Liverpool will have to consider English transfers above all this summer. It would make life a lot easier.
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool don’t need a ‘massive rebuild’ this summer. And he’s right – they don’t. But they will need to make a few transfers.
There’s no way around that. The squad is ageing in key areas and Liverpool can’t afford to let things lie for too long. Otherwise, that becomes a serious problem that they’ll struggle to correct.
But there’s a problem – squad restrictions.
A Premier League squad can be up to 25 players. Technically, it can be more than that as you don’t have to register players under 21 years old.
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You’re only allowed a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players in that squad, though. Liverpool are pushing that limit.
Alisson, Adrian, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum, Thiago, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane all tick that box.
That’s 16. Then there’s Takumi Mimamino, who may come back. If he does, there will be no room for more foreign players. Same goes for Marko Grujic, currently with FC Porto.
Now, we expect Grujic and Wijnaldum to leave. Still, that only opens one more spot for next season, as the former isn’t registered right now – Liverpool could only bring in one foreign player.
Then it comes down to who else could leave. Origi? Shaqiri? Adrian? Maybe one of the front-three? Liverpool would have to move these players on just to make room for foreign signings.
There’s an upcoming problem, too. Liverpool can register 25 players, 17 foreign, leaving room for eight homegrown players who must be included.
Liverpool are currently at eight. The problem is that both Curtis Jones and Neco Williams have their places because they’re under 21. That won’t last forever.
The club will have to make room for them soon and they’ll want to. Having long-standing homegrown players is a wonderful thing. Alexander-Arnold, Jones and Williams could offer guaranteed spots for a decade.
Same with Harvey Elliott, one day soon.
But Liverpool will have to strongly consider English transfers this summer, just to rule out this all becoming a massive problem soon. Perhaps it’s as simple as bringing in a homegrown goalkeeper for Adrian.
Whatever the plan, English players will have to take some sort of precedent here. It’s the only way to guarantee you’re not back into a corner.