Liverpool FC: 4 Transfer Targets for 4 Transfer Days, Fund Raising
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With the final acts of the transfer window set to play in the next few days, there have been a flurry of reports suggesting Liverpool are shopping a number of their assets.
Before we get into who and how much, let's ask why.
Poor Conversion Rate
If the encouraging showing against Manchester City is any indication of things to come from the Brendan Rodgers era, then a few positions need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
There were chances-a-plenty at Anfield on Sunday, but the finishing saw only three out of 16 strikes on frame. One chief concern Rodgers needs to address is to find a center forward with the ability to convert more of those chances into shots-on-goal.
A team can have 100 shots in a game, but it's shots-on-goal that matter, nothing else. The more shots-on-goal you have, the higher the probability of scoring becomes.
Freeing up some funds would go a long way for Rodgers to secure a front man with a high conversion rate by Friday. Depending on how much he can get through sales and a bit more allowance from Fenway Sports Group, the possibilities of signing a top-shelf striker are intriguing.
The other gap that needs to be addressed before the window closes is depth, and quality depth at that. Rodgers has already started this process with the signings of Fabio Borini, Oussama Assaidi and the most recent loan acquisition of Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid.
Unfortunately, Borini still hasn't fully grasped the Premier League's style of play yet. There's no reason to believe he won't, as he shows signs of promise, but it's a process to acclimate a player to the EPL. Borini has a head start given his brief history with Chelsea at the start of his career and Swansea in the Championship before they were promoted.
Assaidi looks promising and certainly has the skill set Rodgers would like to apply on the wing, but at £3 million, the Moroccan international amounts to nothing more than a low-risk-high-reward gamble. He will likely get his EPL start come September, but by that time it will be too late to bring in more depth if the payoff isn't there with him.
Nuri Sahin is by far the most promising signing of the lot thus far. The midfielder has experience playing in top European sides, and his presence in the center of the pitch will pay dividends. We may see him start as soon as the second Europa leg with Hearts this Thursday. .
UPDATE/EDIT - Joe Allen
A disgruntled reader posted that I forgot to mention Joe Allen. He is absolutely right, it was a gross oversight on my part. Firstly, I would like to apologize to readers.
Secondly, let's talk about Joe Allen. The 22-year-old followed Rodgers from Swansea and has, as expected, fit right into the Norther Irishman's plans. If the two EPL matches he's played in so far are any indication of things to come, Liverpool's midfield is set for years to come.
As pointed out by my disgruntled reader, Allen has completed an astonishing 96 out of 100 passes in just 112 minutes of play. He is very much the facilitator in the midfield for Liverpool, and his shifts in the center of the pitch have been tremendous thus far.
It's becoming more and more apparent with each minute Stewart Downing spends on the pitch that he will never be a premiere force on the wing in this league. He simply doesn't have it, and if he hasn't gotten it by now, there's no reason to believe he will any time soon.
Luis Suarez is being pegged as the center forward to start in matches, and is being moved to the wing as players get subbed in. He is much better suited to cut in from the wings and take on defenders at an angle, rather than taking them head on from a central position. Until depth concerns are addressed, Suarez's potential will remain untapped as long as he's being utilized out of his natural position.
As you can see, depth on the wings is still a concern, and even though Raheem Sterling impressed beyond anyone's expectations, the rest of the wingers on the squad leave something to be desired
Warnings: The next few slides are a long list of constant underachievers. They are not recommended for faint of heart.
Andy Carroll Returning to Newcastle?
It's a shame this highlight video couldn't be longer. Blame the lack of material.
One of the biggest sellers of the lot would be Andy Carroll. Rodgers has been reluctant to sell the lad for less than £20 million, given that his cost was £35 million.
Newcastle have made no intent to hide their desire to bring back their hero of seasons past, but an appalling initial offer of £12 million has been referred to as "a liberty" by Rodgers.
The latest on the big Geordie has Alan Pardew and Newcastle management tabling a "final" £17 million bid, according to People.co.uk.
