I’ve been looking at various players that Liverpool could look to recruit this summer, and more recently, those could replace the role of Diogo Jota within the squad. If reports are to be believed, Newcastle are currently hovering over the Portuguese forward, and it would not be absurd to see us cash in on our 5th choice forward. With a fee likely to be above £70m, there is a potential move that could suit both the player and more importantly, his current employers.
I have recently stated how the additions of Cody Gakpo, Darwin Núñez, and Luis Díaz have perhaps seen the former Wolves man drop down the Anfield pecking order. With all three able to operate in either wide left or central positions, it does seem like Jota could become the odd man out. With Mohamed Salah almost always available and Diogo perhaps not suited to that side of the pitch, there could be a scenario that sees him looking for first team football elsewhere. With the current starting three all flying against United, you would assume that only rotation situations will see him garner significant game time in the coming weeks. Luis Díaz is back soon, with an absolute intent to force his way into Klopp’s thinking. Despite Bobby leaving the club in the summer, the predicament for our number 20 is there for all to see, including Newcastle United.
With so many midfield reinforcements required this summer, it’s apparent to everyone that some form of activity will be necessary, in terms of Anfield departures. Naby, Bobby, Ox and James Milner, will all depart on free transfers in June, with one of Matip and Gomez also likely to move on. That would see one defender needed, on top of a backup keeper, if Caoimhin Kelleher were to leave. With Matip, our back-up keeper and Diogo Jota touted as the sellable assets, that could accrue over £100m in revenue. FSG seem willing to back some key moves in the next transfer window, therefore with Jude Bellingham costing around about that fee, it would mean looking at individuals who could bolster the squad for reasonable fees, inclusive of a deal for the Dortmund star.
At Sporting Lisbon, there is a few players who we could target this summer. This is a group that is excelling under the superb leadership of Rúben Amorim. This 38-year-old manager is a terrific head coach who should be monitored very closely, with a view to him being on the very short list of managers that could one day replace our illustrious manager. Until such a time, I will be looking at another one of his players. Earlier in the week I earmarked Manuel Ugarte as the ideal Liverpool signing, one who could come into our midfield and dismantle anything that dare try to pass him. With his own abilities well covered, it’s another teammate that has caught the eye, and could be the perfect forward line addition if Newcastle were able to sign our Portugal striker.
Age – 24-years old (DOB 03/12/1998)
Current club – Sporting Lisbon
Nationality – England
Height – 5ft 7inch
Weight – 78kg
Club appearances – 218 games
Club goals & assists – 49 goals / 43 assists
Total minutes played – 14,217
International caps & goals – 0 games / 0 goals
This is a player that has gone very much under the radar, but has started to show his potential this year. If we were to concentrate solely on his number this season, he has been able to score 10, whilst assisting the same amount, in the 37 games played so far this season. He has spent a little over a calendar year at Sporting CP, whilst adorning the number 10 shirt. As a former Tottenham graduate, he failed to make an impact in North London, before finding his feet at Portuguese club, Vitória S.C. After an impressive three years there, it saw one of the countries elite clubs take him away, for a fee in the region of £7.5m. His continuing guidance has allowed him flourish, and whilst still harbouring some raw attributes, he is certainly a player that has caught the eye.
With a fierce acceleration to his game, he can both carry the ball at speed, or connect with through balls in behind. Though the reds are currently persevering with the fabled 4-3-3 system, I believe a switch to a more adaptive 4-2-3-1 is inevitable. Jürgen Klopp is clearly moulding a new look front line, one which may incorporate Cody Gakpo as either a false nine, or a ten. If Jota were to leave this summer, it would present the ideal opportunity to sign a more reflective back up to Mohamed Salah. This type of solution would allow the pace and dribbling ability (of Salah), to be covered a little more like for like. Though Harvey Elliott is a fine and promising young prospect, he simply does not possess the explosive nature that we attribute with the Egyptian’s game. Therefore, Sporting’s former England youth player would allow better coverage in either a right wing possession or as an adapted wide forward. He also tick the homegrown box, something which may become imperative in the next few months.
With a transfer rating on Transfermarkt of £25m, it would see a significant profit made against the fee that would be received for Jota. The balance of the squad would be less lopsided, whilst also allowing either Ben Doak or Kaide Gordon to undertake a vital loan period. With so much ability and depth within the central and left attacking roles, we really have banked on the fitness of Mo, far too much. Though I would love to see the likes of Federico Chiesa or Christopher Nkunku signed this summer, the reality is that we can only do so much, and back up roles have to strategically engineered for either future profit or first team potential.
There’s going to be an awful lot of gossip about comings and goings, with sports journalists throwing all sorts of names into the fire. Agents will be working hard to gain the interest of bigger clubs, whilst players will be working hard to either secure their own contracts, or moves further up the footballing ladder. Though we have not been linked with Marcus Edwards, he is definitely a low key talent we should be looking at. His own stable of teammates, Pedro Gonçalves and Francisco Trincão (on loan from Barca), are also attainable players that could well become options.
I wish we could be that club that holds onto all the important players, whilst adding each season to an already brilliant squad. With new ownership, that would have been a possibility. Under the continued rule of FSG, we know that much of our spending must be financed internally, and though I am confident in their commitment to strengthen the squad, we know that with amount of surgery needed, it will mean one or two players will have to be moved on.
For me, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this London born wide man, as it seems like it will only be a matter of time before he graces the Premier League, maybe even as a red.