Jack Hallows looks into the recent reports suggesting Jürgen Klopp is set to axe a number of first team stars while providing alternative options to said players and possible valuations. Remember, I’m an optimist.
If Andy Hunter of the Guardian is to be believed – generally he’s fairly reliable – Jürgen Klopp is set to send a number of first team players on their way this summer. Hunter is predicting a ruthless streak from the German who he says has finally realised his squad is not good enough to challenge for major honours and he suggests that Sturridge, Moreno, Lucas Leiva and Emre Can will be among the first out the door. There are also growing reports that players such as Mignolet and even Ragnar Klavan could also be shown the exit.
Klavan, having been at the club just a year, makes me think he could stay but the possibility of the others leaving is huge. Each and every one has failed Klopp time and again since his arrival and with the German admitting that now his squad play for their futures – his included – it’s likely we will see him giving many the chop in the Summer. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for replacements. (Bear in mind these are very rough value estimations based on a number of different websites and may not represent club’s actual stances on players).
Simon Mignolet (Value: £12M) – Bernd Leno (Value: £20M)
If Mignolet does head out the exit door – and let’s be honest it’s probably time – then I would love to see Klopp get ambitious and target Bernd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen. Personally, I don’t rate Joe Hart and hope that those rumours die a swift death and I think that while Leno has the capacity for the odd error, playing under a manager like Jürgen Klopp could do him the world of good.
The shot-stopper perfectly fits Klopp’s profile – 24 years old, good with his feet, commanding in the box and solid reflexes – and would be superb competition for Loris Karius. Given the chance, I personally could see him becoming a top keeper under Klopp and let’s be honest, there’s a reason he’s Manuel Neuer’s number two in the German national team.
Alberto Moreno (Value: £10m) – Jonas Hector (Value: £18m)
I’m not 100% sure on what Moreno’s value would actually be at this point but I’d hope in today’s market that a Spanish side would be willing to take him back there for roughly £10 million. The Spaniard just hasn’t been performing to the standard required to cut it in the Premier League – a shame because he always gives his all and he’s a bundle of energy – and Klopp desperately needs to address the left back position this summer.
I’ve been on about him for over a year now and you all know that my primary target would be Jonas Hector. The German left back is tall, intelligent, genuinely knows how to defend and is versatile enough to fill in at holding midfield if ever required. He’s not the quickest left back on the planet but his positional awareness and ability to track back at the right times make up for what he may lack in pace.
Lucas Leiva (Value: N/A) – Jonathan Tah (Value: £15-20M)
I believe Lucas’ contract is up at the end of this season so for me, it’s time to let him move on. The Brazilian has, to his credit, been a true servant of the club for a long, long time now but his legs are gone. There’s no two ways about it. He’s just not able to be effective in a high pressure, fast-paced system and a move to somewhere like the Calcio A would be beneficial for him.
When he does inevitably go, I’d love to see Klopp target Virgil Van Dijk but, of course, with a £50 million pound price tag that is just not going to happen. So, for me, Jonathan Tah is the next best option. Tall, commanding, physical and often referred to as a younger Jerome Boateng, Tah would fit Klopp’s transfer model perfectly while also adding extra presence to our back line. Standing at 6′4, Tah would give the Reds much needed height in their own penalty area and a back four containing himself, Matip and Jonas Hector would go a long way to negating Liverpool’s problems with set pieces.
Emre Can (Value: £20m) – Naby Keita (Value: £25m)
It’ll be interesting to see firstly if Emre Can does go in the summer and secondly, how much the Reds can get for him. With just one year left on his currentdeal £20 million sounds about right but if the Juventus links are true, they may just offer that little bit extra.
Whatever we get, it needs to be recycled immediately into a bid for Leipzig’s Naby Keita. I’m not going to go into the details – you’ve heard me rave about him constantly the last few weeks – but Keita is exactly what Liverpool need in their midfield. Everton and Chelsea have shown the importance of having a player like Gueye and N’Golo Kanté and if Liverpool can sign Keita and play him alongside Jordan Henderson in a 4-2-3-1, Liverpool’s midfield will all of a sudden have a lot more energy and dynamism.
Keita also differs to Gueye and Kante due to his ability on the ball, passing range and ability to play further forward if need be and he certainly looks much more of a ‘complete midfielder’ rather than simply a tackle-machine. Make it happen Jürgen.
Daniel Sturridge (Value: £25m) – Alexandre Lacazette (Value: £45m+)
I’ve heard all sorts of contrasting reports on Sturridge’s valuation but most seem to range from £20-30 million depending on destination so I’m going to put a middle ground here. He’s a great player, a sublime finisher on his day and he can win you games single-handedly when he’s up for it. He just doesn’t fit our system and a player who commands a wage like his not fitting our system, being injured constantly and struggling to get on the pitch week in, week out, has to go.
The perfect replacement? Lacazette. He’s everything that Sturridge was in 13/14 and more. Goals, penalty taking ability, pace, work rate, willing to run in behind. Having him up front with Mané and Coutinho in support of him would be utterly devastating. He’s also a flat track bully. What does that mean? It means that yes, he’ll score you goals against the likes of City, Arsenal, United or whatever but he’ll score big against lower league sides. That’s exactly what the Reds need. Someone who will take games against the likes of Bournemouth, Hull, Sunderland, Swansea by the scruff of the neck and bang two or three past them is more than necessary. He’ll cost an absolute premium but goals are priceless and Liverpool need someone to provide them on a consistent basis.
So there you have it. Imagine that. A new keeper, left-back, centre-back, midfielder and striker. Put them all in the starting XI in either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 and you get a genuinely formidable line up that would, for once, inspire confidence while allowing Klopp options on the bench – especially if he were to sign someone like Julian Brandt alongside the above. Let’s hope after I’ve done all this dreaming that this summer’s window is a huge step forward.
Example lineup & bench (4-3-3): Leno, Clyne, Matip, Tah, Hector, Henderson, Lallana, Keita, Mané, Lacazette, Coutinho | Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Milner, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Brandt.
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