Liverpool FC Probably Won't Sign Lionel Messi This Summer, But They Could Sign Javi Martinez, The Man to Messi's Right
Liverpool FC are set to sign some big-name players in the summer transfer window, with their Carling Cup win seeing them to return to European football in the UEFA Europa League at the least.
As the Reds director of football Damien Comolli said, the Anfield club are a more attractive outfit now that they have a trophy and European competition once again.
Of course, if the club were to win the FA Cup and qualify for the UEFA Champions League, their stock would rise immeasurably and the likes of Eden Hazard or Edinson Cavani would be realistic targets.
However, given Liverpool's performances this season and how they fortuitously beat Cardiff City at Wembley, that outcome is far from certain.
And so if the club were to end the season as they currently stand, players like the Lille superstar and Napoli striking sensation would be highly unlikely arrivals on Merseyside this summer.
Nonetheless, Liverpool will still be able to attract big-name stars, and here are 10 who could sign on the back of that Carling Cup victory.
Javi Martinez (right)
Heavily linked with an Anfield move, Martinez fits the bill of the type of player the Reds are seeking—young, excellent resale value, very good technical ability, can hit long passes as well as short passes and is great defensively.
And positionally, he's perfect, as the Reds are in search of a top-quality holding midfielder to play alongside or even replace Lucas Leiva.
With two great holding midfield options, Kenny Dalglish will have the tactical flexibility he hasn't been afforded this season.
Expect Liverpool to make a huge push to sign Martinez this summer, something that is quite possible given their prestige, financial power and promise of European football.
Touted alongside Javi Martinez for a Liverpool transfer, FC Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita is exactly what the Reds need to progress as a team.
An adaptable central midfielder, Keita is an experienced winner with great leadership, and also leads by example with his stellar technical ability and professional performances.
In a squad (and midfield) lacking experienced trophy winners besides Steven Gerrard, Keita is a brilliant option for Liverpool.
As such, the club will no doubt make a concerted effort to sign the Mali talisman.
John W. Henry will no doubt want exciting, all-action young players to make Liverpool an improved attacking force on the pitch, and a much more marketable one off it.
That's clearly why Eden Hazard is on Liverpool's transfer window wish list.
However, it is highly unlikely the Reds will be able to sign Hazard, therefore they'll clearly have to look for alternatives.
Gaston Ramirez, the Bologna playmaker exciting Serie A audiences, fits the bill completely.
Linked with a £15 million move to Anfield, the 22-year-old is definitely one of a number of players the club will try, and are able, to sign.
With wide players like Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy aging, and Stewart Downing not performing up to standard, Liverpool will no doubt be in for a winger this summer.
A lack of European football was quite possibly a previous sticking point in this transfer failing to happen.
Now that that's out of the equation and new owners are in with a lot of money to spend, 22-year-old Marin, dubbed the German Lionel Messi, might see it as the right time to move to Anfield.
And as far as Damien Comolli is concerned, the 16-capped Germany international is the type of winger the team have lacked this season—brilliantly accurate with the cross, with a great eye for the key pass.
Liverpool have lacked a winger to create chances this season, but more than anything they've lacked a prolific striker to tuck them away.
Andy Carroll is still obviously struggling psychologically with that £35 million price tag, while Luis Suarez is finding his playing style doesn't get him as many goals in the Premier League as it did in the Eredivisie.
And behind those two, the Reds don't have an established, full-time centre-forward, so they could clearly do with more depth in that area.
Leandro Damiao, linked with a move to Anfield, fits Liverpool's bill completely—he's prolific (40 goals in 51 games in 2011), seeks to finish off chances more than create them (unlike Suarez and Carroll), and is young at 22 with excellent resale value.
Given he'll have the chance to prove himself on the European stage as well as the Premier League stage with a club well-known in Brazil, a move to Liverpool is now a serious possibility for Leandro Damiao.
Radamel Falcao isn't a player currently linked with Liverpool, but the Atletico Madrid striker is one they might very well seek to sign this summer.
Just like Leandro Damiao, Falcao is exactly what the Reds need, and the Anfield board may try to tempt the 26-year-old to follow in the footsteps of Fernando Torres and become a legendary striker at Liverpool, using him as the spearhead in their plans to win the Europa League.
After all, Falcao was the Europa League top-scorer last season for an FC Porto side managed by Andre Villas-Boas, with a whopping 18 goals in 16 games.
Plus, if Falcao was to leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this campaign, if Liverpool wanted him they could get refusal on his services, given the strong relationship the two clubs have enjoyed recently.
And seeing as the Reds are now a trophy-winning club fighting for European honours again, a move to the prestigious and financially powerful Liverpool might appeal to the Colombian.
He'd make a great signing in central midfield alongside Charlie Adam or Steven Gerrard, giving balance to the side with his box-to-box style, while his ability on the wing—defensively and going forward—would make him a great depth player in a team lacking exactly that.
And whilst the player himself might not be getting the UEFA Champions League football he's in line for at Udinese, the prospect of playing for one of the world's most prestigious teams who are on the rise—and of course the chance for a pay raise—could be hard to resist.
The 22-year-old has been one of the finest defenders in Ligue 1 throughout the campaign, and has been crucial in his team's stunning success this season.
Liverpool need to bolster their defence ahead of the new campaign, and with Damien Comolli's expertise in the French market, a switch to Anfield could be very much in the pipeline.
And the promise of competitive European football (Montpellier won't last long if they do qualify for the Champions League) could see the versatile defender chose the Reds over other interested suitors like Newcastle United.
The 24-year-old playmaker is effectively an older and less well-known version of Gaston Ramirez, and would certainly cost less money.
Therefore, he's a player highly likely to sign for Liverpool, given they need quite a few attacking options ahead of a busier campaign next season. He's also more likely to get first-team football at Anfield than Chelsea or Arsenal, and would no doubt prefer a move to the Reds over Newcastle.
But it's the more experienced of Basel's burgeoning young trio, Fabian Frei, they will probably target most.
The Reds have been linked with a £9 million swoop for the 22-year-old central playmaker, who has three goals and an assist in the Champions League this season.
Out of any youngster Liverpool could sign in the summer, Frei would probably be the best option to take the Reds forward in Europe given his experience, while his style and overall game would fit in perfectly with the team's style—providing them with something they've lacked this term.