past his best. Gylfi Sigurdsson, who’ve they’re being heavily linked with, will add more goals than the fat lad who left to join Man United. Even if we don’t sign anyone else for the rest of the summer we’ll still have a better squad and starting eleven than our rivals, so it’s an over-confidence I just can’t get my head around. Many things can happen during a season, of course, but I’m not sure how the seventh best team in the country overtakes the fourth best whilst losing their strongest player and watching the other team strengthen more significantly.
— And Could He Play (@andcouldheplay7) July 14, 2017
That’s if we don’t even make any further moves in the market, which is something I’m confident isn’t going to be the case. Jürgen Klopp knows where we need to strengthen and, according to his post-match interview in the wake of our draw with Wigan, is very relaxed about our transfer work. Plenty of good stuff is going on behind the scenes and I for one am delighted with the lack of information coming out of the club. I know for a fact that journalists have found all of their usual sources to be immovable when it comes to releasing snippets of info this summer. With that in mind, then, what do we know?
The Runners And Riders Of The Rumour Mill
I said last week that I thought we’d see some movement in the market by the time this week’s article came around and, for once, I was right. There’s a significant outgoing on the cards and some incomings looking more and more imminent.
There has long been a rumour that a Brazilian midfielder could be on his way out of the club and it looks as though that move is finally coming to fruition…
Those that love and admire our long-serving Brazilian would say that he has done brilliantly to constantly re-invent himself enough to ensure he’s still at Anfield ten years after arriving, despite never winning over some members of the fan base. That section of supporters that have never taken to him would say he’s been like a cockroach, surviving links to moves abroad year after year and slowing our midfield down since 2007. Whichever camp you find yourself in, there can be no doubt that Lucas deserves huge respect for what he’s done over the last decade.
He is absolutely an honorary Scouser, raising two kids in the city and really allowing himself to be part of the community he lives in. He’s suffered a fair few injuries over the years and they’ve seen him slow down to the point that he’s something of a liability in the middle of the park, but he’s also been imperious when he’s been used as a fifth choice centre-back. It’s a shame that there wasn’t room for him in the back room staff, but it’s also fair for the player to want to keep going for that little bit longer. Serie A is played at a speed that will suit Lucas’s game, so it absolutely makes sense for him to be linked with a move to Lazio in the coming days.
Lucas was left out of the Liverpool squad that flew to Hong Kong on Sunday, reportedly because he was already over in Italy finalising his deal. I personally wish him all the best. I was unsure of him when he first arrived but I believe that at his best he was one of the most intelligent defensive midfielders in the world and I was blown away by how well he changed his game to play as a defender. It’s the right time for him to go, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be missed both by supporters and members of the Liverpool team. I have a sneaky feeling it won’t be the last time we see him on Merseyside.
Likelihood Rating: 10/10
Most Liverpool supporters aren’t in the least bit worried about Everton’s transfer dealings, but they are keen to see the Reds make some moves in the market in time for the new lads to join up with Jürgen Klopp and his back room staff in Germany. It’s unlikely that much will be done in Hong Kong when it comes to training, but there’ll be plenty of opportunity once they’re based back in Europe. So what are the ‘Ins’ that we need to have a look at?
Only last week I wrote about Emre Can and the fact that he had yet to sign a new contract. Was that something we should start to be concerned about? It was certainly true that those responsible for writing rumours about transfers believed it was an issue, linking him with a move away from Anfield. The rumours were only likely to grow stronger the later in the window it got without him signing a new contract, especially as he’s entering into his final year and will therefore be able to leave for free next year if we don’t get something sorted. He was out of form last season when he was carrying an Injury, but he was inspired in the final third of the campaign.
One week on from my reports of a possibly move to Juventus and it seems as though there has been a decent amount of movement between the club and Can’s agent. I don’t think it’s ever been in doubt that Klopp rates his fellow countryman, with the stall in contract negotiations likely to be more about his playing time than money or anything of that ilk. The German has been given a longer summer break than most because of his participation in the Confederations Cup, which he won with his national side. Now it looks as though he’ll sign a new contract when he returns to the club soon.
Likelihood Rating: 9/10
What’s that you’re saying? The Naby Keita rumour couldn’t possibly still be going on? Lolz. Have you never followed a Liverpool Football Club transfer saga before? This one might just run all the way up to the last day of the window, to be honest. Nevertheless, there have been some more twists and turns during the past few days that I though it only right for me to mention. Last week it seemed as though all hope of a deal was dead after RB Leipzig’s sporting director, Ralf Rangnick, said he was not for sale at any price.
It looks as though that’s not an opinion shared by everyone in the club, however, and there’s been a shift in thinking at the management level that might well see Keita become a Liverpool player before too long. Having already had a bid of £57 million rejected, the Reds seem ready to return with a bigger offer for the Guinean. Certainly all the indicators are that the player wants to join us so, despite some late interest from Inter Milan, it’s difficult to see him ending anywhere other than Anfield by the end of the summer. Having written about him every week for about a month, might I be able to report on a confirmation of his signature in seven days time?
Likelihood Rating: 8/10
At the start of the summer is looked as though Jürgen Klopp was ready to go hot and heavy in order to bring Ryan Sessegnon in from Fulham. Liverpool fans predictably lost their heads when it appeared as though the seventeen-year-old was heading to White Hart Lane, only for him to sign a professional contract at Craven Cottage and both Premier League sides missed out on him. It was a shame, given that I believe the left-back has the ability to go on and hit Gareth Bale levels in his future career. It’s entirely possible that we may well still sign him, of course, but it would have been nice to get him before he costs an absolute fortune.
Anyway, we missed out on him and so we’ve turned our attention to Hull’s Andy Robertson. The snobby section of our support base believe that Robertson isn’t good enough, seemingly based on nothing more than the fact that he’s Scottish and currently plays for Hull. Predictably enough, though, it’s rarely people who have actually seen him play that aren’t impressed with his imminent arrival. Those that followed Hull last season believe he’ll be a brilliant addition, even if he is still a little raw around the edges. Like it or not James Milner will remain our first-choice left-back, so a 23-year-old with loads of room for improvement and an £8 million price tag will do me just fine.
Likelihood Rating: 10/10
No new names on the list this week, but to be totally honest that doesn’t surprise me. It certainly seems as though Jürgen Klopp has his first-choice names and isn’t keen on taking second-choice replacements just for the hell of it. One of the names constantly touted is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has entered the final year of his contract with Arsenal. Yet it appears as though Arsenal Wenger is confident the midfielder will still be a Gunner at the end of the transfer window, despite confirming that he won’t sign a new contract.
If I’m honest, I’m not sure how much Oxlade-Chamberlain strengthens us, though he’d certainly be a welcome addition to a squad that will be tested to its limits next season. I’m also confident that if the manager wants him then he’ll be able to get some decent performances out of him, so I’m all aboard the notion of signing him and seeing what happens. Is Wenger’s confidence misplaced? This is definitely one that I think will drag on for quite a while, with Arsenal probably willing to play brinkmanship with both us and the player to see if either cracks. One thing’s for sure, he’s not being linked with anyone else just yet.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
When you write a weekly column summing up our transfer links things can become a little boring and samey if the club isn’t linked with any new names. Yet there’s no doubt that if we tie up deals for Naby Keita, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then our squad, including Mohamed Salah who we’ve already wrapped up, will be significantly stronger. Can we do it? We’ll see soon enough, I think…
Until next week…