Liverpool have to make decisions on three players but the best options may cost them key transfers. There’s no easy way out, it seems.
There are three players at Liverpool with big question marks over their future. Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic top that list – both return from loans this summer and without obvious places in the squad.
Grujic, in particular, arrives back after a very productive two-year spell with Hertha BSC. He’s received plenty of praise in Germany and while the 24-year-old looks like a good candidate for Liverpool’s midfield, there simply isn’t space.
Wilson is more complicated. He scored seven goals from the wing for a relegated side but still didn’t quite meet expectations. He didn’t play more than 45 minutes after the restart, for instance, at a time where Bournemouth needed wins.
Still, seven goals in his debut Premier League campaign makes him an interesting player for any club. Not that we see any room at Anfield for the 23-year-old.
The third player who could leave is Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss winger barely played all season, starting just two Premier League and Champions League games combined. He only added six more substitute appearances. And with his reputation, there will be clubs looking at him.
Sell, stay, loan
The problem is the current market. Liverpool are highly unlikely to secure substantial amounts for three players without obvious futures. Doubts hang over all three – are they good enough for regular Premier League football, or in Shaqiri’s case, can he stay fit?
In a more concrete economic time, you could possibly find clubs to take risks on each. Liverpool reportedly wanted £28m for Shaqiri back in March – they surely won’t get that now. The crunch times will almost certainly cost Liverpool the transfer fees they wanted for all three.
So you keep them, right? Well, there isn’t really space. Shaqiri was barely playing anyway and the emergence of Harvey Elliott gives him competition when he didn’t need it. Then there are the likes of Curtis Jones taking away space that Grujic could have filled.
Loaning is the other option – and probably the most sensible one. The idea would be that Grujic and Wilson, in particular, can fetch higher fees in a year if they get a solid loan.
But that comes at the cost of this year.
Settling this summer
If Liverpool don’t sell, they’ll almost certainly have to settle for one transfer this summer. The Echo said in July that Liverpool have leeway for one and it would likely be a left-back.
The reported bid for Jamal Lewis adds truth to that but Norwich City rejected it. They appear to want more than £10m and do Liverpool have the funds for that?
Lewis supposedly isn’t the only target either. The Echo claims that the Reds are looking at both Ben White and Ismaila Sarr, too. Those two won’t come cheap, though.
Brighton reportedly rejected a £22m bid from Leeds United for White. Sarr may cost over that, too. With Lewis costing towards £20m on top, how can Liverpool afford it?
One answer would be to sell Grujic, Wilson and Shaqiri. Add those the Dejan Lovren transfer and Liverpool may afford the cost of three transfers.
But that was before the economic collapse. They may now have to settle for loan deals, meaning they won’t get the income they hoped for. And without it, we just can’t see three signings – especially at the numbers mentioned.
If Liverpool choose to loan their players out this summer, it will come at the cost of their transfer plans. Unfortunately, it’s still probably the best decision.