Jack Hallows gives his opinion on Liverpool FC’s transfer dealings so far and why the next three weeks will be so important.
Only seven days, folks.
Seven days until Liverpool Football Club’s pre-season training gets back underway at Melwood on July 2nd.
While some players will have a longer break than others – due to involvement in international duty over the summer – there will still be a large, core group reporting for duty right from the word ‘go.’
When the squad begin to reconvene on Merseyside to start preparations for the 2017/18 season, there will be at least two new faces joining them in the form of Klopp’s latest pair of signings, Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke.
However, it is expected that if things go to plan, they won’t be the only ones who have sealed the deal with Liverpool when the Reds jet off to Hong Kong in time for the first of two friendlies on July 19th and July 22nd.
Klopp is known for wanting his business done quickly and efficiently in the summer window and it was encouraging to hear him speak back in May about “positive” talks already taking place.
He knows who he wants, he doesn’t care what he has to do to get them and it’s now simply a case of letting Michael Edwards and co. do their jobs. However, how well Edwards and his team can do that is set to define the summer.
The negotiations with Roma over Mohamed Salah dragged on for what seemed like an eternity and despite reports that we’d finalised terms with the Egyptian rumbling around since the early weeks in June, agreements over the transfer fee took a lot longer.
Now, the window doesn’t even open for just under a week and certainly won’t be closing anytime soon, so the lengthy nature of the saga doesn’t really matter in the long run.
However, the Reds will be hoping other deals can be tied up in a much more efficient manner but the small details we’ve been given don’t make that look much of a likely scenario.
The pair of Naby Keïta and Virgil van Dijk have been all but confirmed as Klopp’s two top targets and it’s going to be a massive test of Edwards negotiating abilities to get the two deals over the line at all, let alone quickly. Both Southampton and RB Leipzig are hugely reluctant to sell their key assets and both have placed £70m+ price tags on their star men.
All we’ve heard from the club and those involved in recent weeks is that while funding is not unlimited, spending money to bring in Klopp’s preferred players is not an issue. Looks like it’s time for the club to prove it.
Last summer, Loris Karius and Sadio Mané were both confirmed as Liverpool players during the last week in June, while Joël Matip had already agreed terms on a free transfer back in the January window.
The three weeks that followed were vital as the Reds managed to secure the signings of Gini Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan to all but tie up their summer business an entire five weeks before the end of the window.
What eventually became the Reds core, strongest XI of Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mané, Firmino and Coutinho were all given sufficient in-game minutes and time together on the training field to learn the ins and outs of Klopp’s heavy metal system.
The German’s triple training session method gave them all an extra boost to their fitness levels and tactical awareness and by the time our opening day trip to the Emirates came around, the Reds were simply fitter, more explosive and deadlier than their opponents.
If Liverpool do in fact manage to pull off a stunning double swoop for van Dijk and Keïta in the coming weeks and both are afforded the entirety of Liverpool’s pre-season trips to Hong Kong and Germany, then we could have an absolutely frightening looking squad come the start of the 2017/18 season.
Klopp will also know that he needs his squad finalised and sorted comfortably before a huge pair of matches in the form of the Champions League play-off round on August 15th/16th and 22nd/23rd.
The club’s Champions League place is of course very much dependent on the results of those two games and a fully fit, firing and reinforced squad would be of huge benefit to our chances. These next three weeks are going to be vital.