Scott Groom explains who he thinks Liverpool should sign this summer to take the Reds to the next level after an incredible 2017/18 season.
Ah, the summer transfer window. It’s finally upon us. Several weeks where the rumour mill spins into overdrive, Twitter goes into meltdown and millions and millions of pounds are spent by Premier League clubs alone. It’s a key time for managers to make vital additions to their squad, and for Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp, it’s no different.
The enigmatic German has already wrapped up a deal for Naby Keita, who officially joins the Reds on July 1st and is already exciting Kopites with his electric performances for former club Red Bull Leipzig.
But Klopp will certainly need to make a number of other quality additions to his squad if they are to improve on a second consecutive fourth place finish in the league and a Champions League final.
Here are three names that I personally would love to see stroll out onto the hallowed turf at Anfield at the start of next season.
Toby Alderweireld – Centre back
The long-anticipated addition of Virgil Van Dijk in January was much needed for Klopp’s squad and the Dutchman has made a staggeringly impressive impact since arriving on Merseyside. Everything about his game has impressed since his signing, but question marks still remain over those who appear alongside him.
Although performances from Lovren, Klavan and Matip have improved somewhat this season, there still remains an air of doubt over the long-term future at the heart of Klopp’s defence.
Toby Alderweireld, widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s best defenders, has only one year left on his contract at Spurs and has made no secret that he is not planning on extending his stay at the London club. This means Spurs will be looking to cash in on the Belgian international before he is able to leave the club for nothing next summer.
The prospect of him lining up alongside VVD at the heart of Liverpool’s defence is salivating. Two cool, composed, physical, dominating centre backs flanked by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson is something to get excited about – and that’s only the back four.
The only downside perhaps to signing Alderweireld would be his age. At 29, he’d become one of the most senior members of Liverpool’s squad should he join, but he should have at least another four years at the very highest level left in him.
He may still command a high fee although he only has a year left on his current deal – just look at the £35m we paid for Oxlade-Chamberlain last summer.
Alternative targets: Lascelles, de Vrij, Koulibaly
Ivan Rakitic – Midfielder
With Emre Can is as good as gone and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain won’t be match fit until 2019, the addition of Naby Keita is suddenly not quite enough in terms of numbers for Klopp’s midfield.
While Keita looks to be an excellent investment, Liverpool still need a bit more strength in depth in the middle of the park – and perhaps a different option.
In Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum and Keita, we have four midfielders who are industrious, hard-working, distributors of the ball, but sometimes it feels like the midfield lacks the same degree of spark and creativity as the dynamic front three of Salah, Firmino and Mané.
Ivan Rakitic has been linked with moves away from Barcelona on a number of occasions and it would be a good move for him to swap the Camp Nou for Anfield. His flair and creativity could be utilised to break through the lines and link up play between midfield and attack to make Liverpool’s play even more fluid.
Yes, Keita is renowned for his surging runs and breaking through opposition defences, but Rakitic offers something a bit different and the Reds have needed that on occasion.
Age may once again be an issue, as Rakitic is 30 years old and also penned a deal with Barcelona until 2021 just last year but offering him a place in Klopp’s rampant Reds may prove tempting for the Croat.
Alternative targets: Khedira, Kovacic
Christian Pulisic – Attacker
A name that has refused to go away ever since Jürgen Klopp took over at Liverpool. The American starlet has caught the eye of many across the globe and is always mentioned when the transfer market opens.
He has been touted by many as a potential replacement for the departed Philippe Coutinho, and on paper, he certainly fits the bill. He’s skillful, fast, makes an impact, changes games and is exactly the kind of player Klopp loves having at his disposal.
Klopp’s ties with former side and Pulisic’s current employers, Borussia Dortmund, could play into Liverpool’s hands as much as they could act as a barrier, but it is definitely something that the boss should be looking into.
The fact that Pulisic is so young will also be tempting to the Liverpool transfer committee as they have often targeted players in their early twenties to preserve the longevity of their current side. However, his age and potential naivety could make things difficult in terms of adapting to life in the Premier League but could also mean he has plenty of time to mould himself into a world beater in the league.
He’s currently under contract until 2020 at Dortmund and recent reports have suggested that the German club value the American at around £50m.
Needless to say, I’d love to see him line-up alongside the Reds’ current attacking options.
The prospect of seeing him in Red is a delicious one.
Alternative targets: Lemar, Reus, Rodriguez