First up, Liverpool.
Liverpool spent heavily in 2017-18, using their Philippe Coutinho money to acquire Virgil van Dijk (£75 million), Alisson Becker (£66M), and Fabinho (£39M).
Despite hauling in another $90-100M for their UCL run this year, and setting profit records last year, early reports suggest Liverpool may only spend £20-25 million this summer (to be fair, other reports have them pegged around £100–so let’s assume it ends up somewhere in the middle).
What will it take to get Liverpool past FFP violating Manchester City domestically? Let’s go shopping!
Liverpool key needs:
- Attacking midfielder
- Winger / striker
Liverpool Summer Transfer Targets
Chops: Yeah, so, £20-25 million, really? On one hand, I don’t think Liverpool really need to do much. Jurgen Klopp reportedly just wants continuity, and I get it. No regulars on the squad (other than Boring James Milner) are over 28 years old. They get Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back. Rhian Brewster should be recovered from his ankle and knee injuries and ready to provide attacking depth. Ki-Jana Hoever already has a first-team start under his belt. Then there’s recently resigned DIVOCK ORIGI.
But on the other hand, buy errrrrrrybody.
Tyler: First of all, wow — cannot believe Milner is the only regular over 28. That is a terrifying thought for the rest of the EPL and Europe. I’m with Chops and Klopp on continuity being crucial for a team that is this good and has this level of chemistry. So the list of additions I’d suggest for the Reds will be short.
This season, as Chops has talked about several times, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been great flying up the wings from their positions in the back to help out the midfield (and pile up assists). But it would probably be nice to add some quality in the midfield itself, especially for games when TAA and Robbo have to play more conservatively. Could Ajax’s Donny van de Beek be a possible target? Transfermarkt pegged his value at $28.5M as of March 13 — a figure that has surely risen since — meaning he’ll cost a big chunk of what Liverpool have to spend. Another midfield target who’s probably completely unrealistic (but this isn’t called “Let’s be sensible!”) is Dele Alli. Is there any chance of that happening??
Chops: Donny van de Beek! I like it!
Katya: 20 to 25 million would be a surprisingly minimal budget for the Champions League finalists (and potential winners) but who can blame them after their huge shopping spree the summer before. Who I think would be fun to see join the Liverpool squad is another Ajax player – what about Hakim Ziyech? Granted, he’s valued close to $40 million but after Coutinho leaving to Barcelona, Liverpool’s midfield could benefit from a player like Ziyech. The Reds already have a deadly attacking trio – now, how about adding a midfielder who can open up the spaces for that trio?…that is unless Coutinho comes back…
Chops: No no no. We don’t want Coutinho back.
Let me just cyber-pillage Ajax even more and say–how about David Neres? He fits the age profile (22) and certainly provides the attacking muscle they need.
I’d love to see them go after Jadon Sancho. Yeah, he’d be all of their UCL money, but 1) that means Manchester United don’t get him, and 2) he’s a Manchester City cast-off, and it feels like we need our own version of what Raheem Sterling is to them.
Katya: Looking again at the midfield, another player that I think could help the Reds get over the Manchester City hump is Frenchman Nabil Fekir. Liverpool had almost acquired Fekir last summer and then, in dramatic fashion, pulled the plug at the very last minute. He went on to have another good season at Lyon as captain and, maybe this time, Liverpool is ready to acquire the 25 year old…he will also, however, come with a similarly hefty price as last year at around 53 million pounds.
Tyler: Sancho would be a fantastic addition. Otherwise, it’s hard to think of one player who could close the gap on the EPL champs, especially if they spend another £200M this summer. As Liverpool fans are painfully aware, they were historically good domestically this year. It’d be nice if replicating their 97-point output from this season would be enough. But City has now averaged 99 points per season the last two campaigns, so maybe Klopp’s team does need to add something. A year ago, it was obvious: they needed a better keeper and a more solid defense. A year later, thanks to Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, the to-do list is far less explicit.
I’ll be boring and say that running this back — though obviously some young, currently obscure players will join the fold at the bottom of the roster — is the way to go. I just don’t look at this roster and think, “Oh, if only they were better at this one spot, they would have avoided settling for several draws during that stretch from January 30-March 3.”
Chops: Is there any one Liverpool could and should ship out?
Tyler: He certainly is not a player this team “should ship out,” but Roberto Firmino has reportedly caught PSG’s attention. Chops, any concern he heads to Paris??
Chops: Bobby isn’t going anywhere. Between Katya’s “bring back Coutinho” and your “ship Firmino out” chatter…it’s like you want me to find new writers.
Tyler: On a more realistic note, left-back Alberto Moreno would not exactly be sorely missed, as he played less than 200 minutes this season, including both the EPL and UCL. Robbo is a tough guy to be stuck behind for anyone seeking to grow. At 26, and having been with Liverpool since ‘14-15, (not to mention his contract is up in June) Moreno will almost certainly be out the door this summer. As a Spanish national with prior experience at Sevilla, a move to La Liga seems like a good bet. But I don’t see any of Spain’s top clubs paying much for a player at his age who has been used sparingly — he made 14 EPL appearances in ‘17-18 — the last two years.
Chops: Tyler you’ve redeemed yourself with that Moreno comment.
Katya: Definitely agree with Tyler on Alberto Moreno – he’s had a bit of a weird time at Liverpool and he’s out of contract this summer anyways. Another interesting case is Adam Lallana. Back in 2017, he was one of Liverpool’s star players and one of Klopp’s most reliable men. He had his ups and downs but even towards the end of this season, he seemed to be on the up again (even being named man of the match against Burnley in mid-March)..and then he got injured…again. He’s over 30 now and he seems to be having way too many injury problems to stay consistent. This season he only played around 500 minutes and had only 6 starts. With all this being said, I don’t see the Englishman making it to the next season with Liverpool…but maybe he can win a Champions League final before his exit.
Chops: Katya…you had me at Moreno.
I hear you on Lallana. He was my personal favorite on the squad pre-Salah/Robbo. But he’s on the wrong end of his peak years, especially with the injuries. I’d hate to see him go but somebody has to leave Anfield if new players are coming up and in. Hey Stellar Group–you already represent Julian Gressel–so if you’re reading this, ship Lallan to Atlanta United. Great city. He’ll love it. Thanks.
Ok so wrapping this up: Liverpool should Viking raid the Ajax cupboards for Donny, Ziyech, Neres, or Matthijs de Ligt (ok ok ok we’re good at CB) while re-pursuing Fekir. In reality, just one of those targets along with a wingback to spell Robbo and TAA (Lucas Digne, anyone? same age as Robbo and in the lower end price range).
Just two of those moves keep them top 2 in the EPL and in the hunt for another Champions League run. Getting a healthy Ox and Brewster back are almost like new signings, and Ki-Jana Hoever will earn more first team reps next year as well. Liverpool are in a great spot for the next few years.