Manchester City have reportedly struck a £40m deal with Bournemouth for Nathan Ake. It’s a move that doesn’t bode well for Liverpool right now.
The BBC says that City offered Bournemouth £40m for Ake and the Cherries accepted. The Dutchman, who has just gone down with Bournemouth, looks almost certain to play for City next season, then.
And that’s not great news for Liverpool. Not because Ake is a player who will revolutionise City and not because he’s a sensational player. He’s a very good player, though, with plenty of potential.
It’s not even because we recently suggested that Liverpool should try to sign him, either. Ake certainly ticks some boxes for the Reds, though – he’s experienced and capable of playing more than one position.
No, the problem is the fee. City reportedly hoped that Bournemouth would drop their £40m asking price after relegation. It appears that they didn’t, however – and that Ake is what you get for £40m now.
Liverpool will want a senior defender after Dejan Lovren left the club. As said, we hoped Ake could fill that void but only if his price dropped significantly.
£40m for a relegated defender is an awful lot of money, particularly in the current economic climate. It’s an amount of money that Liverpool just surely won’t consider spending on someone who, essentially, would be a fourth-choice centre-half.
And if this is the going rate for relegated players who aren’t quite elite, then Liverpool have to limit expectations. They’re simply not going to get a quality player for a reasonable fee, which is all they’ll want to pay.
Liverpool have two ways they can compromise on this one. They can either forgo experience and go for a very young defender who can play fourth-choice. Without the experience, their price will be far more reasonable.
The problem there is that both Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg are at the club. They’re two highly talented teenagers and signing someone to block their path makes little sense.
So perhaps the compromise is in talent, instead. Liverpool don’t necessarily need anyone outstanding for fourth-choice, just someone reliable.
Target experience, then. Someone who has a decent injury record and can fill a role without being exceptional. No, it won’t be a blockbuster transfer. No, it won’t be anyone to get excited about. It’s the sensible short-term choice, though.
Liverpool won’t get a very talented, experienced defender at a good age. Not for anything under £40m, it seems, as even a relegated player commands that fee.
City will have shopped about before striking the Ake deal – they found it to be the best they could do. It seems Liverpool will have to search a market below even that.