I don’t know, I go on holiday for a week or so and Liverpool end up signing a player in my absence. Thankfully I’d covered the Mohamed Salah rumours in my transfer piece the week before and rated it as a 10/10 likelihood of happening, but still. Can’t the club save their transfer business for when I’m around to write about it? I have to say I was absolutely delighted with the manner in which the club’s social media team decided to announce that we’d signed the Egyptian, wonderfully trolling all of the morons who spend their time tweeting John Henry, Linda Pizzuti and the LFC Twitter account telling them to ‘announce Salah’. Oftentimes these are grown adults, which makes me despair. Still, they’ve had their noses wiped a little bit there and that’s delightful.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 22, 2017
The thing that has infuriated me the most regarding the Salah deal is the complete lack of patience of some Liverpool supporters. I’ve long accepted that some of the people that love our club are, to be blunt, idiots, but even so I was surprised at just how impatient some people have been. Seeing the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea sign players has left some sections of our fanbase worried about the idea of us not getting anyone through the door, despite the fact that pre-season doesn’t begin until the 1st of July. They have been tweeting criticism of Fenway Sport Group, suggesting that the owners aren’t good enough because they’ve been negotiating a fee with Roma for Salah’s services. They wanted the club to just pay whatever the Italian’s were asking, which is moronic on so many levels.
For starters, if Liverpool had just paid whatever Roma wanted, what happens when the next player we want to sign has a ridiculous price tag slapped on him? Having not negotiated with Roma, doesn’t the new club just demand we pay whatever they ask? Plus, these supporters want us to sign everyone we’re linked with, but where’s the budget for paying wages coming from if we’ve just blown it all paying £5 million more than we needed to for one player? Aside from everything else, Liverpool had time on their side. If we’d have signed Salah a fortnight earlier than we actually did, all that would have happened is that he’d have spent two weeks longer knocking around the city with nothing to do. Again, pre-season is still a week away.The Anfield Wrap did a good piece on this last week, pointing out that we’d only signed five players prior to the date we signed Salah in the previous ten years. Supporters have adopted a ‘now, now, now’ attitude, but thankfully the club seems happy to ignore them. If, when the window shuts in August, we’ve only managed to sign Salah and Dominic Solanke then I’ll be the first to ask questions of Michael Edwards and the like. What I won’t do, though, is have a go at him, FSG or the club in general over something that hasn’t happened yet. Given we’re still well over a month away from the start of the 2017-2018 season, I’d suggest that there’s still plenty of time to get some deals done.
The Runners And Riders Of The Rumour Mill
Speaking of which, shall we have a look at the deals that might be taking place? We’ll start with the possible outgoings, looking at the players who are most likely to depart Anfield for pastures new this summer.
There’s no need for a question mark regarding this one, with the club confirming the sale of Andre Wisdom for £2 million, which could rise to £4 million over time. Wisdom was Joe Gomez before we signed the latter from Charlton; the young defender who was destined to become our future centre-back. Instead he spent most of his career on loan before finally slipping away into obscurity. Wisdom player 38 games for Derby County during the 2013-2014 season, so he knows what it’s like to play for the Rams and obviously enjoyed his time there. He’s now joined the pantheon of youth players who were destined to be our greatest ever, only to leave without anyone really noticing.
£100 Million Worth
I have written about most of the players who will be leaving Liverpool this summer in previous weeks, so I won’t bother doing an individual list here. Instead I’ll refer to the Liverpool Echo’s article stating that there are ten players likely to leave whose departure could see the club raise as much as £100 million in player sales. Apparently both Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge are valued at around £30 million, with the club keen to recoup the £20 million they spent on Lazar Markovic. Alberto Moreno will likely leave for around £15 million, whilst Kevin Stewart has a £10 million price tag on his head. Finally, Lucas Leiva will be allowed to leave for roughly £5 million.
Given that RB Leipzig want in the region of €80 million for Naby Keita, essentially swapping Sturridge, Sakho and Kevin Stewart for one of the best young midfielders in the world sounds like decent business to me. The problem is, will we actually be able to sell all of those players for the fees we want? I’m not sure Lucas goes to another Premier League club, for example, and I’m equally unsure that a team outside of England’s top division pays £5 million for him. Daniel Sturridge’s injury record means he’s a gamble and even in today’s crazy market £30 million is a lot to pay for a player who may only play 10-20 games a year. I’d be delighted if we did make that much and it was re-invested, but I’m not holding my breath.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
There’s only really been one name dominating the rumour mill for the last few days, but I’ve had a dig around and found some others just for your delectation. Doubtless I’ll have missed some, such is the extent to which players are linked with Liverpool on a daily basis.
Say what you like about the club only negotiating over one player at a time, but at least it keeps the weirdos occupied. Now that the Mohamed Salah deal is complete everyone has turned their attention to Naby Keita, with heads falling off all over the place. The official Twitter account tweeted a video about the best goal of the 2007-2008 season and the only replies I saw were people saying ‘sign Keita’. The Guinean was ‘not for sale’ according to reports last week, but now RB Leipzig have slapped a £70 million price tag on his head. Is that too much to pay for a 22-year-old? Absolutely. Will that stop people saying we should pay whatever the Bundesliga outfit want for his signature? Not a chance. Rumours are that he wants out and heads will continue to fall off until we either sign him or the transfer window shuts. What joy.
Likelihood Rating: 6/10
Nothing says ‘classy newspaper’ quite like the headline, “Gorgeous UFC star DROPS towel at weigh-in before making opponent POO herself”, so it’s fair to say we should take this story with a pinch of salt. Even so, the Daily Star’s reporting that Liverpool have been monitoring Max Meyer as the Schalke winger takes part in the Under-21s European Championship this summer. The youngster only has a year left on his contract and is reportedly available for less than £20 million. Personally I’m very much in favour of brining in as many pacy wide attacking players as possible, so it’s a ‘yes’ from me.
Likelihood Rating: 4/10
This is not the first time I’ve written about our links to Mbappe and it probably won’t be the last. The Monaco forward is almost certainly going to sign for Real Madrid this summer, with the Spanish giant’s President having met with his family recently. Even so, the Reds are reportedly keen to be part of the conversation, should it emerge that he would be happy to move to England instead of Spain. If £70 million is a silly price to pay for a 22-year-old then I can’t even begin to get my head around how ridiculous £130 million for an 18-year-old is. There’s no question he’s a brilliant player, but I simply don’t see the club making that sort of commitment on an unproven talent.
Likelihood Rating: 2/10
Virgil van Dijk
You didn’t really think this story was dead and buried, did you? It’s always been clear to me that Liverpool’s apology to Southampton was little more than a PR exercise, saying what needed to be said in order to keep them calm and to avoid the possibility of a transfer ban. I still firmly believe that we’ll end up signing the Dutchman, even if we have to pay over the odds to do so because of our earlier misdemeanour. Chelsea have been keen on bringing him in but are wary about the fact he wants to play for us, which will likely limit approaches from other teams too. We want him, he wants to play for us and Southampton will be happy as long as they get the money. This deal will run and run all summer long.
Likelihood Rating: 8/10
Salah’s signing is the big news of the last few days, with the club still tweeting about it. Even former Red Craig Bellamy’s given his opinion on our new number 11, so that is keeping the vultures happy for now. It won’t be long before Salah’s forgotten about, however, so don’t be surprised if Twitter is awash with ‘ANNOUNCE KEITA’ tweets before too long. Whether anyone at the club is listening or not is a different matter entirely.
Until next week…