Jack Hallows looks at three players who could be on the move either in January or next summer that Liverpool should pursue, as well as three to avoid!
Yeah, I’ll admit it.
I’m struggling to think of articles to write about at the moment such is how good Liverpool have continued to be and how consistent the topics of conversation have remained. So, as I do any time that happens, I’m going to talk transfers!
Now that we’re in November it’s almost like a switch flips immediately in the media. We’ve only just had time to get over the rumours, wish-lists and transfer obsession of the summer and already we’re bombarded with ‘news’ regarding the upcoming January window.
There have already been a number of huge stories being reported that, if true – and remember, it’s always a big if – would certainly shake things up a bit Europe-wide so I’ve put a list together of three players that I’d like to see Liverpool pursue and three that I’d like them to steer well clear of.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal): Pursue
For me, pursuing Aaron Ramsey in January and getting him to sign on a pre-contract agreement for the summer is an absolute no-brainer.
The Welshman is the archetypal Klopp midfielder, with athleticism, goals, creativity and an ability to operate across a number of positions. The fact that Liverpool would be able to add all of that for just the cost of wages while simultaneously weakening a rival Premier League club is just the icing on the cake.
In terms of the Reds current squad, Ramsey would represent the perfect replacement for Adam Lallana who has failed to convince on his return from injury.
Ramsey’s best position is generally seen as in a central midfield berth, operating in a similar role to that Lallana occupied in the 2016/17 season. The Welshman is able to press from deep, tackle capably and has a remarkable knack of getting into the perfect position to finish off attacks that generally he himself has started.
If Klopp is looking for someone to add to his midfield ranks that is equally adept at playing in the more advanced role (generally situated on the left) or filling the box-to-box role just as capably, then Ramsey would be a stellar addition.
Malcom (FC Barcelona): Avoid
Despite only joining Barcelona in the summer, Brazilian winger Malcom is rumoured to already be seeking a way through the exit doors.
The former Bordeaux winger joined the Catalans for £36m or thereabouts in the summer after they swooped at the last minute to scupper a deal that Roma already had put in place for the player to move to Italy.
There were interesting suggestions flying about at the time that Barcelona had only done this out of spite, due to Roma’s knocking them out of the Champions League the season prior and given that Malcom has only featured for a paltry 25 minutes in La Liga this season, perhaps there is some truth in this rumour.
The Brazilian is clearly a talented player and his left foot can only be described as an absolute cannon when he connects sweetly with the ball but Ernesto Valverde has preferred to use Rafinha and Philippe Coutinho in advanced positions ahead of him. Even with an injury to Lionel Messi.
Given that Malcom has vowed to try and fight for his place at Barcelona, he would likely command an exorbitant fee if he did decide to leave and prefers to play from the right hand side (where a certain Mo Salah operates), this is a potential move that Liverpool will hopefully not be bothered with one bit.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United): Pursue.. with caution
If any of these were almost nailed on to not happen, it would be this one but God I’d love to see what Jürgen Klopp could do with Anthony Martial.
The former Monaco winger joined Manchester United back in 2015 as one of the most highly rated young talents in Europe and while there have been plenty of glimpses of his ability, he’s never really hit the heights he perhaps should’ve done.
His attitude has at times been questioned but when you think about it, there haven’t been many United players who haven’t looked frustrated, beaten down or simply over it during Mourinho’s tenure at the club – especially over the last 18 months or so.
The Frenchman is very clearly a talented player and his pace, dribbling ability and capability of playing with equal devastation both centrally or from the left makes him a real weapon for any manager in the Premier League. His finishing could be more consistent but when he gets it right, boy does he get it right.
Moves from Manchester United to Liverpool or vice-versa are nigh-on impossible due to the incredible rivalry between the two clubs and it looks now as if Martial may be leaning towards renewing his contract with the Red Devils but if the winger does a U-turn and heads for the exit door, then Liverpool should at least throw their hat in the ring.
Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona): Avoid
Another Barcelona winger making waves for all the wrong reasons at the moment is French prodigy Ousmane Dembélé.
Clearly a talented individual, Dembélé is rapid, the dictionary definition of a two footed player, capable of operating from both wings or as a ’10’ and despite being just 21-years of age, possesses incredible end product.
Despite all this and Barcelona’s incredible efforts to land his signature back in 2017, he’s just not been able to crack a consistent spot in the line-up under Valverde.
There were questions when the winger initially signed, with media reporting that he was a panic bought big name alternative to Philippe Coutinho who later joined in January and the concerns over his attitude simply haven’t dissipated.
When the Frenchman initially joined Barcelona, he forced Dortmund’s hand by not just skipping training but literally going missing for a period of time – not something that screams ‘Klopp type of player.’
There have been further concerns since and his club have reportedly been trying to offload him since the summer, hoping that the winter window will finally be the occasion that some of Europe’s big boys start a bidding war for his signature.
While Dembélé does possess all the traits to be a huge success under Jürgen Klopp – the Liverpool manager being a confirmed fan of the player – his attitude seems to leave a lot to be desired and I for one would certainly be concerned if we splashed big cash on him.
Suso (AC Milan): Pursue
The Spaniard had a torrid time at Liverpool initially under Brendan Rodgers but now, three years into the Klopp era, this is almost an entirely new club. One that Suso would fit perfectly into.
Given he’s been around for so long, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Milan forward is only 24-years of age still and is at the perfect point in his career for a manager like Klopp to take him to the next level.
Capable of playing both centrally or from the right, Suso possesses a wand of a left foot and has become a creative powerhouse for Milan but is also capable of stepping up and providing goals himself when needed.
4 goals and 7 assists in 10 Serie A games this season only paints half the picture of just how good the former Red has been at the start of the campaign and a quick glance at last season – 8 goals and 14 assists in 50 games – shows they’re no fluke.
This is an attacking talent who is only getting better and better the more he plays and while at Liverpool he may find it harder to see guaranteed game time as part of the front three than at Milan, he’d be a perfect fit in that advanced midfield role – a position Liverpool and Klopp are desperate to fill.
Most recent reports suggest that the forward is a target for Liverpool rivals Chelsea and that he has a release clause of €38m – a true bargain in today’s market where a Nabil Fekir would cost £60m or a Dembélé would cost even twice that! How good would it be to see a former Red make a triumphant return, stealing him out from under a rivals noses in the process?
Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyonnais): Avoid
Look, I love Nabil Fekir as a player and I, like most of you reading this, was so upset when he didn’t join in the summer transfer window despite it looking nailed on that he would be a Liverpool player.
That’s the thing though… He was so close to joining and didn’t.
For good reason.
It was nothing to do with his ability: He was a player that Klopp wanted, was seen as an aid to the Reds cause and was looked at as someone who would improve a side that had already made it to a Champions League final. In short, we and the club all know that he’s a seriously talented footballer.
The price was no object either. A deal had been agreed between the two clubs and a fee sorted out.
The issue is allegedly with his knee – something that we covered here in detail.
If there are any doubts about any player’s fitness, then that makes them a risk that this club should absolutely not take. We play a high octane, intense brand of football that players’ bodies – in particula,r their knees – need to be able to cope with.
We’ve seen before just how much injuries can derail any side’s campaign and it makes no sense to shell out big on a player who would perform a highly important role, if they’re only going to break down weeks into their Liverpool career for months at a time.
I’d love to see Fekir join Liverpool but sadly, I just don’t see it as being a risk worth taking if his body won’t be able to hold up.