Today is the day that the 2016 European Championships finally get underway in France. Will that stop people from throwing their toys out of the pram over Liverpool FC’s transfer policy? It seems unlikely, to be honest…
Even though the transfer window doesn’t open until the start of next month and we’ve already signed three players – two in crucial positions – it isn’t enough for some that we aren’t signing every player we’re linked with. Never mind that the links are often literally made up by websites and newspapers in order to generate clicks, we’ve been linked with players so why the hell aren’t we signing them?!
It’s also worth bearing in mind that pretty much everyone is on holiday. Liverpool played 673 games last season and that takes its toll not only on the players but also on the people who work at the club. Imagine being the bloke who is responsible for booking the travel and hotels for the players! Most importantly of all, Klopp needs a break and he’s the guy who has to put a seal of approval on all decisions.
So, really, it’s no surprise that things are slowing down a little bit. There’s no need to get stressed about any of it, especially in comparison to other teams. “United have signed Eric Bailly!” “City have signed Gundogan!” So what? We weren’t ever going to be going for either of those players; nor, if we’re honest, would we be in the mix for the sort of players that the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Barcelona are likely to be going for.
The truth is that Liverpool are, for the time being, swimming in a different pool to the bigger and more recently successful sharks. We have to box-clever, try to do things differently from the other teams and give ourselves the best possible chance of coming out of it all on top. We’ve already done one thing to give ourselves the best possible advantage: Signed Jürgen Klopp.
Most Liverpool fans were delighted when the German arrived in the dugout, so now it’s time to sit back and trust him to get things right. Will everything work every time? Probably not. But what we need is to trust him. He was a brilliant manager and Borussia Dortmund and he hasn’t lost that. If he thinks Ben Chilwell is the answer at left-back then do you really think some whiney kid on Twitter knows better than him?
Anyone, enough moralising. Here are the rumours and bits of transfer news worth talking about this week:
Kolo, Kolo Kolo, Kolo Kolo, Kolo Kolo Toure… What a character. What a guy. He was treated a bit like a figure of fun when he arrived at Anfield and it was easy to forget that he was part of the Arsenal team that went unbeaten for an entire season. It’s also easy to forget that he was one of the first people to say we could win the title just before we nearly did back in 2013-2014, having arrived in the summer.
Toure made 71 appearances for the Reds scoring just one, brilliant, goal. He was keen to stay, saying after the Europa League final, “Of course I want to stay. It’s a great club to play in, but the manager has his plan and any decision I will respect. He is a top manager and he knows what he is doing”.
There is a school of thought that he should have been kept on for his experience or offered a coaching contract, but the player himself wants to stay on the pitch for the minute and would likely have refused had he been offered. Last season felt like one in which he gave his all, putting his body on the line again and again when asked to step to the plate after the voluntary suspension of Mamadou Sakho.
We might have been able to get a few more games out of him but with no European football to swell the fixture list, Joel Matip arriving when the window officially opens and Joe Gomez likely to be a decent option moving forward, would that be fair on the player?
Regardless, Liverpool will confirm today that Toure is on his way out of the club when his contract runs out at the end of the month.It’s been a laugh, and I for one wish the Ivorian a very successful future.
I’ll be honest, I had to double check it wasn’t April the 1st when I read this story, but it appears that Liverpool’s midfielder is attracting the interest of not one but two of Spain’s biggest clubs. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly interested in taking the 20-year-old off our books.
The Reds have seen in the past what happens when a worldwide juggernaut like Barca or Real come calling, with Philippe Coutinho also likely to be the subject of interest from one of them before too long. Will Brannagan be tempted to leave Merseyside before he’s even had half a chance to establish himself in the Liverpool first team? Perhaps, but given Jürgen Klopp is determined to give young players a chance and we need to bolster our midfield it seems unlikely that we’d let him go without a fight.
The rumoured fee for the Salford born, two-footed wonderkid who apparently takes one of the best free-kicks at Melwood is around £5.5 million plus add-ons. Is that enough to warrant letting him go if he’s good enough for Los Blancos and the land of Messi and Suarez to consider buying him? We’ll see as the summer goes on, I suppose.