If a serious offer of that amount comes Rodgers way, he'll have to give it fair consideration. As it stands, Newcastle don't need Carroll as much as Liverpool can't afford to have him riding the bench for most of this season.
Is Sunderland Plotting the Return of Jordan Henderson?
Unfortunately, Reds fans were not privy enough to witness such feats at Anfield.
In the same article referring to Carroll's potential move, People.co.uk have suggested that Sunderland may be preparing a bid to bring back Jordan Henderson. They were mum as to the amount.
Transfermarkt lists Henderson's value at £13 million, not quite the £20 million the Reds paid Sunderland a little more than a year ago. But these are desperate times, and if Henderson won't get any significant play time beyond Europa and other Cup play, then he's certainly expendable.
That said, Rodgers has been impressed with the young midfielder before, so he might be able to get a better rate for him if Sunderland are serious.
Joe Cole Never Misses an Opportunity to Underwhelm
Joe Cole never quite replicated his success with Chelsea at Liverpool.
A number of rumor-mills and news sites, such as Metro, have reported that Rodgers is looking to offload Joe Cole.
Transfermarkt lists Cole's value at £6.6 million. Half of that would be a blessing and likely a welcome offer.
The often underwhelming Joe Cole has no spot in Rodgers' plans for the future, beyond perhaps a "£" sign with not enough zeroes at the end.
With Cole at this point in his career, there is no reason to keep the 30-year-old under-achiever around. If Rodgers gets a half-way decent offer for him, expect him to sell.
Charlie Adam's Most Useful Move
Good memories, wrong pool. Enough said.
The often clumsy Charlie Adam has been linked with a possible trade and cash move to Fulham, who have expressed interest in the past. The move would involve Adam going to Fulham and recently-estranged American Clint Dempsey coming to Liverpool.
With the Dempsey saga at Craven Cottage all but fully played out, Fulham can and should gain something from the debacle.
If Adam figures into their plans, they would be wise to take Adam and the right amount of cash now for Dempsey, or get nothing for him in a year.
While this move won't net Liverpool any cash, it would secure a summer-long target in Dempsey, who's potential worth to Liverpool has been outlined here.
Jay Spearing Can Find Worth at Bolton
At 23, Spearing still has time to develop.
It's hard not to like Jay Spearing. He's been a part of Liverpool since before he was 10 years old.
His time as a Red might be coming to an end. He showed moments of promise in some fixtures last season, but in those same fixtures he also proved that he's just not up to the task yet.
Bolton Wanderers have emerged as front runners in the one-team race for the less-than-exciting prospect. Setanta Sports reported on Saturday that their bid of £1.5 million had been rejected, and that Liverpool were holding out for £3 million.
That means there is some traction there, and we should see a deal cut sometime this week, as Bolton need to sign a holding midfielder, and Spearing would be huge for them comparatively.
Is Daniel Agger Expendable?
Finally, actual Liverpool highlights.
Daniel Agger has been the subject of much debate this summer. Manchester City have tried to play down their interest in the Danish captain, but they did table an official bid at one time, according to The Guardian.
It would appear they're at it again, and the offer might be too compelling. If the offer is in the neighborhood of £25 million, the decision might be out of Rodgers' hands, says The Guardian.
A sale would certainly bring enough funds to make a serious move for the Reds, but would the trade off be worth it?
It's hard to say, because we're not sure exactly how the proceeds would be spent. If Sebastian Coates' performance against Manchester City, while Agger served his suspension, is any indication, it might not be too bad. We won't know until the hypothetical proceeds are spent.
If Rodgers is forced to sell Agger, he may also have some leverage with Fenway Sports Group to allow additional proceeds to bring in a top-shelf striker like Edinson Cavani.
It might not be the cleanest way to address the club's needs of a goal-scorer, but it might end up being the only way. Time will tell, and the next few days are guaranteed to be exciting, controversial and at times, heart-breaking. For players, for fans and even for managers.