A summer of prudence for Liverpool FC

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Here on Anfield Index, Sam McGuire has written an excellent piece on how perfectly suited Kevin De Bruyne would be for Liverpool. I would like to echo those sentiments: he would an exciting and potentially fantastic acquisition.

Unfortunately though, I think that De Bruyne, like Alexandre Lacazette, will not be heading to Anfield this summer. Personally, I think we’ll see a summer of prudence in the transfer market and with us needing a goalkeeper, back-up left back, right back, central midfielder and a striker, I doubt our budget will stretch to thirty or more million pounds it would likely take to get De Bruyne. Sadly, for those same reasons of cost, Lacazette will not be that striker that we need.

Summer Prudence

If reports are to be believed, Borini, Balotelli, Aspas and Enrique will all be sold this summer, with Jones and Johnson, like Gerrard, leaving as their contracts expire. Realistically, we’ll be fortunate to bring in £35m for Balotelli, Borini and Aspas, and just plain fortunate to find anyone who is willing to employ Enrique as a professional footballer, given his performances this season are reminiscent of “George Weah’s cousin” at Southampton all those years ago. I would suggest a career at Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for him, but that’s a whole other discussion.

Last summer we spent somewhere in the region of £117m, but against the £75m fee we received for Suarez, our net spend was roughly £40m and I’d expect something similar this summer.

I’m not trying to be the party pooper or suggest any kind of naivety on Sam’s part for suggesting Kevin De Bruyne as a transfer target for Liverpool. Quite the opposite; his pace, technical ability, versatility, mentality and profile are ideally suited to us and our style. I also believe we could attract him as I don’t feel his stock has yet risen to the point where he’s an unrealistic target. However, in those attacking midfield areas we already have Philippe Coutinho, Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and the emerging Jordan Ibe. The real issue being that we spent a reported £25m on Lallana less than a year ago and despite him being a two-footed and technically gifted player, he often slows our play down and doesn’t have the speed and directness of Sterling, Markovic and Ibe or the insane dribbling and creative ability of Coutinho. He’s a very good footballer and in theory should suit us well, but it’s just not quite working for him at Anfield. It has to be said that players do need time to settle and adapt when moving to a club with the stature of Liverpool, but the signs are that Lallana will struggle to live up to his inflated transfer fee. Of course, the transfer figure is not Lallana’s fault, but like or not, it does impact upon a player’s success. Had he been signed for £10m, then using him as a sporadic starter wouldn’t be an issue; but when the club invest a significant amount of money in a player in their peak years, then you’d expect them to be commanding a regular starting spot and that’s something that is looking unlikely. If the club looked to sell, there would undoubtedly be interest, but it would be at a sizeable loss and the same could be said for Dejan Lovren. Not only would that hurt the club, it would also hurt Brendan Rodgers personally. Selling two of your major signings after just one year at a big loss is not something managers want on their reputation; so I’m sure he’ll want to give them more time to succeed and thus the potential of signing more players in their positions will narrow.

It’s my belief that our biggest summer signing will be in central midfield. Two players I’m an admirer of there are Mateo Kovacic and Leon Goretzka. Both are not only tremendous talents, but would also be achievable and within our price range. Whoever the club bring in, I suspect it will be a “statement” signing with the loss of Gerrard from that department and with the other squad recruitments needed. So, unless the unthinkable happens and the club accept a huge bid for Sterling, there unfortunately won’t be enough left in the kitty for a Lacazette or De Bruyne as we undertake a summer of transfer prudence.

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  1. As a huge Reds fan I would take the 100 mil for sterling since he is trying to low ball the club (whether by his own ambitions or by his advisers), take the $$$$ and buy both De Bruyne and Lacazette. Dont get me wrong I luv Sterling but it is a business in the end.