Let’s be honest, it’s virtually impossible not to get excited when your club is linked with a brilliant and exciting talent. The Higuain rumour appears to have come from nowhere in particular, especially with Liverpool letting it be known that Jürgen Klopp is quite happy with the four strikers he’s got on his books at the moment. But we can dream, can’t we?
How you feel about the Higuain rumour really depends on how you feel about transfers in general. If you’re scrolling through is Instagram and making notes about who he’s following and what he’s taking photos of then you probably need to open a window or go for a long walk.
If, on the other hand, you’re all about enjoying the dream then there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun thinking about it all. For example, the striker is rumoured to have a buy out clause of €94.7 million Euros and Liverpool are hoping for a ‘substantial discount’. Well I’m hoping for a substantial discount on a new Ferrari, but both seem about as unlikely as each other. I don’t do ‘likelihood ratings’ but if I did this one would be scoring very low indeed.
From a conversation with someone at #LFC yesterday, they have no interest whatsoever in Higuain. Not bluffing. Just an absolute non-starter
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) June 8, 2016
This whole rumour seemed to come from the fact that Klopp, a football manager, went to watch a football game. On his holiday he saw Argentina take on Chile and news soon swirled around the Twittersphere that he was there to see Higuain in action. The more eagle-eyed amongst the gossipmongers even noticed that he was ‘sat next to the player’s brother and agent’, though others noted it looked a lot like Klopp’s own son Mark. Rumours are fun as long as you don’t take them seriously.
This particularly link has been on the back-burner since as early as January, with the Reds constantly linked to the pacy winger. Given that Jordon Ibe has failed to kick on and is expected to be shifted out this summer, it’s no surprise that a fast wide-man is high up on Klopp’s list of priorities. But with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City also all keeping tracks of the Schalke 04 player is it likely that we’re even in the running?
The biggest problem that Liverpool have got is that sooner or later we need to make a statement signing. I’m not saying that we need to make major signings to succeed as I’ve got faith in Klopp’s ability to develop younger and less experienced players. What I’m talking about is that the club is continually being linked with numerous big-name players but never actually signing any of them. At some point or another that might well start to look bad for the club, if it hasn’t already.
One of the big reasons I am firmly behind the idea of signing Mario Götze is that it makes a statement. It says the player isn’t bothered about us not having European football and that he’s got faith in where the manager is taking us. It tells other players, big names or otherwise, that we’re doing something special.
Now the reliable local journalists ‘in the know’ are suggesting that there’s nothing to the Sané stories, which is fair enough. But with Götze apparently exploring his options, Dahoud looking like a mission impossible despite his youth and general inexperience and Higuain never likely to rock up at Anfield unless he’s lost on his way elsewhere, the Reds could really do with a ‘win’ in the transfer market.
Barcelona Double Swoop
As Liverpool look set be getting rid of Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel the one thing I’m not sure we do need is an ageing centre-back with injury problems. Yet we are now being linked for a ‘swoop’ on two Barcelona players, one of which is ex-Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen.
The Belgian signed for Barca in 2014 but has managed just 20 games in total since then because of recurring injury issues. The 30-year-old is apparently also being chased by West Ham but is on Klopp’s shopping list. Seems like absolute tosh to me, but what do I know?
The other player who we’re ‘swooping’ for, like some of footballing eagle, is Christian Tello. The 24-year-old winger hasn’t played for Barca for two years, so it’s understandable why they might want to get rid. He’s been at Porto and Fiorentina and the Italian club want to sign him permanently. The could have a ‘fight on their hands’, though, with Klopp also a fan of the Spaniard and keen to add to his forward line.
If you think of Liverpool’s transfer shopping list as being one with numerous different names on it then I suppose the presence of Tello makes sense. He’s a quick player who can play anywhere across the front line, so is exactly our sort of player. Perhaps if Götze doesn’t want to come and Zielinski gives up waiting then Tello could be our last resort.
Until next week…