Liverpool Transfer Rumours: Calling Fact or Fiction on the January Gossip
It's the time of week again when we take a look at the latest transfer rumours surrounding Liverpool Football Club and call fact or fiction on them to see whether the names linked with moves to or from Anfield have any real chance of coming to fruition.
As always, there is no shortage of column inches in papers and on the web trying to link Brendan Rodgers, the Reds manager, with new players to strengthen his side.
There can be little doubt that Liverpool need to bring in one or two new players, but the names of those who will actually arrive are still unclear.
Here are the latest—and the lingering—names being rumoured to interest the club as well as whether they have a chance of being fact or will ultimately prove to be pure media fiction.
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Darren Bent courts transfer rumours almost every summer and every winter.
Maybe it's because he scores goals and there's always a team or two with a shortage of them—and Liverpool certainly come into that category more often than not recently—or maybe it's just because that's the kind of player he is.
Bent has never stayed at a club for more than three seasons since his first full campaign as a professional; he just always seems to need to move on and play for a team he perceives as better.
Clearly, it doesn't always quite work out that way.
The Daily Mail has Bent interesting Liverpool in a move in January to relieve the goalscoring burden off the shoulders of Luis Suarez.
Bent is continually linked with the Reds, but not since the days of Gerard Houllier would he realistically be suited to the style of play Liverpool have employed. Now, with the passing and continual movement emphasised by Brendan Rodgers, Bent is less suited than ever.
His game is based on pace in behind the defence, quick runs into the channel where he can drive in at goal with the defenders back-tracking and not needing to be involved in much, if any, build-up work.
This is not the kind of striker Liverpool need.
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Another long-running transfer saga is the supposed one which ends with Theo Walcott finally securing a move to Liverpool.
With a winding-down contract and the player out of favour in the starting line-up, the media have been quick to link the England international with a move away.
Fox Sports looks at Walcott as just one of the Reds' prime targets this winter.
It could be fact. Could be.
Walcott isn't looking any closer to signing a new contract with Arsenal, and his deal runs out in just seven or eight months. Technically, in January he can begin talking to certain other teams about a free transfer move.
Walcott plays wide forward, a role which would suit the formation Rodgers prefers, but he also wants to play centre forward. Does he have the attributes required?
Well, yes, except for showing it consistently.
Walcott can score goals, has pace to burn and is a decent instinctive finisher. But he's never had a run of games in that central striker's role. Also, the amounts of money he is asking for might not be the same as Rodgers values him at—and the manager has already shown he is not prepared to go over the price he thinks is right and fair.
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Onto a player of a similar ilk to Walcott in Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge.
Mirror Football have Liverpool interested in a loan move with a view to buy again this winter, similar to the move which was mooted in the summer just past.
On that occasion nothing came to pass, but with Sturridge barely featuring for Chelsea since then and Liverpool desperate for numbers and quality in the final third, the rumour has reared its head again.
This one looks to be a rumour which could run and run before finally being pushed through late on in the window when all parties realise this is about the best they are going to do at present.
Sturridge, like Walcott, wants to play centrally. Crucially, he already has significant experience in this area and has proven himself as a goalscorer, if not endlessly consistent, when in that role.
If the Reds are offered a low-enough permanent deal it is likely Rodgers will take it; otherwise he will certainly be interested in the loan-to-buy route.
Convincing Sturridge that the switch will serve him best might be the most tricky part of the deal.
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Celtic's first choice striker and England hopeful international Gary Hooper is one of the latest names to be linked to Liverpool.
With Rangers not in the SPL this season, it is a division which lacks serious competition for the biggest remaining club and this, along with supposed stalled contract talks, is a reason for the media claiming Hooper is ready to look elsewhere to further his career.
Sky Sports have Celtic manager Neil Lennon claiming the rumour is just not happening, however.
Hooper might not cost the earth and is handy on the goal trail, but too much about his game does not scream top-flight class.
There is also the consideration that, strength of opposition aside, some Celtic players have the chance to make themselves real club heroes over the next few years by scoring vast numbers of goals and racking up the trophy wins.
Either way, there seem to be others about who fit the Liverpool needs better than the former Scunthorpe man.
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The final of five attackers to be looked at is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, currently of Schalke in Germany.
Having scored reams of goals in Holland, Huntelaar didn't quite find his scoring boots enough for the coaches' liking at Real Madrid or AC Milan, but 48 goals in 47 matches last season, in all competitions, indicate that he is back to his best.
Huntelaar might not turn out to be the Reds' first choice in the next window, but if they fail to secure said attacker—be it Sturridge or someone else—then Huntelaar might make a great back-up plan.
The Dutch striker knows how to put the ball in the net from any range and any angle and has also already played with Luis Suarez before.
During the 2007-08 season, Suarez and Huntelaar scored 50 league goals between them for Ajax.
How Liverpool would love to renew a partnership with that kind of prolific outlook.