by Ritchie Slack (@Slack_9)
Ian Doyle, chief Liverpool Football Club writer for the Echo, has today stated that he believes ‘there will come a point where LFC have to think of new forwards’ – and it’s sent Liverpool fans into a frenzy. Here’s the link.
Whilst this will come as no surprise to many with the AFCON on the horizon in 2022, and the lack of backup on offer for the forward positions, it certainly sparks a debate; a debate not necessarily premised on who Liverpool should sign, but on who Liverpool could sign in the current window.
There’s no doubt that the Red’s appeal has never been greater, but as we are all aware, due to the Covid-19, it is a case of who can Liverpool sign, and if they can secure the right (i.e. fair) price.
Ian Doyle, in his Q&A session for the Echo, asserts that Wolves’ Adama Traore – the pacy 24-year-old with biceps that would make Hulk Hogan blush – is perhaps too pricey. ‘Traore (is) exciting and Klopp (is a) big, big fan but (is) too expensive for right now, I’d imagine.’ The Wolverhampton board would be looking for a £50m fee (minimum) for Traore, and whilst he has had a stellar season in the Premier League, scoring four goals and registering nine assists, that certainly seems steep. Far too steep.
Another name being linked with a move to Liverpool is Watford’s Ismaila Sarr. The 22-year-old Senegalese international has also had an impressive season; Sarr scored twice against Liverpool in a game which handed us our first defeat of the season. Sarr has been said to cost upwards of £40m.
Whilst slightly cheaper than Traore, he is also younger. I am personally a big fan of Sarr, but I am not sure whether the Anfield hierarchy would be willing to splurge that kind of money on what is, truth be told, potential. English clubs, as per usual, are not going to part ways with their prized assets without ensuring they can accrue a substantial – in this case inflated – fee.
Doyle explains that ‘it’s obvious FSG (will) keep a keen eye on those books (and ensure they are) being closely balanced’, something I also feel is true. Liverpool simply don’t have the funds many fans wish (or indeed believe) they have. Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of the new main stand, the commission and development of a new state of the art training complex at Kirkby, and new long-term contracts given to VVD, Alisson and co. And, let’s not forget, Liverpool lost £3m per game in the form of gate receipts from March onwards due to the pandemic. Fenway Sports Group won’t risk the errors their predecessors Hicks and Gillet made; they won’t jeopardise the club’s strong financial position on transfer fees, inflated or not.
Doyle also had say on FSG and the current financial crisis in this response: ‘Almost every club has set out that they must balance the books this summer, as nobody knows the long-term impact of coronavirus on finances. But you can already see some clubs are starting to twitch a little – they know the risks and it could harm them badly in the long run. Liverpool know this. That’s why they aren’t taking any at present. Could change, though.’
Although, Doyle has given fans hope that Liverpool are still active in the market, stating: ‘There is a long way to go in the transfer window and the nearer the deadline, the clearer the situation regarding fans coming back could be, and that could prompt a lot of movement I’m convinced there will be more movement from LFC before the window close’. And he goes on to say that, in his personal opinion, Liverpool will complete ‘two more signings, possibly three’… I am sure LFC keyboard warriors are furiously typing ‘@LFC sign Thiago’ into Twitter as we speak…
On the Bayern man – Thiago Alcantara – Doyle had this to say: ‘There’s nothing really new to say on Thiago that we don’t already know. But it’s a situation that can easily change – there is a long way to go in the transfer window and the nearer the deadline, the clearer the situation regarding fans coming back could be, and that could prompt a lot of movement’. ‘(I’d) be amazed’, he continued, ‘if no other clubs are in for Thiago’, amid rumours that rivals Manchester United are also in the hunt for the Champions League winner.
As far as a much-needed centre back goes, Doyle explains that bringing in a prime CB would, of course, cost a lot of money, and Liverpool, with Gomez, Matip and VVD, probably don’t need another elite CB, but they certainly need a stop-gap with Lovren already out the door. Doyle says, ‘a veteran could cover for a short period (like Klavan) and a youngster would have to have enough potential to challenge long-term, and they won’t be cheap either. Which is a roundabout way of saying I have no idea who I’d target!’
As rumoured, Liverpool need to sell in order to spend. Doyle mentions that he expects ‘at least two to go’ from Shaqiri, Wilson and Grujic. And with the Wijnaldum to Barcelona links gaining more traction each day, the summer transfer window could be a busy one for Klopp after all.
Watch this space.