In seasons past the summer window represented a rare source of hope, a lottery ticket of sorts for Liverpool to vault into European and even domestic relevance. The speculation, the rumour, the plane tracking, and yes… even the Sprinter van stalking, it’s all part of the transfer window magic. This year it isn’t as critical. The Reds are back. The squad is young, accomplished and reinforcements are already either coming back from loans or moving up from the youth ranks. But let’s be honest with each-other; we still want some of that sweet, sweet transfer window action.
ITK’s Of Days Gone By
Another pattern of seasons gone by was that the rumours often had a similar flavour, originating with one “ITK” and either confirmed or copied by others depending on your point of view. The consensus wasn’t always right, but there often was a set of targets that every Twitter tattler from your Grizz’s to your Graeme’s agreed that the club were “monitoring.” Last season Maddison and Sessegnon were the nailed on signings, then after the then Norwich attacker injured his knee and Sessegnon decided to stay at Fulham plans either changed drastically, or LFC were never interested in the first place.
This May, the odd thing is that the whispers are all over the map to an extreme that not seen before. Several accounts are going to end up with egg on their digital faces when the dust settles. BBC reporter, David Ornstein, put out a summation of Liverpool’s summer plans that has shaken the ITK world to its core. Ornstein’s claims are dubious, let’s not beat around the bush about it. He states that the club have so little to spend that any potential additions would be in a price range below that of Shaqiri, whose tab was a scant £13 million. This retro, 1980’s budget level flies in the face of the facts. Liverpool are swimming in cash with new sponsorship deals and Champions League money flowing in. Could they use some of that to pay down past expenditures and invest in future infrastructure? Sure. However, the idea that they would essentially skip a transfer window with the club in a position like this is, at best, posturing to help with negotiations down the road.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the strangest and most anonymous of Liverpool’s ITK’s, TheFirmBL. Before you laugh, this is Twitter account that could be mistaken for parody yet it happens to be more accurate of late than any seasoned journo, LFC Twitter still isn’t sure what to make of TheFirm and his “source,” Hanz Ernest Adaulfo. Who is Mr. Adaulfo? No-one. Everyone. He is the faceless man, except that TheFirm often Tweets pictures of him enjoying fancy dinners, obviously across the table from important agents and sporting directors. The account often calls not just transfers, but contract extensions right down to the granular minutia.
Can We Count On A Transfer Saga In 2019?
What does their crystal ball have in store for The Reds this year? TheFirm has, for months, claimed that Liverpool had a done deal for RB Leipzig forward, Timo Werner and Fulham flyer, Ryan Sessegnon. He/she hasn’t backed off of that even in the face of some strong links suggesting that moves are on for Sessegnon to Spurs and Werner to Bayern. The account has also pointed to work being done towards deals for De Ligt, Demirbay and a potential Coutinho reunion. A signing of any one of these players, let alone a group of them, would blow Ornstein’s projected numbers out of the water.
TheFirm’s original statement on Sessegnon was less certain than that of Timo Werner. They explained that Fulham had initiated talks with Liverpool about Divock Origi and that The Reds had returned fire, asking for Sessegnon in return. Perhaps that deal has fallen through given Origi’s hockey-stick trajectory in importance for the club after his string of heroic goals. Werner, on the other hand, is set for a 46 million (plus add-ons) deal and according to TheFirm’s January 6th tweets. That’s 33 million more than Shaqiri if you’re counting at home.
On Tuesday, RB Leipzig CEO, Oliver Mintzlaff, stated “Maybe (Werner) doesn’t even want to go to Munich. Maybe he would rather join Tuchel in Paris, Klopp at Liverpool or Favre at Dortmund. (Sky Germany) Rafa Honigstein says Werner is Bayern bound while Bild and SportBild say that Bayern have backed out.
Perhaps a deal for De Ligt is the kind of unforeseen opportunity where all of the ITK’s could have plausible deniability. He is perhaps the kind of talent that a club would scrap their plans for and a long assumed deal with Barcelona is taking long enough to encourage suspicion that another club has jumped in.
The only signing that could possibly fit Ornstein’s depressing scenario would be Bristol City’s left-back, Lloyd Kelly and a reserve ‘keeper. There isn’t much that is beyond the reach of Michael Edwards’ laptop, but signing any other player who would make a difference for the numbers Ornstein is describing sounds preposterous.
There are other rumours floating about. Liverpool’s scouts showed up at a Lyon match last week, leading to speculation about their entire squad. Nicolas Pépé is the latest hot prospect on the continent so he is naturally linked with every big club. If you’re the flight following type, there have been jets landing in and around Liverpool from Paris, Brussels (Anderlecht) and Hannover over the past week. Rabiot, Edo Kayembe and Walace perhaps?
Let the speculation fly, but come August, two men, well one man and one Twitter account will enter, and only one will survive because David Ornstein and Hanz cannot exist in the same universe. Only one can be right.
Here’s hoping it’s Hanz.