    • 100 million? Are you out of your mind? We would be lucky to get 40 to 50 million for Sterling. That’s being a lot more realistic than you my friend

  2. I would hope that the Powers That Be at Fenway Sports Group — who, God knows, aren’t afraid to throw HUGE $$$$ around as it pertains to the Boston Red Sox — will put a crowbar to their wallets and try and improve Liverpool. And the truth is: there needs to be more quality and depth added to the squad and that can be accomplished through the transfer window.

  3. Totally agree with the requirements – gk, lb, rb, cm and st.
    Would be tempted to keep Can in defence(if it’s still 3 at the back next season) cause he’s looked kinda out of sorts in midfield.
    But.. I can’t stress this enough.. We need 2 big name singings. Lb, rb and gk can be good prudent buys.
    But if we are to raise the quality of LFC and challenge for title and be competitive in Europe.. A striker and a central midfielder. Got to be a big name world class player.
    For that reason I think if we get about 35 mil for Balo borini aspas Alberto .. Then we need another 40-50 mil from the owners.
    25-30 for each of the big name signings .. And rest for other three.

  4. I feel sterling should move on we have great tallent in ibe and up n coming under 21s he feels like moving on let him go we saw stars like him fade in life after Lpool

  5. It’s not only Llanna who Rodgers has to answer for….what about Allen Borini, Lovren, Markovic, Aspas, Alberto, Aspas, and Balotteli and the forgotten one Llori. Can’t any of you Rodger lovers see through this so called manager. How can you possibly attract top quality to this club when you have an imposter at the helm, he is our biggest problem and I for one have no respect based on his previous dealings in the transfer market, and some of his team selections. And to think we payed compensation to Swnsea to bring him and Pascoe to this club.

    Of course that is my opinion of him and many disagree with me, but I stand by my comments for what they are worth after all I have been supporting this great club for more than 55 years.


  6. Personally to meet our (fans, players, coaches and owners) expectations, We need the exact players you had mentioned. As a striker Lacazette is a most. It’s time to put up the money or lower the expectations. We want to win the premier league with Borini, Sturridge, Balotelli and Lambert as out and out strikers (or if we buy someone of below 20 million Euros) against Chelsea (Diego Costa, Remy, Drogba), Man City (Aguero, Dzeko, Jovetic, Bony), Man U (Falcao, Rooney, Van Persie) and Arsenal (Giroud, Welbeck and presumably another striker this summer). It just isn’t going to happen. Would love Lacazette, Sturridge and maybe Vietto if rumours of 12 million pound release clause are true and possible. I’m thinking Benjamin Mendy for left back (Marseille), ideally Serge Aurier for RB (Toulouse) if not then Sam Byram (Leeds) or Nikola Maksimovic (Torino). I love the midfielder suggestions and for goalkeeper, maybe a Bernd Leno (Leverkusen) or Mattia Perin (Genoa). Thoughts?

    • Manquillo’s loan is for two years, Andre Wisdom is coming back, and so is Flanno. I see RB, and possibly with Flanno covering left, LB as sorted. Especially if we continue with wing backs instead of out and out fullbacks. Ibe, Markovich, Sterling, etc. can continue to slot in to those roles.

      Assuming Balotelli and Lambert are relatively done at Anfield, and assuming we keep Raheem at least one more season, we likely need one more striker… although who that is could be anyone… but my money is on Ings. Ings will be another 3rd choice option, a spiritual successor to Borini, most likely.

      Our most important hole will be in the midfield, most likely in the holding/anchor role. Again… a wealth of targets, but too early to really say who. But someone in the Khedira or Carvalho mold.

      I realize Can can play here, but I’m not sure it’s his best role.

      Another CB may be on the shopping list as well… but I’m not convinced BR will see it as a priority, with Sakho, Skirts, Lovren, Can, Wisdom, and hopefully Llori all as potential fillers.

      So tl;dr:

      I agree with this article in that we will likely see timid spending in the summer. Truth is, we have a lot of players on the fringe of the first team that may be given the chance to prove they can cut it. DM, striker, and a backup GK may be our only major transfers.

