Liverpool Football Club Transfer Rumour Round-Up: June 21st 2018

Transfers do my absolutely head in sometimes. I’m more than aware of the irony of railing against people who are obsessed with them at the same time that I’m writing a piece rounding up all of the various rumours. Yet my problem isn’t with people who love to get excited by transfers, it’s with those that get obsessed with a player that they’d never heard of a week ago and then rail against the club when it looks as if we might not sign them. I’m also not overly keen on people who decide that a player is the best one in their position ever, regardless of how much they’ve actually watched them play.

As an example, someone tweeted me and told me that both Jan Oblak and Alisson Becker are ‘significantly better than what we’ve currently got’. Now I have no idea how much truth there is to that statement and it’s entirely possible that people who know La Liga and Serie A and the Premier League equally would tell me that he was right. However, when I asked him how many times he’d actually seen them both play, how many 90 minute performances he’d watched, the Tweeter just blocked me and disappeared. It’s that sort of thing that frustrates me, because people get obsessed with transfers to the point that they’re convinced the only way Liverpool will be successful is if we make as many of them as possible.

Loris Karius Starting Position

It really doesn’t matter to these people how good the incoming player is. The only things that matter are that were sign someone and that they cost a lot of money. Sticking with Loris Karius for a second, I remember when he struggled to settle at the start of his time at the club and some people said, “well we only paid £5 million for him, so what did we expect”. Now as far as I’m aware the goalkeeper had a buyout clause in his contract. Would his detractors have preferred that we pay three times that just so that he was worth more? I honestly believe that there would have been vast swathes of supporters more willing to give him time and being forgiving of his Champions League final errors if we had done. Forget what a player is worth, just spend load of money on them and make sure that they’ve got a foreign name.

I honestly believe that if we’d signed Jordan Henderson last summer for £50 million from Inter Milan and his name was Jorda Hendersonho the same people that consistently slag him off at the moment would be raving about him and declaring him to be Liverpool’s best signing in years. His passing would be referred to as ‘cultured’ and when he moves the ball from side to side to shift the opposition around and open up space he’d be praised for his patience. Instead we get absolute morons saying he ‘only passes sideways’ and criticising everything that he does. Proof, were it needed, that transfers are far more important than a player’s actual ability in the eyes of a lot of supporters. It’s a shame, but it’s the way it is.

The Runners And Riders Of The Rumour Mill

Having now attacked people who get obsessed with the arrival of players that they’ve never heard of before, let’s have a look at the players that we’ve never heard of before who might be arriving this summer….

The Ins?

Let’s be honest, the World Cup has slowed things down somewhat. Liverpool’s transfer team seemingly sorted out the signing of Fabinho in a matter of hours when you look at the manner in which the news broke and then the deal was done, with the Fekir signing also supposed to be tied up before the tournament began. Obviously that has now developed into a saga, but which other players are supposed to be signing on the dotted line soon?

Rhian Brewster

Rhian Brewster is arguably the most highly-rated youngster on Liverpool’s books since the days of Raheem Sterling and, before him, Michael Owen. Rumours swirled at the closing stages of last season that he was going to sign for a Bundesliga club and they got that strong that the Reds even cancelled a friendly with Borussia Monchengladbach over their attempts to sign him. It’s clear that Jürgen Klopp thinks a lot of him, as evidenced by the fact that the manager even gave him a shout out when he delivered a video message to Mohamed Salah when the Egyptian won the PFA Player of the Year award. It will come as a great relief to the manager, therefore, that it now looks as if he is going to pledge his long-term future to the club. Given that he was offered the chance to sign up when he turned seventeen and then again at eighteen, many at the club will have been fearing the worst when he didn’t take said chance.

Now the reason this deal isn’t yet in the ‘confirmed’ section of this piece is that Brewster hasn’t actually put pen to paper on a new deal. Instead it’s been announced by the press that he’s going to and the general feeling is that he will, but rumours emerged today that both Arsenal and Tottenham are hoping to steal in at the last moment and snatch his signature. The rumours on Merseyside are that he’s on a certain type of contract with the Reds that allows the club to extend his junior deal for another year, which the club is liable to do rather than lose him to a rival. Obviously it would be preferable for the player to sign a proper contract that will pay him a decent amount of money and if he does it then you can definitely see his path to the first-team under the manager. That might change other signings that we make in the attacking half of the pitch, though, so that’s worth bearing in mind moving forward.

