Liverpool’s transfer activity will be highly scrutinised after scraping 4th place in the league and getting into the qualifying stage of the Champions League. Manchester City for instance have already purchased Bernardo Silva from Monaco and have apparently tied up a deal for Benfica’s keeper Ederson for a huge £34.7m.
This has prompted a social media meltdown from Liverpool fans, though the 2016/17 season has just barely concluded. The transfer window does not officially reopen for a month, but that does not mean business cannot be done now. So let’s have a look at some of the early transfer rumours associated with the Reds and see which ones are likely to happen and the rumours you can possibly just ignore.
Mohamed Salah (Roma) – Winger/Forward
‘Fool me once, shame on you: fool me twice, shame on me…’
Liverpool thought they had this player in the bag back in Brendan Rodgers’ tenure. In January 2014, he instead joined Chelsea to the Reds’ dismay, they came 2nd that season and if they had got Salah he may have taken them over the line. After not being given a sufficient run in the Chelsea team though he fled to Italy a year later on loan. He was excellent for Fiorentina on loan and he later then went on to join Roma. In the League alone he managed 15 goals and 11 assists in the 16/17 season and would add raw pace and an additional goal threat for the Merseysiders. Rumours are his representatives have flown to England to discuss terms, if Liverpool mess this up this time around some fans will be pressing the panic button on whom Liverpool can attract already.
Verdict: Keep tabs on this as it could happen. Roma manager Luciano Spaletti has left the club and Salah may be seeking stability and want to prove himself in England after a failed first attempt. Reports in Egypt and sports network Bein Sports say a deal is close to happening. Expect just over the record £34m mark that Liverpool paid last summer for Sadio Mane.
Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton) – Central Defender
Liverpool take from Southampton more than foxes do from your dustbin, so once Van Dijk hit the ground running after joining Southampton from Celtic you knew what was coming. Liverpool’s defence needs a no nonsense operator and have not had a durable leader at centre half since Jamie Carragher retired. The player apparently has touted Jurgen Klopp as someone he wants to work with and this would excite everyone involved with Liverpool. The stumbling block could be that Champions Chelsea and also Manchester City are among other clubs whom are interested and can offer the player more money. Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce believes it will depend on where Van Dijk would prefer to go, that will decide things. Any team interested will be willing to pay big bucks for the Dutchman who will want to test himself in the Champions League with better players around him.
Verdict: Definitely one to keep an eye on and if the rumours are true, it’s getting closer to happening by the day. Could be looking at as much as a whopping £50m for any deal to take place and if Liverpool could pull this off, not only would it shatter their transfer record, it would show great intent.
Naby Keita (RB Leipzig) – Central Midfielder
Dubbed by some as the next N’Golo Kante, Keita took the Bundesliga by storm in his debut season with Leipzig. Driving from box-to-box, breaking up play and linking up with the forwards, he has complemented Leipzig’s fearless attacking play. Leipzig surprisingly finished runners-up in their first top-flight season, though the team have qualified for the Champions League, it’s likely they will be broken up and the Guinea international is top of the list. Keita seems more composed in the oppositions’ box than Kante and his power and industry is what Liverpool need. Squawka reported Keita’s 80 ‘take-ons’ were more than any other central midfielder in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Verdict: 50/50, a fee as high as £40m has been doing the rounds and Liverpool may seek a different option than the 22 year old if this is the case. His style of play does seem like it will suit the Premiership, so Liverpool would need to act fast if they are serious about the player, as other teams interest will only increase.
Gael Clichy (Unattached) – Left Back
Clichy was recently one of many players released by Manchester City and interest has been far from overwhelming early on for the 31 year old former Arsenal man. Clichy had a decent season for City, as he was shifted around at the back as Pep Guardiola tinkered with varying formations. Clichy has declined individually since his Arsenal days although his medal collection increased during his 6 years at City. Considering his age, unless a better and younger left back can be acquired, despite Clichy being free, fans will want someone more promising at left back. When you take the season James Milner had playing out of position, Klopp would want to bring in a left back who can impact immediately. Fans would think that if Clichy is the main target then they may as well give the naive Alberto Moreno more games regardless of him being a free transfer.
Verdict: Unlikely, the fact it would be a free transfer is the main thing that could push this through. This would only be essential if Liverpool plan to spend really big in other areas. This surely would have already been discussed with owners FSG in regards to the budget for the summer. Reports on Liverpool’s interest vary, but the Echo has basically dismissed the Reds making any further advances.
Iker Casillas (Porto) – Goalkeeper
Reports emerged Liverpool have apparently offered the former Real Madrid keeper a 2 year contract as his contract with the Portuguese runners-up is ending. Casillas is said to be desperate to want to continue playing in the Champions League. Football writer Dermot Corrigan has stated Casillas also has other offers on the table from Turkey, Qatar and China. Though clearly not the keeper he once was, with the keepers Liverpool now have at their disposal, even at this stage of his career, he would be the best they would have to offer. Simon Mignolet had a good finish to the season but we are yet to know if that is enough to have convinced Klopp to stick with what he has. You would think that as Casillas is now Spain’s number 2 keeper behind David De Gea, he would only come if he was promised the number 1 spot at Anfield.
Verdict: Looks unlikely at first, it really all depends on what Casillas still wants. He is now 36 and may look for a lucrative payday in Qatar or China or he could still wish to compete at the highest level. Don’t give up on it completely, but keep a closer eye on other possible deals.
This is just the start of the rumormill and Liverpool will be linked with more players as the summer goes on. I will be back through the summer with more transfer rumours/gossip on Liverpool but feel free to contact me if you would like me to look at your club.