That Was The Week That Was
In a week when the Raheem Sterling saga finally came to an end when the winger signed for Machester City for £49 million; Gary McAllister was announced as the club’s new first team coach; and the pre-season tour began with a 4-0 victory in Bangkok against the True Thai All Stars; Liverpool were linked with a whole host of players in the press. Don’t worry about having to trawl through the tabloids for the latest nonsensical rumours, though, as we’ve done it for you!
The Transfer Rumours And News
Has anyone mentioned that Liverpool have been linked with Christian Benteke? They’ve been trying to keep it quiet, but it seems like the cat is now out of the bag about the Reds chasing Aston Villa’s big front man. The matter has now been complicated by the fact that Manchester United are reportedly interested in the striker, meaning Liverpool have to beat their chief rival to the Belgian’s signature whilst also trying to convince Villa to sell him for less than they want.
The Midlands club are keen to stop Benteke leaving for anything less than his £32 million release clause and they know Liverpool are now flush with cash after the £49 million sale of Raheem Sterling. Tim Sherwood said. “If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it, but until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that”.
So when the news broke yesterday that Liverpool had, indeed, decided to hit that magical number in the Belgian’s release clause nobody was overly surprised. It was Tony Barrett and Paul Joyce who first told of the decision by Liverpool to make their move for the forward, with Reds’ fans responding in a number of different ways. Some seem delighted that the Merseyside club are being so decisive in the transfer market, backing Brendan Rodgers to the hilt with his choices. Others are annoyed that Liverpool are essentially swapping Raheem Sterling for Christian Benteke.
There are legitimate questions about Benteke’s ability to fit into Liverpool’s style, but he also far from the big, bungling front man some suggest. He is quick, agile and gives defenders an absolutely torrid time. Of course it’s in a different way to Suarez, who was a nasty bugger with his persistence, but even so it’s something the Reds lacked last term. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course, so we’ll have a better idea of how Benteke will fit in to Liverpool’s team later in the year. For now, though, it seems that Christian Benteke will be a Liverpool player at the start of the season.
The Metro are claiming that Liverpool have lodged a bid to sign Salomon Rondon from Zenit St. Petersburg. The Reds need to bring in at least 1 more striker and with strong rumours emerging that Christian Benteke would prefer a move to Manchester over Merseyside it seems that the Reds are turning to alternative targets.
The 25 year old scored 20 goals in 36 matches last term, though the Russian league isn’t as competitive as the Premier League, but he scored 25 in 67 appearances for Malaga in La Liga and 13 in 36 for Rubin Kazan, so he knows how to find the back of the net.
There’s no fee mentioned in The Metro piece, so perhaps it’s entirely possible – though surely unlikely – that they’ve just made the whole thing up. It’s not totally against the way the world works that Liverpool have leaked the story themselves in order to scare Villa into thinking they’ll need to settle soon if they want Benteke off the books.
According to The Daily Express Liverpool will have to lodge a bit of £42 million if they want to prize Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. The French striker scored 27 goals in Ligue 1 last season, making him decidedly hot property. He is contracted with Lyon until 2018 but has neglected advances from the club to sign a new deal.
The Lyon manager, Hubert Fournier, said, “Of course, if a €50-60m (£35-42m) bid was tabled, I will no doubt have to prepare for his exit and wish him good luck, but I really feel like he wants to stay”. Is Lacazette necessarily a better player and a safer bet than Christian Benteke? It’s difficult to say, but at a minimum of £3 million more than the Belgian it seems odd that the Reds would want to sign Lacazette instead of the Aston Villa striker.
The Express also think that Liverpool could be ready to make a move for Paris St. Germain’s Italian midfielder Thiago Motta this summer. The 32 year old has been at the Parc des Princes for the last 3 seasons and has admitted that his motivation to carry on in Paris is running low. He told Gazzetta dello Sport that “It would be more comfortable to stay, but I wouldn’t be honest with myself, nor the club, which I have grown to love. It’s not a question of money, but of motivation”.
Quite why Liverpool would want to bring an aging midfielder into the squad having just said goodbye to Steven Gerrard is not something The Express have bothered to explore, but the player himself has hinted that a return to Inter Milan could be more up his street. That would make sense, given that Serie A is played at a much less intense pace than that of the Premier League. Don’t read too much into this one.
