Liverpool Football Club Transfer Rumour Round-Up: June 7th 2018

Anyone who has ever read any of my stuff will know that I’m generally in favour of FSG as owners. I don’t think they’re perfect, but I think they’re trying to go about things in the right way and there’s virtually no part of the club that isn’t better thanks to their stewardship. From the redevelopment of Anfield through to the decision to alter the Academy setup, to say nothing of the state of things on the pitch, I think it’s entirely fair to say that they’re in the positive column as far as their tenure goes. So I must admit that I’ve been a little bit surprised to see some people openly attacking them of late, particularly with relevance to our transfers.

Here’s a list of players that signed under FSG and are still at the club:

  • Divock Origi
  • James Milner
  • Georginio Wijnaldum
  • Ragnar Klavan
  • Joe Gomez
  • Sadio Mane
  • Jordan Henderson
  • Roberto Firmino
  • Nathaniel Clyne
  • Joel Matip
  • Simon Mignolet
  • Loris Karius
  • Marko Grujic
  • Alberto Moreno
  • Danny Ings
  • Dejan Lovren
  • Andy Robertson
  • Virgil van Dijk
  • Adam Lallana
  • Dominic Solanke
  • Mohamed Salah
  • Daniel Sturridge

There are a few others, like Adam Bogdan and Danny Ward, but they’ve never really been part of the first-team setup so I’m going to leave them off the list. When you look down it, though, not one of the players on it can be called out-and-out failures. Many will point to Karius as an example of such a signing, yet he was still the goalkeeper that actually got us to the Champions League final in the first place, even if he was found wanting at the final hurdle. That opinion also now comes with a mark next to it thanks to the confirmation that he suffered a concussion.

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My point isn’t that FSG have got everything right, but that they haven’t got an awful record on the transfer front. They have sanctioned the sales of the likes of Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez, yes, but they were unhappy players determined to force their way out of the club. The only way to stop that happening more often is by winning trophies regularly and we’re now at a point when it feels like we can do that. It’s also worth noting that virtually every single transfer since the arrival of Jürgen Klopp has been successful, so both the manager and Michael Edwards have earned our trust, with the owners proving their willing to back them. Let’s knock the constant criticisms on the head, at least until the window’s closed.

The Runners And Riders Of The Rumour Mill

Speaking of the window, it closes earlier than usual this season. That, combined with the World Cup this summer, means that many clubs might find their transfer dealings thrown into a bit of disarray this year compared to previous ones. The early move for Fabinho suggests that Liverpool won’t be one of them, so should we expect any more big deals over the coming days?

The Ins?

Between the first tweet linking us with Fabinho to the official unveiling of his signing took about two hours, so it’s entirely possible that this piece will be old-hat in between the time it takes me to write it and the moment I publish it online. Nevertheless, we’ve been linked with a number of new players over the last few days, with these being the names that the press think we’re looking to sign:

Xherdan Shakiri

This rumours swept around Twitter last night and was soon being confirmed by the reliable journalists on the Merseyside patch – Liverpool are interested in signing Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke. The former Internazionale wide player is believed to have a clause in his contract that allows him to leave the Potteries for around £13 million now that they’re no longer in the Premier League. The very idea of it has been ridiculed by some sections of the fanbase, claiming that he’s nowhere near good enough and that we should only be signing him if it’s as well as another talented player like Nabil Fekir.

Firstly, I’m fairly certain that the Fekir deal will be done in the next week or so, with the player’s agent saying that his ‘head is already at Liverpool’ and that his ‘soul has projected a move to Liverpool’. Secondly, we’ve literally just lost a Champions League final with one of the reasons for that being that our bench was too light. Immediately after the final, everyone said that we should be trying to sign decent players who are good enough to come in and make a difference. Shakiri won three titles in his native Switzerland, eight honours at Bayern Munich and scored in the Coppa Italia for Inter Milan; he’s many things, but poor isn’t one of them. In terms of a squad player, he’s exactly what we’ve been missing.

Likelihood Rating: 7.5/10

Moses Daddy-Ajala Simon

It seems as though Shakiri isn’t the only low budget option that the Liverpool transfer team is considering a move for this summer. Moses Daddy Simon is also being linked with a move to Merseyside, according to reports. The Nigeria international might not be a name that many have heard of, but those in the know say that he’s been promising a breakout season for some time. We’ve actually been being linked with him since 2013, at which point he signed a pre-contract agreement with AFC Ajax in Holland. He scored for them on his debut in a friendly and then repeated the trick for the Ajax reserves, but in the end the Dutch side decided that he wasn’t for them.

