Since taking over in January 2011, Kenny Dalglish has presided over a net spend of almost £50 million, with three of his signings—Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and Stewart Downing—gatecrashing Liverpool’s top five transfer fees paid chart (Jordan Henderson has the potential, with add-ons, to become his fourth).
John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group have been generous, to say the least, in affording the Liverpool management with a substantial transfer budget.
But Dalglish’s best signings have arguably been his least costly: Craig Bellamy was brought in from Manchester City on a free transfer, while Jose Enrique from Newcastle cost a tidy £5 million.
In the spirit of Financial Fair Play, I submit to you (and to Dalglish and his Director of Football Damien Comolli, if they’re interested as well) a list of six players whose contracts will be up this summer—meaning that they can be picked up for free.
As usual, feel free to have your say in the comments below.
Easily the most exciting and most prominent (by way of constant rumors) on this list, Junior Hoilett would represent an absolute coup for Liverpool.
Linked strongly with a transfer to Liverpool or Tottenham this past January, Hoilett has been a bright light in Blackburn Rovers’ otherwise disappointing Premier League campaign.
Equipped with pace, trickery and an eye for goal, the Canadian-born wideman has lit up Ewood Park this season—and has made his way onto FIFA’s Players to Watch in 2012 list.
A bright future beckons for Hoilett as he surely moves on from Blackburn this summer, and Liverpool would do well to clinch his signing.
With a great engine, pace and strength, Diame is an important catalyst of Wigan attacks with his drive from midfield.
Strong in the tackle and comfortable in possession, he epitomizes the hardworking defensive midfield position while also possessing the attributes to succeed with a bigger club.
Diame would be a tailor-made stand-in for or complement to Lucas Leiva in the Liverpool midfield.
Another player to have been linked to Liverpool previously, Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega has also attracted interest from Tottenham and Arsenal.
Despite enduring a barren season by his standards, Rodallega is Wigan’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League, and possesses pace, strength and flair to match.
Comfortable on the wing or up front, Rodallega’s strength is his versatility, and he is also one of Wigan’s primary set-piece takers.
With Luis Suarez among a host of attacking options, Rodallega would almost certainly not be a consistent starter in Dalglish’s first team, but he would make for a decent attacking option off the bench.
Strongly linked with a move to AC Milan this summer, Riccardo Montolivo’s signature might be difficult to secure, but Liverpool should make a right go at it anyway.
The “new Andrea Pirlo” might be 27 already, but he’s been one of the highest-rated midfielders in Italy’s Serie A for some time.
Having been transformed from an attacking player adopting a Steven Gerrard-type position, Montolivo now occupies the deep-lying regista role, much like former Liverpool favorite Xabi Alonso, with an eye for a pass and the composure to control the flow of a game.
Whether or not the Liverpool hierarchy have been discouraged by Alberto Aquilani’s failure to settle in England, though, is another factor that might affect their interest in Montolivo.
Inter Milan defender Cristian Chivu, already linked with Liverpool last summer, is one of Romanian football’s biggest names.
A cultured defender who excels at dribbling, passing and anticipation in the style of Liverpool’s own Daniel Agger, Chivu would be a more than able stand-in for the injury-prone Dane.
Aged 31, he has had considerable experience at the top level, having enjoyed distinguished careers with Ajax, Roma and now Inter, and he is equally comfortable in the center or on the left.
Chivu is by no means an option for the future, but his experience and ability would provide quality defensive cover for Liverpool.
Tranquillo Barnetta is yet another established name who has versatility in abundance.
Equally adept on the wings, as a fullback or as a defensive midfielder, Barnetta has been an important member of the Leverkusen squad since his transfer from St. Gallen.
Barnetta made his preference to leave Leverkusen known last summer and was linked with a switch to highflying Newcastle, but that transfer didn’t materialize, and he hasn’t been granted playing time at the BayerArena this season.
The Swiss international, who scored a brace against England last June, would make a cost-efficient and versatile squad member for the Reds.
Our final name on this list is Peruvian winger Jefferson Farfan, who currently plays for German club Schalke 04.
Farfan has scored two goals and provided three assists in 11 league games this season, and he counts dribbling, crossing and passing amongst his strongest attributes.
Having racked up over 220 appearances and almost 80 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie and the Bundesliga over the course of his European career, Farfan is at a near-peak age of 27.
With Liverpool crying out loud for more goalscoring and creative threat from the wings after a host of subpar performances from their wingers this season, Farfan would be a decent option—made all the more attractive given his Bosman status.
Of course, bigger names such as Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa and Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov are also nearing the end of their contracts, but I do not feel they would be good signings for Liverpool.
While the names suggested in this list might not walk into the Liverpool starting 11, they would definitely provide quite decent cover all the pitch.
The buzzword when it comes to Premier League squads these days is “depth”—and these players would certainly add to Liverpool’s squad depth.
As Liverpool fans look forward to another summer of eventful dealings, perhaps these low-cost signings would make equally exciting additions as potential big-name arrivals.
Do you agree with this list? Did I miss out on any names? Share your picks and comments below.
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