Reds’ Key Future Signings
Despite my hopes for some relief from the antics of overspending Chelsea, the latter part of this week managed to give some good news. With the Blues financial fair play competing with profit and sustainability (for supremacy), it seems that Todd Boehly has finally pulled back on the spending which will result in some major sanctions. Instead of stemming in the recruitment drive since taking over the Stamford Bridge club, the investment head instead decided to spend his way through £1bn of Clearlake Capital’s money. This enterprise came after matching the £3bn asking price to purchase the club. It does seem as though they are merely going to accept the eventual points deductions, transfer bans, hefty fines, and any other sanctions imposed. This acceptance of punishment will be accepted in the knowledge that the backbone of a young and exiting squad has been built. The extraordinary spending will inevitably cease, with strong oversight and FFP adjustments made to limit the loopholes that can be exploited. After the disheartening Moisés Caicedo and Roméo Lavia affair, it became almost certain that their next arrival would be Crystal Palace star, Michael Olise. After the rumoured release clause of £35m was triggered by Chelsea, most onlookers were expecting that deal to be announced by this weekend. It was yet another obstacle for Liverpool FC, as the loss of one of the Eagles most important assets made the reds chase for Cheick Doucouré even more difficult. Then, on Thursday afternoon, the below news hit the newsstand, causing everyone to raise an intrigued eyebrow.
I like Palace, especially after watching the exceptional documentary, ‘When Eagles Dare.’ The south Londoners chairman, Steve Parish, appears a genuine person and football owner, who always tries to do what is best for his club. I was delighted to see him announce that his young French attacking midfielder had signed a new four-year contract, with the likelihood of a higher release clause. This showed a level of class and loyalty from the player and closed the door on a move across the capital. This is an explosive and technically gifted player that I could easily see as the long-term replacement for Mohamed Salah.
If I were the recruitment team at the AXA Training Centre, I would be delighted to see this 21-year-old remain at Selhurst Park. His playmaking ability and right-wing prowess would allow this Liverpool team to transform into a 4-2-3-1 system, one that would see Dominik Szoboszlai move into the number ten role. My hope is that while talking with the Palace decision makers, we made it clear of our intention to return for the homegrown France under-21 international next summer. I am convinced that this will be the last season of viewing the Egyptian King at Anfield, due to the desires and ambitions of teams within the Saudi Pro league. Next year will see the 32-year-old Salah with just a year remaining on his current LFC deal, however, I have little doubt that a fee of £150m could be demanded from the controversial footballing entity. In that case, I believe a prospective new Sporting Director would happily take that money and continue to reinvest in what can serve the reds for years to come.
The basis for this piece is for the teammate of Michael Olise, Cheick Doucouré. Despite the solid Liverpool signing of Wataru Endo on Friday afternoon, the squad and first team still requires an elite level holding midfielder for this season. Clearly missing out on the two newest Chelsea players means that Billy Hogan and Mike Gordon will now have to focus on other targets, as senior clubs’ executives who will probably now take over all Jörg Schmadtke’s duties. With a secondary defensive midfielder now secured, the primary version is still a must before the transfer window closes.
To look at the viable options, any of Florentino Luís, Manu Kone, or João Palhinha, would more than suit our needs. However, it is still overwhelmingly the Crystal Palace defensive midfielder that should be targeted above all others. As Palace secure the short-term future of one asset, it may now make them more willing to relinquish with their destroyer. An expected fee of £70m may well seem high, yet the goal posts of current player valuations has moved exponentially in these last two years.
I suspect any movement will now frustratingly have to wait until Liverpool host Bournemouth on Saturday, well before Arsenal travel to Selhurst Park on Monday evening. With two weeks left of the window, I remain convinced that this summer of change can still end as an unwavering success. A fortnight of scrambling should have been avoided, yet we know full well that the funds are there to replenish. A fortnight from now, all will become clear, I just hope that that includes the recruitment of Cheick Doucouré.