Likelihood Rating: 9/10

Yann Sommer

Given what I’ve just said about Liverpool cancelling the friendly with Borussia Monchengladbach over their behaviour around Rhian Brewster, there’s a slight irony in us being linked with the singing of one of their players. Nevertheless, we definitely need to sign a goalkeeper and therefore the possible arrival of Yann Sommer from the German club would make some sort of sense. Now it’s entirely possible that newspapers are simply putting our name in the same piece as any goalkeeper that fancies negotiating a bit more money from his current club, so that may well be what the German paper Bild has decided to do with this piece.

It’s also possible that Liverpool have decided to start the rumour in order to see if they can persuade Roma to shift their stance on Alisson’s transfer fee, of course. Jürgen Klopp will doubtless still have plenty of contacts in his home country to whom he can leak whatsoever he likes. The goalkeeper is contracted until 2021 and is currently out in Russia as Switzerland’s World Cup shot-stopper, so it’s unlikely that any major deals are being struck regardless. Bild have suggested that the fee would be around €30 million for him, which would be a lot more respectable than the daft money that Roma appear to be trying to get. Given the meticulous manner with which Michael Edwards and co have approached previous transfers, I’m not convinced that they’ll just switch targets so easily.

Likelihood Rating: 1/10

Lucas Paqueta

I mentioned Nabil Fekir before and it’s fair to say that that transfer still has a few more twists and turns to take before it’s over. The French forward’s agent was asked recently why his player didn’t sign for Liverpool and simply said that the story isn’t complete yet. Nevertheless, the Reds have to be looking at alternatives in case Lyon refuse to renegotiate their asking price and the doctors recommend that we don’t sign him over the issue that caused the deal to fall apart in the first place. Enter Lucas Paqueta, the attacking midfielder who is yet to make the move to Europe and is currently playing for Flamengo in his native Brazil. The season is underway already in South America, with Paqueta having scored three times and notched up four assists in the fifteen games he’s played.

By Agencia de Noticias ANDES (ECUADOR-BRASIL SUB 20) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As with the links to Yann Sommer, it’s entirely possible that this has come from Liverpool in order to fire a warning shot across the bow of Lyon if they’re insisting that the Reds have to pay full whack for a player with a dodgy knee. Given the likelihood of Rhian Brewster signing a professional contract, the arrival of a twenty-year-old attacking player would almost certainly limit his potential appearances and I’m not convinced that that’s something that the manager would allow. Rumours are there’s a £43 million buyout clause in contract and that’s an awful lot of money to pay for a player that hasn’t played in Europe and proven he can handle the move away from home yet. Even so, CalcioInsider think it’s a possibility.

Likelihood Rating: 2/10

The Outs

I wrote about these players leaving the club last week, but now they’ve actually signed for someone else so it seems appropriate to give them one last mention.

Emre Can and Jon Flanagan

I’m not sure that Jon Flanagan thought in his wildest dreams that he’d be mentioned in the same sentence as Emre Can as often as he has been in my last two transfer rumour round-up pieces. It seems right to do it though, given that the club announced both of their departures in the same tweet. The manner in which they left has been markedly different, of course. Can came on in the Champions League final and the manager was apparently keen to sign his compatriot up to a new deal, whilst the former Liverpool Academy graduate left the club in disgrace after physically abusing his girlfriend. Never let it be said that such things end careers, however, with Steven Gerrard signing him Rangers for two years. Disappointed as I am in Gerrard, I can’t say I’m surprised.

As for Emre, I don’t think anyone who has been critical of the player over the years will be overly shocked that he took an age to officially sign for Juventus. The German always did enjoy taking far too long over his decision making, with the only major surprise being that he didn’t take fourteen touches of his pen when one would’ve done. He could be very, very good at his best, but he could also be ponderous on the ball when speed was of the essence. I personally think our midfield will be all the better for not having him as part of it and the rumoured £14 million sign-on fee that he’s been paid by the Italian club makes clear what his motivation is. Serie A will be much more suited to his pace, I think.

Conclusion

The World Cup rumbles on, transfer rumours remain few and far between. Might they pick up again now that players will be returning from their summer holidays if they haven’t gone to Russia? We’ll see.

Until next week…

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