The silly season is upon us once again, with tabloids, websites, that man across the street and hundreds of people in the Twitter community, all becoming the focal points for Transfer rumours.
With Fenway Sports Group making money available and Kenny Dalglish in place as the permanent manager, Liverpool are sure to be big players in this summer’s transfer market as they bid to reclaim their place in the Top 4 of the EPL. Only two weeks have passed since the final whistle of the season, but already dozens of players have been linked with a move to Anfield. It is quite refreshing to see Liverpool not only active in the transfer market so early but also looking to invest heavily in youngsters.
Below are ten names that have popped up so far. TheHardTackle takes a look at the probability and estimated transfer fee of these signings.
With Paul Konchesky failing to impress, Fabio Aurelio injury-prone and youngster Jack Robinson a little too young to become first-choice, a new left-back is high on Liverpool’s wanted List. After an impressive season at Newcastle United, Jose Enrique is the current front-runner. Defensively good, Enrique’s attacking abilities would give Liverpool a new dimension. His crossing abilities provided many chances for Andy Carroll at Newcastle and the St James’ adore the Spaniard. Liverpool fans would hope to see the same at Anfield if the transfer goes through.
Estimated Cost: £10m
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Everton’s Player of the year, left-back Leighton Baines is another name to be linked with the reds. Baines is very adept at defending, but his greatest asset is his ability to join in with the attack, with his left foot providing quality ammunition for forwards. Any move across Stanley Park would cause a major uproar amongst the blue half of Merseyside. It is therefore unlikely that Everton would do business with their city rivals. But with the blues struggling financially, a massive offer could force their hand to sell the boyhood-Liverpool fan.
Estimated Cost: £15m
Phil Jones (Blackburn Rovers)
With Daniel Agger’s long-term fitness a major concern, Soto Kyrgiakos no more than a bit part player to provide cover, Jamie Carragher slowing down and Martin Skrtel very hit and miss in his play, Liverpool’s need for a dominating centre-half is imperative. Blackburn defender Phil Jones seems to fit the bill. The England Under-21 defender is good in air, strong in the tackle and comfortable in possession. Able to play as a defensive midfielder as well ala Pepe, Jones possesses all the qualities Liverpool are looking for. With his price likely to rise as he makes more appearances in the Blackburn team, now may be the perfect time for the reds to make the move for “the next Terry”.
Estimated Cost: £15m
Jordan Henderson (Sunderland)
20-year old Jordan Henderson is a name which has only been linked to Liverpool in the last couple of days. Rumours of a £13m bid are premature, but Liverpool definitely have an interest in the player. Despite his tender years, Henderson has developed into one of Sunderland’s main players. He played much of the season in a central midfield role for the Wearside club, but is more accustomed to a role on the right of midfield, where he can best utilise his box-to-box energy and ability to cross a ball. Having learned of Liverpool’s interest, the youngster is said to be keen, but with Sunderland holding out for close to £20m and Manchester United thought to be big admirers, the deal is a long way from being certain.
Estimated Cost: £15m
Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam was linked with a move to Liverpool throughout the January transfer window, but it never came off. Now, with Blackpool now relegated from the EPL, Adam looks odds on to move to a Premier League club; and the most likely seem to be Liverpool, with rumours surfacing of a £7m bid. Despite the relegation, Adam has impressed considerably and his final day performance at Old Trafford did the Scot no harm. Although Liverpool are well-stocked in the centre of midfield, Adam’s range of passing would allow Liverpool to dictate the tempo of games against smaller sides. Add to this his ability to score goals and his wonderful delivery from set-piece, which according to Sir Alex Ferguson is “worth £10m alone”, Adam would be a welcome addition to the Liverpool squad.
Estimated Cost: £7m
Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Not since the days of Steve McManaman have Liverpool had someone in midfield who is able to dribble past players. With his pace, skill and dead-ball prowess, Ashley Young is one such player. His arrival would give Liverpool an outlet when facing packed defences, against whom they have previously struggled. Coming into the last year of his contract and trying to establish himself as an England regular, Young is open to a move away from Villa Park. With fellow admirers Manchester United able to offer Champions League football, it will take a big effort to convince the winger that his future is at Anfield.
Estimated Cost: £15m
Stewart Downing (Aston Villa)
A more likely arrival on the wing is Young’s Villa team-mate Stewart Downing. Whereas Young likes to roam the pitch, Downing is a winger who hugs the touchline. Although not blessed with blistering pace, he is quick and skillful enough to attack full-backs, with crossing being his main asset; something Carroll would thrive on. He also pops up with goals, as Liverpool found out on the last day of the season. After stagnating at Middlesbrough, the move to Villa has revitalised the winger, so much so that he has just been named Villa’s Player of the Season. Looking to re-establish himself in the England set-up, he is thought to favour a move to a bigger club.
Estimated Cost: £12 m
Juan Mata (Valencia)
Spanish international Juan Mata is another winger to be linked. Technically brilliant with a wand of a left-foot, Mata can operate as an orthodox winger or more centrally behind the striker. He is quick, intelligent and can score goals. Having won the World Cup with Spain and played for Valencia in the Champions League, Mata has great experience despite only just turning 23 years old. With his club Valencia struggling financially, they look resigned to losing their star asset, with Liverpool amongst a host of interested parties. Liverpool’s lack of Champions League football next season would be a big factor.
Estimated Cost: £20 m
Connor Wickham (Ipswich Town)
18 year-old Connor Wickham is one of the hottest young prospects in the country. Already an England under-21 international, the 6-feet-3 striker possesses strength in abundance, pace and an eye for goal, with many people labelling him as the next Alan Shearer. With Liverpool looking for a backup striker, Wickham is the ideal candidate as he would be happy to play a bit part role at this stage of his fledgling career. An initial £8m bid has been launched, but with Ipswich holding out for more, Liverpool will have to dig a little deeper before capturing the young star.
Estimated Cost: £10 m
Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid)
One of the more tenuous links so far is that of Argentine international Sergio Aguero. After admitting his desire to leave Atletico this summer, various sources have claimed that Liverpool are one of the clubs said to be interested. “Kun”, as he is more commonly known, is one of the deadliest strikers in Europe possessing pace, skill, strength and incredible workrate. A front three of Carroll in the middle, with Suarez and Aguero working off him is a mouth-watering prospect. But, with the bidding likely to surpass the £40m mark and Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid favourites for his signature, the likelihood of seeing Aguero pull on the red shirt is very slim indeed.
Estimated Cost: £40m
There are many more players that have been linked and no doubt even more will follow. What is certain though is that it is going to be a very busy summer at Anfield with a view to long-term effectiveness.
Anfield awaits its new heroes.
Written by guest author – Robert Nevitt – a Kop Season-Ticket holder for over 25 years and maintains his own blog at http://rnevitt.blogspot.com/
Follow the author on twitter @rnevitt