Instead he moved to AS Trenčín in Slovakia, a club that Ajax had a partnership with. We were linked with him again in 2014, but he ended up signing for Gent. Simon won the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup double with them in 2015 and has a career record of 38 goals in 175 games, or a goal every 4.6 games if you prefer to think about it that way. As with Shakiri, it’s not the sort of link to get the blood pumping. But then it doesn’t necessarily need to be, does it? All season long we’ve said that it will be difficult to sign some at the level of the front three who will knew they might struggle to break them up, but could one of these lesser-lights be strong enough to cope against the likes of West Ham? We may well end up finding out…

Likelihood Rating: 4/10

Alex McCarthy

Like it or not, Liverpool’s search for a goalkeeper continues. As I’ve noted in the past, Simon Mignolet’s cockroach like ability to survive at Anfield is surely coming to an end this summer. That means we need to sign at least one ‘keeper, with Loris Karius’s performance in the Champions League final meaning that many people won’t trust him moving forward. We now know that there were extenuating circumstances behind it, but for plenty of supporters that simply doesn’t matter. Personally, I think that the German will be our reserve goalkeeper this year and that Jürgen Klopp will hope to rehabilitate him in the same way that he did with Alberto Moreno after his horror show in the Europa League final two seasons ago.

Whichever way you look at it, though, Mignolet is almost certainly off and Karius is extremely unlikely to be our number one, meaning that a new shot-stopper is a priority. Having been linked with both Alisson Becker and Jan Oblak all summer, many will be underwhelmed by the link to Southampton’s Alex McCarthy. Yet with Oblak almost certain to move to Real Madrid and Roma reportedly playing hardball over their Brazilian goalie, it seems as though Jürgen Klopp is willing to look elsewhere. In some senses a move for McCarthy makes sense, given that van Dijk had a good relationship with him at St. Mary’s, but I think this is likely more of an attempt to tell Roma to move their valuation or end up not selling him. Given their FFP problems, that’s unlikely to be something that they’re interested in.

Likelihood Rating: 3/10

Bernd Leno

What’s that, you’d like another goalkeeper to be linked to the club? No problem, allow me to introduce the name of Bernd Leno. Actually, I didn’t introduce it, The Daily Mirror did. The tabloid, going off reports from the German newspaper Bild, believe that the Reds will now turn their focus on Bayer Leverkusen’s Leno and have tabled a £25 million bid. Now whenever a newspaper says that a bid has tabled I’m relatively convinced that it’s complete and utter nonsense, so I don’t see any reason why I should change that evaluation this time around. Arsenal are apparently also interested in him and the club has already signed his replacement, but once again I think there’s a bit of smoke and mirrors going on here.

If you want my opinion, here’s how I see the goalkeeper situation. Liverpool want Alisson. Alisson wants Real Madrid. Real Madrid want Oblak. Roma want as much money for Alisson as possible. Liverpool are happy to wait and see what happens with Oblak’s potential move to Spain for making any silly bids for Alisson, knowing that the Italian club are struggling to meet their FFP responsibilities but need to do it before the end of June. Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino is on international dirty with Alisson and is doing his best to tell him Anfield is the place for him. How all of that will pan out remains to be seen, but that’s what I think is currently going on and it’s all a bit of a dance as we wait to see where the chips fall.

Likelihood Rating: 2/10

The Out

There has finally been a departure from the club this window! No, I’m not talking about Emre Can as that hasn’t been confirmed by the club yet…

Ovie Ejaria

The second that Steven Gerrard became Rangers manager, loads of Liverpool supporters speculated that our former captain would be quick to sign up some of our youngsters to bolster his squad and give them some experience. After all, what’s the point in having ties to the club and having worked with the youngsters if you’re not going to take advantage of that? Ovie Ejaria is highly thought of by everyone at Anfield, which is reflected in the fact that he signed a new contract before getting is loan.

Ok, so it’s not a departure that is going to have anyone panicking about the Liverpool team’s squad any time soon, but it is a move that will likely benefit the club in the long-term. The twenty-year-old midfielder can also play as part of the forward line, so it will be interesting to see how Gerrard uses him at Ibrox. He made eleven appearances for Sunderland in the Championship last season, but that’s not exactly an experience that’s going to stand him in good stead moving forward. This move should be really good for him, however, and if you’re going to truly learn your craft under any midfielder then is there a better one to do it with than Gerrard?

Conclusion

This week’s developments in the market have shaken things up a little bit, meaning that I’m not just having to write about Nabil Fekir in different ways every couple of days. Hopefully I’ll only have to write about him one more time – when we’ve signed him.

Until next week…

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