Alexis Sanchez to Liverpool: Rubbishing the Transfer Rumour
Liverpool will be sure to indulge themselves in the transfer window this coming January as they look to strengthen their attacking third of the pitch, but one rumoured move which is unlikely to be pulled off is that of Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez.
The Chilean winger has been linked to the Reds recently in both the Express and Daily Mirror, but there is not much chance that Alexis will be one of the next names to join Brendan Rodgers' re-shape of the Liverpool squad.
Positionally, tactically and certainly in terms of technique, Alexis is a player who fits the mould for Rodgers' team, but this alone is hardly enough to count the rumour as a strong one.
Here's why the move is unlikely to go ahead in January.
Why Alexis to Liverpool Would Be Great
Liverpool need final third options, that much is clear.
With Luis Suarez playing so well in the centre, it might be the best course of action for the Reds to add players in the coming transfer window who can play from the flanks instead of a true striker through the middle, so Alexis would clearly fit there.
His best position is on the right of a three man attack, where he features most regularly for club and country, but he can also play from the left.
While we indulge in positional play and tactics let's also not forget the most important attribute—Alexis Sanchez is one hell of a talented player.
Liverpool would be making a huge statement if they were able to go out and buy a player from FC Barcelona who has been part of arguably the greatest team in memory and has not yet even hit his prime.
Unfortunately, there are a few more things to consider.
Where's the Attraction in Leaving Barcelona Mid-Season?
Much of the two named rumours from the introduction slide centres around Alexis not being first choice any more at Barcelona.
In a squad containing Leo Messi, David Villa, Pedro and Andres Iniesta as regular members of the front three, it's perhaps understandable if another player isn't getting regular game time compared to previous seasons, but Alexis has still featured in nine of their 15 league matches.
He hasn't scored, but has claimed two assists plus another one in the Champions League—where he has also scored his only goal of the season.
Tito Vilanova's task in his first year as manager is to recapture the domestic title, and the team are well-placed at the moment to do so.
Is Alexis likely to leave all that behind, including playing alongside those players, mid-way through the season?
Villa missed much of last term with a serious injury; it only takes another one to a different player for Alexis to suddenly be back in the side on a regular basis.
He hasn't found his best form this term, true, but he is a great player. Come the end of the season it might be time for all to assess their best options, especially if he hasn't worked his way back into the team from the start, but in January seems an unlikely time to transfer out of Barcelona.
Financial Aspect: What Will He Cost?
It is generally assumed that Liverpool will have some funds to spend this winter, without the need for further sales first, though of course nothing has been confirmed officially.
Whether that amount will stretch to signing a player who cost more than £22 million less than 18 months ago remains to be seen.
Neither of the articles linking Alexis with a move to Liverpool mention a fee for the winger, and indeed the Mirror version indicates that Rodgers only wanted Alexis on loan during the summer, though would now like to bring him in permanently.
Wages would likely not be an issue after the huge downsizing in that department during the summer, and even less if the Reds were to part ways with Joe Cole and his sizeable paycheck this winter, but a £25 million or so price tag might put off the manager—or the paycheck men.
Liverpool need a fair few additions before the team is shaped to Rodgers' liking and a purchase of that size would have to almost be a guaranteed success.
Alexis' Value Could Go Down More in Summer, While Others Are Cheaper in January
Despite not featuring in every game for Barcelona, Alexis is still an important squad member. For Barcelona to let him go during the middle of the season would likely require a substantial fee.
However, should he not regain his place before the end of the campaign, and Barcelona either promote the likes of Gerard Deulofeu to a more regular place in the senior squad or else look outside for reinforcements, Alexis might be far more attainable.
Of course, this runs the risk of letting others jump in on the move too, but waiting for a really top class player until summer also gives Liverpool until the end of the season to see if they can genuinely challenge for a Champions League place.
The offer to move from Barcelona would look a lot more appealing if the Reds had that particular carrot to use.
As for in January, when Liverpool certainly need to bring in someone, there are others available who have reduced transfer fees because of contract situations.
It would make more sense to bring them in now, while they were available, rather than miss out on them entirely or wait until summer when certain clauses weren't activated or new deals might have already been signed.
Presuming, of course, Brendan Rodgers actually wants these players.
Does He Bring Enough Goals?
What Liverpool need right now is to bring in a player who can hit the ground running, so to speak, contributing goals from wide areas and supporting Luis Suarez to get even more himself.
Alexis has the quality, no doubt, and would certainly be an excellent signing for Liverpool were he to be available and interested in the move.
But it would also be likely that the Reds would need to bring in a second attacking signing.
Alexis has scored just the one this term, and managed 15 in all competitions last season—from 41 games.
Sure, it was his first season at a massive club and some adaptation was perhaps necessary, but considering the amount of chances he got in the team, it is perhaps apparent that finishing isn't his best attribute.
The Reds need someone who can score around seven or eight goals in the remaining half a league season to come in, and perhaps Alexis, for all his talents, is not quite that player.
Not that this would make sealing the transfer for him any less exciting for Reds fans, of course.
Statistical data from WhoScored.com and TransferMarkt.co.uk