That Was The Week That Was
In the week when Liverpool went to Arsenal and stood toe to toe with the Gunners, arguably deserving to take all three points; Sheyi Ojo scored a cracking goal during his loan spell at Wolves; and 18 year old Harry Wilson joined Crewe Alexandra on a youth loan, Liverpool Football Club were linked with a host of people in the transfer window. Don’t think you’ve got to dirty yourself by reading the gutter press, though. We’ve done the dirty work for you.
The Rumours & News
When Liverpool confirmed the signing of Lazar Markovic from Benfica on the 16th July 2014 those who had been involved in signing the youngster actively celebrated. Touted as one of the best young talents in Europe, Markovic was described by European football writer Andy Brassell thus, “He’s a player with a rare talent. The raw potential is absolutely enormous. If he can progress at the present rate he’s going to be worth twice the money that they paid for him in 12 to 18 months’ time, so it’s a good investment”.
Sadly things didn’t work out as planned for the Serbian, and it now appears that he’s off to spend the season on loan at Fenerbahce. There’s plenty of questions to be asked about the way that Brendan Rodgers used him last season, of course. During his title winning spell at Benfica in the 2013-2014 season he was at his best when playing in the middle behind the striker; offering speed, intelligence and movement.
Instead of being played in the middle, though, Lazar was asked to fill in in whatever role Rodgers needed him to play, more often than not seeing the 21 year old playing as a right wing back. He looked out of place, never getting to grips with the role he was being asked to play and struggling to get into game after game.
Regardless of the reasons for his poor performance, though, underperform he did and now he’s off out of Anfield – at least temporarily. Brendan Rodgers believes the kid has a future at the club, but it’s difficult to see this move as anything other than the start of the long goodbye.
It’s fairly safe to say that the Mario Balotelli experiment failed. An article was written by James Pearce at The Liverpool Echo this week that summed up why Super Mario was never right for the Reds. Feigning injury in order to get his cronies to buy him an iPhone 6; refusing to applaud the away supporters; arguing with fitness coaches at the end of games – the list is nearly endless for a player who was only at Anfield for a year.
The good news is that, for now at least, the experiment has come to an end. Liverpool confirmed this week that Balotelli has re-joined AC Milan on a season long loan. The details of the loan are a touch murky, but it appears that the Italian forward has taken a wage cut in order to head back to his home country, whilst the Reds will be paying a part of his wage during the loan period.
Mario made 28 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool last season, scoring just 4 goals. Only 1 of them was a goal in the Premier League, meaning that he scored fewer goals in the top division than 169 other players. 62 attackers, 85 midfielders and 22 defenders all outscored the Italian forward. We doubt we’re the only ones who will be sorry to see him leave, and with a little bit of luck he’ll never be allowed to pull on a Red shirt again.
There are a couple of players Liverpool are linked with this week that seem as though someone’s made them up by throwing Scrabble letters together, the first of which is Taiwo Awoniyi. The 18 year old Nigerian whizz kid is on his way to Merseyside for a medical, according to The Daily Express, and will sign for the club before the window slams shut next week.
The newspaper is quoting the Nigerian Under-23 coach Timi Ebikagboro as saying, “He will leave this week for England to sign his contract with Liverpool and that is why he is not here training with us for the All Africa Games”. The Reds have beaten Monaco and Porto amongst others to his signature, and the young striker will join the Liverpool Academy soon.
The Reds have been linked with a move for Hakan Calhanoglu this week, though bizarrely it’s not because of anything emerging from the club or the player’s agent. Rather The Daily Mirror is suggesting that Liverpool could bid for the player simply because former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has said that the player would be a ‘good fit’ at Anfield.
Now we know that Liverpool’s transfer committee has come under some criticism in recent times, but we’re not entirely sure when Hargreaves joined the team. The Bayern Leverkusen player performed well on Wednesday night when the German club progressed to the Champion’s League group stage at the expense of Lazio. Speaking on BT Sport the German-Englishman said, “Calhanoglu is the star, he is the feature of this team. If you think about Liverpool or Tottenham he would be perfect in those teams”.
I know, right? What a bold statement! No wonder the press are falling over themselves to link the attacking midfielder with a move to Merseyside! It’s like Hargreaves is his personal advisor and has given a wink and a nod about the likelihood of a move. We’re not suggesting that they just make stuff up in order to get people to click on their links of course; we’d never do that.
Remember that idea of throwing Scrabble letters over the floor and making up a footballer’s name from what you’re left with? Well The Independent are linking the Reds with a move for Jakub Blaszczykowski, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.
The Polish mouthful would be available for around £10 million and has yet to feature for Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp’s replacement Thomas Tuchel. The midfield ace is getting frustrated with the lack of opportunities he’s being given at the Westfalenstadion and could consider his options moving forward.
Borussia Dortmund are well known for their pressing style, so Blaszczykowski would already know the sort of thing that Brendan Rodgers would expect him to do were he to make the move to Anfield. The Liverpool fans wouldn’t object to a new player coming in even at this late stage of the window, though the people that would be celebrating his arrival the most are those responsible for flogging the letters that go onto the back of replica shirts.
Do you remember Club Call? It was a service offered during the 1980s, well before the internet or Twitter were in everyone’s homes, whereby you could phone a number and get all of the latest news about your club. Well they’ve abandoned that particular revenue stream in favour of the more modern use of websites and that.
Imagine our surprise, then, when we saw that they’d linked Liverpool with a move for Schalke’s full back Sead Kolasinac. It’s not because the player wouldn’t be right for the Reds, it’s just because we didn’t know that Club Call still existed.
As for the player, the 22 year old Bosnia-Herzegovina international is considered to be a possible alternative to Joe Gomez and Alberto Moreno in the left back slot. Gomez has impressed since his arrival from Charlton, but Rodgers isn’t sure the 18 year old will have what it takes to keep up his performance level moving forward and wants to give himself options. He’s also not totally convinced in Alberto Moreno, though the Spaniard has shown a good reaction to being dropped to the bench in favour of Gomez.
All of that said, Club Call are suggesting that Rodgers has turned his attention to Kolasinac after missing out on Lucas Digne, when the only people who actually believed that Liverpool were ever after Digne were the press. Take this one with a huge pinch of salt.
This isn’t the first time that Liverpool have been linked with Aymen Abdennour
In this transfer window. Yet The Daily Express are determined to keep pushing the move, despite the fact that no one at Anfield has shown the least bit of interest in the player.
What makes it different this time around, though, is that The Express are claiming sources close to Abdennour’s agent – and all round super agent extraordinaire – Jorge Mendes have suggested that he is determined to push through a move for his client. It seems as though he wants to get Abdennour away from Monaco whatever the cost and has even lined up a replacement for the French club should they allow his client to leave.
Much like Sead Kolasinac, Abdennour is a full back and is being thought about as competition for Gomez and Moreno. It’s also worth noting that, until Jon Flanagan returns from his injury, there isn’t a great deal of cover for the right back spot, so if Clyne picks up an injury then it could be trouble. Bring in Abdennour and Gomez could move to the right back slot if needed with the Tunisian taking over at left back.
The 26 year old has bags of experience, making him a good alternative to the younger players in the Liverpool squad. Mendes is known to be something of a trouble making agent, though, so it’s more than possible that he’s just trying to stir up some issues in order to get his client – and by default himself – something of a pay rise whilst the transfer window is still open.