Liverpool Football Club Transfer Rumour Round-Up: July 1st 2016

And so, after more than a month of people complaining, moaning and generally throwing their toys out of the pram about Liverpool’s apparent lack of transfer activity, the transfer window itself is now officially open.

That’s right, you read that correctly. Today is the first day that clubs are actually officially allowed to sign players. Remember Joel Matip? The lad that signed seemingly months ago? His transfer is only allowed to be announced officially today.

The window is open for more than a month now and as of today, its first day, the Reds have signed a new goalkeeper, a central defender, a midfielder and a winger/forward. Only the midfielder is not arriving as a first team player and all of the other players are filling vitally important positions. Yet still it’s not good enough for some.

Well it’s good enough for me. Would I like Liverpool to bring in a couple more players before the window shuts? Absolutely. I think left-back is a priority and I think we could really do with another attacking player. But let’s not pretend we’re in a desperate state of affairs.

Jürgen Klopp’s arrival was heralded for many reasons but one of the main ones was that he’s famed for developing players. He doesn’t sign superstars, he makes them – so the adage goes. During last season the Reds barely had a week without at least two games. There were constant periods of recovery followed by yet another game. The German barely had time to catch his breath, let alone work with the lads on the training pitch.

In spite of that, though, we saw major improvements in a number of players. Dejan Lovren was a player reborn, for example. Emre Can grew and grew as the season went on and Divock Origi went from being a ‘no mark’ to a crucial part of the latter stages of our campaign. Daniel Sturridge was handled so perfectly that he remained injury free once he brought back into the fray and not even Roy Hodgson could break him.

Sadio Mané, who I’ll talk about in more detail shortly, may well be ‘streaky’ and ‘inconsistent’, but what better manager to develop his consistency than the one we’ve got in our dugout. Mourinho may love to turn to his older pros and Guardiola can drill his lads to play to his system, but Klopp develops young players and makes them a team. We’ve already made the most important signing for Liverpool’s future – the manager.

The Outs

The first of July always brings about the departure of a number of players thanks to the opening of the window and this year is no exception. Here are they key folks to be leaving Anfield:

Jerome Sinclair

Liverpool confirmed yesterday that Jerome Sinclair would be joining Watford on a permanent basis. The 19-year-old striker seemed to have a promising future when he was younger, getting game time under Brendan Rodgers and occasionally being used by Jürgen Klopp when he basically had no fit players.

The writing did seem to be on the wall for his Liverpool future, however, when he decided to sign with Aidy Ward. Ward was the agent who, notoriously, persuaded Raheem Sterling that his future lay not at Anfield but within the money-laden bosom of Manchester City. Liverpool’s hierarchy were not impressed with his behaviour during the transfer ‘saga’ last summer and Sinclair’s decision to sign with him persuaded many that his days at Anfield were numbered.

This may come back to bite me on the backside, of course, but the rumoured £4 million Liverpool are receiving from Watford seems like a great piece of business. As Sinclair is under 24 the Reds would have been owed a ‘development fee’ by the Hornets, but rather than wait to see how much that would be they decided to just buy him. Will he have a bright future? It won’t be with us, so I don’t really care.

Lawrence Vigouroux

Academy goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux joined the club from Spurs in 2014 but failed to make any appearances for the Reds. He spent last season on loan at Swindon Town and enjoyed it so much that he’s now moving there permanently.

With the club now boasting the dubious skills of Simon Mignolet, the devilish good-looks but untested ability of Loris Karius and the youthful talent of Danny Ward, it’s difficult to see how Vigouroux would get much game time moving forward, so the club’s confirmation of his departure makes sense for all parties. He joins the League One club with immediate effect.

The In

Sadio Mané

Transfers are a funny business. Fans constantly cry out for signings to be made to improve the first team, to add experience and to plug obvious gaps in the first team. Yet so often the excitement level over one player rather than another is dictated by things that have little or nothing to do with what they’re actually going to bring to the football club.

The arrival of Sadio Mané is a case in point. If the Reds had announced the signing of a 24-year-old from Barcelona who has played 162 games since 2012 and scored 70 goals, or a little over a goal every two games, the support base would be going crazy with excitement despite many fans not having watched him play a single game.