If Thiago Motta could be on his way back to Inter Milan rather than join Liverpool, on player The Metro say could be making the opposite choice is Gary Medel. The Chilean has reportedly said that he’s ready to accept an offer to return to the Premier League with the Reds.
Medel played in the Premier league for Cardiff in the 2013-2014 season, winning man of the match in his debut against Manchester City. He left the Welsh club to join Inter Milan when they were relegated at the end of the season. This one certainly seems to make a touch more sense than the Motta rumour, given Medel is only 27 and knows what it takes to survive the rigours of the Best League In The World.
Medel won the Copa America with Chile this summer and is a combative, forceful midfield that will give the Reds a bit of bite they’ve been missing since the departure of Luis Suarez – pun intended. He doesn’t score goals, though, which is something Liverpool need far more urgently than anything else. In 268 career games he’s only netted 21 times, so Brendan Rodgers might be wary of splashing too much cash on someone who is unlikely to up the ‘goals for’ column any time soon.
Back to The Express and rumours of the Reds trying to tie up a deal for someone who really would be able to add goals – Gonzalo Higuain. Napoli are reportedly keen to sell their front man and that is something that has perked Liverpool’s interest.
One thing that will have to be wrestled with first, however, is the price that the Merseysiders will have to pay for Argentina international. He has a £64.7 million buyout clause in his contract, but there’s no way Liverpool will pay anything like that amount for a 29 year old whose club want rid of him.
Liverpool’s search for a top quality striker is critical to their possible success next summer, but with Manchester United also in need of someone who can put the ball in the back of the net it seems likely that these 2 old foes will go head to head on any potential singings. That is as true for Higuain as it is of Benteke and both players are keen to play in the Champion’s League next season, making Louis Van Gaal’s team the favourites for their pick of the litter.
In September 2014, when John Henry still seemed to care a little bit about the goings on at Liverpool Football Club, he posted a sarcastic tweet on Twitter aimed at the Liverpool fans who would often tweet him telling him who to buy. The tweet said, “Oh and sign Reus!”.
Just under a year later and not much has changed, with some Liverpool fans actually starting a petition to demand that Ian Ayre and John Henry go out and sign the Bayern Munich midfielder. Obviously petitions are all you need nowadays, so there’s no way that it’s a pathetic and embarrassing action by certain members of the Liverpool fan base. No way at all.
EuroSport are suggesting that the Reds have made Reus their number 1 priority this summer, which will delight 12 year old keyboard warriors everywhere. There’s little question that the 26 year old German international would be a big upgrade on Liverpool’s current options, perhaps even – dare we say it – an upgrade on the departed Raheem Sterling. Yet a rumoured fee of £42 million isn’t cheap for someone who has had numerous injury problems during his career.
The Express can’t seem to stop reporting on Liverpool this summer, apparently just making names up now and sticking the Merseysiders in the article with them. Maybe we’re being unfair and Stefan Savic is a real person, but The Express have declared their ‘shock’ at the centre back being a target for Premier League clubs, so we just don’t know what to think.
The Fiorentina defender had a torrid time during his 1 season at Manchester City, playing just 11 games and mostly being known for looking a bit like a young Ronnie Wood. The Italian club have slapped an £11 million price tag on the Montenegrin international, though, so someone somewhere must think the interest from Arsenal, Man United and Liverpool is real.
One of the players everyone thought Liverpool would bring in this summer, after chasing him since he was first conceived, is Pedro. The Barcelona winger has fallen down the pecking order at the Camp Nou and, despite only signing a new contract with the club last month, keeping him at the club until 2019, the Catalan giants have decided to lower his buyout fee from £106 million to just £22 million.
Liverpool are set to miss out on his signature, though, according to The Daily Star, with Chelsea the likely benefactors of that fact. It is thought that Pedro will only leave the current Champion’s League holders for a club that can also offer him participation in the competition – something that Liverpool can’t do after their capitulation in the Premier League last season.
The 27 year old said, “Any player wants to have playing time but it is getting more and more difficult with every season that passes. I would like to have finished my career here but we will have to see what happens. Obviously you are happier when you can play”. And how could any attack minded, goal scoring midfielder be happy anywhere other than playing as a secondary defender under Jose Mourinho?