Liverpool Transfers: 5 Alternatives for the Reds If They Fail to Land Nuri Sahin
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Rodgers has already brought in Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi this summer but the Reds still need further reinforcements after seeing five senior players leave the club permanently this window.
Sahin's ability to play different roles in the team from the centre of midfield, his experience in winning major trophies and his on-the-ball class would all be of huge benefit to Liverpool—but it looked over the weekend as though he was increasingly headed for London instead, to Arsenal.
More recent media reports, however, have the Sahin move stalling yet again, so it still could be a transfer within Liverpool's reach.
On the chance that Liverpool don't get their man, here are five alternatives for Brendan Rodgers to consider.
Miralem Pjanic, A.S. Roma
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First up is a player Liverpool have already faced this season, albeit in the environment of preseason friendlies.
Roma's Miralem Pjanic is a talented footballer, capable of playing a central midfield role or, which he favours, a slightly more advanced playmaking role.
Adept with either foot and blessed with a great range of passing, Pjanic is also good at making up the extra number in the opposition penalty area, though scores typically only around three goals per season in the league.
He has only been with Roma for a single season and would likely cost a hefty amount to sign, perhaps in the region of the £15 million that Liverpool recently paid for Joe Allen.
Esteban Granero, Real Madrid
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Bit-part Real Madrid player Esteban Granero has had his links with Liverpool previously and is a competent midfielder who excels in operating in open midfield spaces, spreading play wide and looking to link up with the attackers just outside the penalty box.
Granero has featured in only around half of Real's league matches in the past two seasons and might be persuaded that his future would be best served by doubling his tally of matches with another team.
Strong but not a particularly physical player, Granero certainly has the technical capability to fit into a Rodgers team and works hard for the cause, but Real Madrid might not be so open to the idea of letting a second midfielder leave the club in the space of a few days—if Sahin does depart, of course.
Tom Huddlestone, Tottenham Hotspur
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Current Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone is slowly returning to action after missing almost the entirety of last season with injury.
A deeper-lying midfielder than the previous names on this list, Huddlestone nontheless can control a game with his tempo and range of passing. Equally adept with either foot, Huddlestone also possesses a thunderous shot from distance.
Huddlestone is not the quickest but is positionally intelligent and his deeper role in the team would not necessitate the same quick pressing demanded of the other central midfielders.
As an option instead of Lucas, or alongside him in a two-man defensive midfield shield, Huddlestone could be a surprisingly good fit for the Reds given his ability to retain possession and break forward from deep unexpectedly.
Ki Sung-Yueng, Celtic
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Ki has been a successful part of Celtic's team for two-and-a-half seasons but has made it known he wishes to move on now; perhaps this can be attributed to the apparent lack of competition in the Scottish Premier League following Rangers' demise.
At just 23 years old Ki represents current ability and the potential for improvement, something Rodgers has clearly identified as a key factor in his signings for Liverpool.
Passing range, energy and an ability to press and tackle quickly between both penalty boxes are some of Ki's best attributes.
Jonjo Shelvey, Liverpool
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Liverpool's own young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is the fifth and final option.
Shelvey is already almost assured of playing some part for Liverpool this season at least, after impressing late last term in an under-performing side and taking his total Reds appearances to over the 30 mark.
A fine performance and goal against Chelsea in particular was memorable for the dynamic 20-year-old.
At present he is arguably the Reds' fifth choice central midfielder after Lucas, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson, but ahead of Jay Spearing and Charlie Adam.
Bringing in an additional player such as Sahin would almost certainly see the latter two names leave the club, or at least be regarded as immediately dispensable, but would also knock Shelvey back to sixth choice.
With the Reds deploying three of those in every game, six is certainly the number they need for four competitions, but Shelvey has proven over the past few months, and especially in preseason, that he is up for the challenge and ready to showcase his Premier League-level ability as often as possible.
His tenacious tackling needs to be reigned in somewhat as he can be over-zealous in his desire to win back possession, but his hunger and energy are exactly what Liverpool need in midfield allied to the passing, control and technique which needs to come as standard in all Reds from this point onwards.
Capable of playing as a true central midfielder or a more advanced player to break into the box, Shelvey has a genuine chance of making himself an important player for Liverpool this season if given a chance.
If he is given opportunity to shine by Rodgers, expect him to be full of fire—and he could end up saving the club a lot of money in the transfer market.