David James says he isn’t sure if reported transfer target Raphinha is as good as Liverpool’s current attacking options.
Speaking to ggrecon.com, James said that given the way Liverpool operate in the transfer window, they may have different options up their sleeve.
“I like Raphinha. He’s on nine goals this season,” said the former Liverpool goalkeeper.
“The one thing that sort of concerns me about him already being linked to Liverpool is that usually you don’t know who Liverpool are going to sign until they sign.”
We can see where James is coming from with this one. Liverpool tend to act quickly and decisively in the transfer market with little pre-warning that a move is coming.
The links to Raphinha have been rumbling along since towards the start of this season. In that sense it could be seen as the rumours being purely a bargaining chip for his agents to force other club’s hands.
Improving what we have
James is also of the opinion that Raphinha may not be an upgrade, or even comparable to the options Liverpool currently have up-front.
“That Liverpool front four or five, whatever you want to call it, is he the same, is he better? Under Jurgen Klopp and in that environment, would he get better? Possibly,” said the pundit.
“If it is true, I think the price would be the key indicator on that one.”
The price has previously been said by Fabrizio Romano to be a pretty healthy looking £60m. We don’t know if Jurgen Klopp shares James’ opinion that there are question marks over whether he can reach the level of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and the rest.
But if the coach does have doubts then there’s simply no way that Liverpool would go for Raphinha in the first place. Let alone spend that kind of money on him.
Comparisons to Diaz
One player who has come in and instantly improved Klopp’s options is Luis Diaz. The Colombian was one of those players who Liverpool acted quickly to sign in last January’s transfer window.
James thinks that Raphinha still has a way to go to prove that he can be on the same level as Liverpool’s new number 23.
“I like him but again, when you look at Luis Diaz, who is a sensational signing, is Raphinha as good as him? I don’t think so at the moment,” said James.
“It’s whether he can be better than that. I think with Diaz you already had a superstar who came in and continued to be a superstar. Raphinha is a slightly different model I would argue.”
It’s arguable that Diaz was already a superstar when signing for Liverpool. Yes, he had been having a brilliant season with Porto, but that doesn’t mean that he was destined to slot so comfortably into Liverpool’s team.
More likely is that Klopp’s team of scouts identified the player as one who could fit into their system like a glove.
For our money, Raphinha looks to be a similar player to Diaz. He enjoys taking players on and beating them with pace and trickery.
Plus, he already has two years of Premier League experience under his belt. If Liverpool can whittle the price-tag down to something more manageable, we think the Brazilian would be a super signing.
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