Equally if the Reds had done what they’ve spent the last few months saying they were going to and signed Mario Götze from Bayern Munich, there would be supporters waltzing around the Liverpool One with his name on the back of their shirts. This in spite of the fact that he’s managed 158 games during the same period of time and only notched up 52 goals.

Mané is an excellent prospect that has the ability to excel under Klopp’s management. The German himself has been monitoring his progress since 2102 and, by all accounts, wanted to sign him from Red Bull Salzburg before he made the move to Southampton. He is used to playing in a pressing style, knows how to score a goal and can play anywhere across the front line. So why are Liverpool fans so apathetic about his signature?

One of the chief reasons, of course, is that he has arrived from Southampton and Liverpool have spent a fair bit of money bringing in players from there recently. It’s slightly nonsensical, though. After all, Lovren, Clyne and Lallana have both shown themselves to be decent acquisitions after being given time to settle. Plus the Reds nearly bought him from Salzburg but Brendan Rodgers decided against it, so it’s not even as if we didn’t know anything about him.

I for one am very excited by his capture and can’t wait to see him playing week-in, week-out for the Reds. The club’s confirmation of his signature was music to my ears, as the saying goes, and I’m convinced he’s going to go on to be a top player for us. Others may complain about his fee and there’s no question that it’s excessive, but in a summer when Watford have turned down £25 million for Troy Deeney and £38 million for Odion Ighalo it’s hardly surprising that fees are climbing exponentially. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s not even your money.

The Rumours

With Piotr Zielinski’s future still up in the air and the Reds apparently maintaining their interest in Mahmoud Dahoud, a few of the transfer rumours this week fall into the ‘same old, same old’ bracket. I’m not going to look at them again until their photographed leaning up against a fence at Melwood or staring pensively at the wall, so instead here are some of the other links worth discussing:

Moussa Sissoko

Rumours about possible Liverpool interest in the French midfielder have been bubbling under the surface for some time, but it seems as though the heat is getting turned up and bubbles are getting ready to boil. The 26-year-old is quietly quite highly sought after, with Hamburg reported to have had a £10 million bid turned down by Newcastle.

Our old boss Rafa Benitez is keen to keep him at St. James’ Park if possible, but the player doesn’t seem overly happy with that prospect. Last month he Told Foot Mercato, “I have reached a level where playing in the Championship would be difficult for me… I need to continue to evolve”. That appears to have perked the interest of both Liverpool and Chelsea, with the player himself making eyes at Arsenal.

Whatever happens it appears unlikely that Sissoko will be lining up for the Magpies next season. Rafa will tell the club to hold out for £20 million for him and, with a bit of luck, will also talk to the Frenchman about his experience at Stamford Bridge. If he can steer him in one direction rather than another then we can only hope he’ll tell him to avoid the Gunners and the Blues and head to Merseyside.

Neven Subotic

I don’t know about you, but I’m wary of trusting the bookmakers after the result of the EU. They called it for Remain after the polls closed and look what’s happened since. The country’s been sliding slowly down the toilet.

Still, it’s thanks to the bookmakers that there’s something to say about the possibility of Liverpool signing Jürgen Klopp’s former defensive stalwart Neven Subotic who has confirmed that he will be leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer. Until a few days ago Sunderland were thought to be the front-runners for the Serbian’s signature, but now that’s all changed.

On Tuesday night a flurry of bets were placed with German bookmaker Bwin were placed on him heading to Anfield rather than the Stadium of Light. The 27-year-old’s odds of joining Liverpool went from 4/1 to 6/4. It’s not all that wild an idea, of course. The Reds aren’t exactly rock solid at the back and what better way to add a bit of solidity than to bring in a player who already knows Klopp’s way of working.

Glenn Woodage, who works for Bwin, explained why his odds had shorted, saying, “A former stalwart for Jürgen Klopp, our markets have taken a massive intake of bets on the Serbian defender joining his former manager, especially with Liverpool’s shaky defence needing patching up”.

Whether that defence is going to be quite as patchy with the imminent departure of Martin Skrtel combined with the arrival of a new goalkeeper and a new centre-back remains to be seen, but that hasn’t stopped the rumours from flying around. A large part of the question about Subotic’s likely future could revolve around the resolution of the Mamadou Sakho situation. The French defender is still waiting to hear whether he will be banned by UEFA over a failed drugs test. If he is then his ban combined with the departures of both Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure could leave Liverpool a little short at the back. Could Subotic be the solution?

Until next week…

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