Liverpool’s summer transfer window that three weeks ago looked so promising, is in danger of crumbling and they must ensure this doesn’t happen.
Three weeks ago this summer window still looked incredibly promising.
While the Virgil van Dijk issues had been ongoing for a while by this point, it was still seen as a given that the Dutchman would be the latest Southampton player to make the switch to Merseyside while links with Naby Keïta were sounding more promising by the day.
There were also links bouncing back and forth with numerous left-backs including Benjamin Mendy, Dalbert Henrique and Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam.
Looking back on it now though, the links to Robertson were always the strongest and really, his signing shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Add to this that the club had already shelled out on a winger in Mohamed Salah and a new, promising striker in Dominic Solanke and the window seemed guaranteed to end up at least an 8/10.
How have we reached this point then?
While we obviously are safe in the knowledge that Salah, Robertson and Solanke are Liverpool players and that won’t change, both van Dijk and Keïta look more out of reach with each day that passes.
The past three weeks have been spent deciphering cryptic ‘ITK’ tweets to decide whether they possess genuine knowledge or not and reading reports after report from respected journalists such as James Pearce, Paul Joyce, Chris Bascombe and Melissa Reddy telling us our summer is in genuine danger of blowing up in our faces.
RB Leipzig’s stance over Naby Keïta doesn’t seem to be shifting and despite the German club “encouraging” the Reds to submit a bid equal to that of the current Bundesliga transfer record (€75m), they rejected it as soon as Liverpool did as they were told.
The club were understandably baffled by the reaction from Leipzig given their supposed indications behind closed doors that they would sell for the right price and it’s left the fanbase in their usual state of disarray and frustration. Rightly so, to be honest.
At least when it comes to Keïta, the club are said to have genuine alternatives to the Guinean midfielder lined up, Paul Joyce confirming as much in his recent article for the Times but what is seriously worrying is that while centre back is arguably the position most in need of a new face – alongside left-back – Virgil van Dijk seems to be the only option.
The Reds have been linked with a small handful of other central defenders, Kalidou Koulibaly being the only big-money name touted but these links have died as swiftly as they were initially typed up. Joyce’s apparent confirmation that the club will either sign van Dijk or no one has left fans baffled and once again, rightly so.
Patience and consistency have been preached heavily by Jürgen Klopp this summer but surely, a manager as long in the tooth as he is would know that this squad cannot improve on its fourth placed finish last season with only three new signings – one of those a 19-year old.
If the whole idea of this Liverpool project is to take steps forward every year then surely, players have to be acquired no matter what?
There is no shame in stepping down from a first-choice target if negotiations hit a stand still as long as you have a contingency plan lined up for that inevitability. Just look at Chelsea for example.
Lukaku was their first choice striker target, it went horribly wrong, Manchester United swooped and so the club quickly recovered, reassessed and then went and signed Alvaro Morata. Crisis averted.
I’m all for playing the patience game and opting not to panic buy just for the sake of it as we know how that’s turned out for the club in the past but go to the extreme of just simply going with what we already have? That’s the attitude that it can honestly be said may have cost us a potential shot at the title in January.
Personally, I think Klopp knows this. He’s never liked talking transfers but you can see it in his face that his patience is surely wearing thin. Heck, he’s even admitted himself that Leipzig “don’t need” to sell Naby Keïta, a comment that many have theorised means he’s bordering quite close to giving up on the midfielder.
Neither Klopp nor Liverpool can risk this summer window being deemed a failure, especially given the positive start it took with the news that the Reds had managed to turn the heads of their primary targets.
No matter what happens, if neither Keïta nor van Dijk join there will be certain levels of disappointment but if the club can secure decent alternatives then at least the blows will be felt slightly less and the hunt for silverware could be made just that little bit easier.