As we enter November, we approach the final two months of 2012’s Premier League action, before once again we return to that favorite crazy part of football: the transfer window.
It’s no secret that Liverpool need to strengthen, especially since their Clint Dempsey/Andy Carroll debacle towards the tail-end of the summer transfer window, and reports are already starting to surface linking this striker and that midfielder to Anfield in January.
But we all know that any business done in January is mostly overpriced (Newcastle’s Papiss Demba Cisse and Everton’s Nikica Jelavic last winter aside).
Which brings us to next summer.
Yup, in the aftermath of Liverpool’s fiery and controversial 2-2 draw in the 219th Merseyside Derby this weekend, we at Bleacher Report are already looking at transfer targets for the Reds next summer.
So, without further ado, here are six players Liverpool should be looking at next summer.
Why not start with the big one?
All throughout this past summer, Fernando Llorente was linked with a move away from Athletic Bilbao after his goal-scoring exploits in both La Liga and the Europa League.
So much so that he eventually demanded a move away from Bilbao, only for nothing to materialize.
While his name has already been linked with a variety of clubs this winter, the reality is that an extra half-year’s wait would probably land Liverpool a better deal and a comfortable preseason schedule for Llorente to bed in at Anfield.
There’s not much that needs to be elaborated on why Liverpool should be looking at someone of Llorente’s talent either, such is the current exasperating lack of goals in the side.
With the likes of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who is 30, linked with a move to Liverpool this January as a quick-fix striking option (via the Daily Mail), 27-year-old Llorente would be a great addition regardless of Huntelaar’s status—and not one that would be totally out of reach.
If not Huntelaar or Llorente, then definitely Edin Dzeko, who is kicking his heels on the Manchester City bench despite his obvious goal-scoring talent.
For a player now termed Roberto Mancini’s “super-sub,” Dzeko’s record for City has been quite impressive: 21 goals in 52 games, and that’s including that six-month “flop” period reserved for a former Bundesliga top scorer.
(Interestingly, that same period is still going on for a former World Cup-winning Spanish striker and an erstwhile “new Alan Shearer,” but that discussion is better left for another day.)
Either way, an unhappy international-class striker wanting to leave for an ambitious club hoping to get back into the Champions League…sounds pretty good for all parties concerned.
Next up, a midfield option in Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan.
Make no mistake, unlike Llorente and Dzeko’s respective situations at Bilbao and Manchester, Turan is very much firmly embedded into the first-team setup under Diego Simeone and will be extremely hard to prise away from Madrid.
That said, it is easy to see why Turan should be a top target for Brendan Rodgers and co.
Versatile, hardworking and talented, Turan would be an excellent addition all across the midfield; he also has the ability to play anywhere across Rodgers’ front three.
Liverpool have recently been linked with Turan (via talkSPORT), and with Turan rumored to be a Reds fan as well, he could well form an impressive partnership with compatriot Nuri Sahin at Anfield next season, if Jose Mourinho is willing to let the latter leave Real Madrid on a permanent basis.
Now let’s consider a couple of options in defence.
So far, while Daniel Agger has been his usual impressive and imperious self in the heart of the Reds defence, his partner Martin Skrtel hasn’t yet lived up to his Player of the Season form of 2011-2012.
With Sebastian Coates continuing to serve as third-choice defender and no other realistic option in the side (Liverpool are stacked in the full-back areas, though), perhaps some strengthening should be done in the center of defence.
Indeed, Caulker was rumored to be a Liverpool target this summer (via the Daily Mail), only for Andre Villas-Boas to keep him as a stand-in for the injured Younes Kaboul.
If Kaboul comes back into the team as first choice, that leaves Caulker with plenty to ponder.
A reunion with old boss Rodgers at Anfield might just do the business.
And if Caulker doesn’t work out, Kyriakos Papadopoulos is another young center-back who would fit the youth-based policy at Anfield.
Interestingly, he is the youngest player on this list (by just a matter of days) but might represent the most ambitious target for Liverpool, such is Papadopoulos’ reputation in Europe.
His performances for Schalke 04 and for Greece in Euro 2012 this summer have firmly cemented him as a future world-class central defender, and he has been linked with a variety of top clubs around Europe.
There is also the small matter of him signing a new contract earlier this season.
But provided that Rodgers steers Liverpool into a decent position by the end of the season and his team have shown good steady improvement, what a message the Reds would send across Europe if they manage to bring in Papadopoulos!
To round off the list, we have Christian Eriksen, who recently denied speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool (via the Daily Mail), which really means that he is going to move to Anfield soon.
If that’s the case, Brendan Rodgers would have a gem on his hands.
To incorporate one of Europe’s hottest midfield prospects into his ambitious young side would be a dream come true, and Eriksen would be assigned the ever-easy task of replacing an unfortunately aging Steven Gerrard in the driving heart of the Liverpool midfield.
The catch is, of course, “how the season unfolds” at Ajax, but Rodgers would like to think that his first season at Liverpool would show enough promise that Eriksen would be enticed to join his revolution at Anfield.
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