    • Oh,and I wanted to add that if we stay in the 3-4-2-1 box mid formation we’ve been playing with, we might not even see a new striker come in, with Origi being a potential filler. Origi could be shown enough faith, and play up top or behind a striker in the Sterling role.

      Ideally, if we did bring a new striker in, he’d be a player creative enough to either play up top at the tip of the 3-4-2-1 as a false 9, or rotate in to the sterling role behind the main striker. Someone with enough creativity to take pressure off Coutinho while still being a goal threat would be amazing.

      Right now, Coutinho’s partners in the middle, Lallana and Sterling, are either creative (lallana) or a goal threat (sterling), but both players are not both things.

    • I totally agree with the ideas that you presented. But as I started my comment, this transfer summer will provide us evidence with he club’s ambitions because if we make the improvements you have talked about, I see us fighting for 3rd or 4th, obviously depending on type of transfers everyone else is making. I made these suggestions, because I see us (with the squad and additions you suggested) not challenging for the league title. Let’s look at Chelsea for example, they are more than likely winning the league this year and adding a talent like Varane as the very least of their activity (I see them doing more considering their CL exit). Manchester United are going to add talent with expected expenditures of over 200 million pounds coming in (Hummels, Gundogan, Strootman, Pogba, etc.). Arsenal always seem like they are going to make moves, but most often underwhelm in the transfer market, however I see them buying a player of Draxler, Gundogan or Carvalho’s quality. Additionally, considering their CL exit I wouldn’t be surprised if they sign one new starting XI player and one excellent depth player. Lastly, we have Manchester City, who are an extremely high quality side, however I believe they will most likely change managers and thats always hit or miss regarding the first year at a new club, plus financial fair play restricts them.

      Ultimately, we won’t have the pieces to beat Chelsea and Man U, Arsenal and Man City will be the clubs we battle with for a CL spot. That’s exactly why I believe we need a strong summer. And lastly, Origi is a great talent but his 6 goals (one hat-trick) is a little underwhelming for him to be considered a strong backup.

      In the end a player of Raheem Sterling’s quality we cannot afford to lose so pay him what we need to or sell him for 60 million pounds plus and let’s hope we do what we need for the title, because my expectations are to win the league, not just a CL spot and if we fully commit for a league title and fail we still will make a CL spot and can build from there.

    • We really haven’t been the type of club to meet exorbitant demands. We might sign Sterling to a new contract, but only to put in an appropriate buyout clause. I don’t see him being in it for the long haul. I also don’t see him buying in to the comraderie of the Liverpool family like some players do. Just watch some of the LFCTV videos and see how frequently he partakes in team silliness.

      Shoot, even Balo openly reps and adores Liverpool more than Sterling does.

      I don’t think top 2 is a realistic target for us next year, nor do I think it will be the owner/management goal. Consistent appearances in the CL,and league or FA cup silverware will likely be our realistic aim for the next 2-3 years. In that period,increasing club revenue and development of younger players (to sell for profit) will be the name of the game.

      League winning teams are not made in a season or two. I would rather a slow building of a dynasty than a billionaire blitz to league championship… Dynasties tend to last longer.

    • If those are the expectations then I completely wholeheartedly agree with what you have been saying. I just hate seeing Man U and Man City ahead of us in the table. Heart broken from today.

      I do want to add that my desire isn’t for billions to be put into the club. I just want to see a higher class of young player brought in. I’ve had it with he Borini’s and Suso’s etc. I want to see some quality. Maybe even a Youri Tielemans.

      Just some thoughts, but totally agree the way of business needs to be the Liverpool way, Buy Young Players and Develop!

  7. Anyone will sell Sterling for 50-60m….And More so with OJO and IBE in frame..He is great talent but Thankyou for your services and leave if you think you are bigger than the club..I would not sell Balo..sturridge..Origi..Ings/Vieto..and Balo as B option in Lamberts place…Pjanic will be available for less than what Roma is demanding..He would love to move from Roma to liverpool ( If not jump to the opportunity)


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