The 6 Players Liverpool Should Sign This Summer
One year into the "Rodgers Revolution," results are mixed.
Certainly, there have been signs of progress. When Liverpool has been good, it has been very good. Steven Gerrard has seen a resurgence of form, and Luis Suarez appears set to take home the PFA Players of the Year Award.
In addition, a number of Dalglish flops have come good with Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson finally showing class in year two on Merseyside.
As a whole, the club has done well in the transfer market as well. The future looks bright for Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. And while Joe Allen and Fabio Borini have underwhelmed, a lot of that can be chalked up to injury.
Further, with the exception of Andy Carroll, Ian Ayre has all but cleared the decks of bloated wages on players that were contributing little.
Conversely, Liverpool sits seventh, out of Europe and second best in the city. For every one step forward, there has seemingly been two steps back.
Optimists believe that a positive summer will improve domestic results for 2013-14. Here are the players I think would help, could be signed and would want to come to Anfield vis a vis other suitors.
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In addition to whatever funds the Fenway Sports Group will make available, Rodgers should have some additional funds made available through player sales and loans.
On the loan front, he might consider Suso, Conor Coady, Jack Robinson and Jon Flanagan. Depending on who else comes in, you may also be able to add Andre Wisdom and Raheem Sterling to that list if there is enough depth to make it possible.
Jonjo Shelvey could go either way. If the Northern Irish gaffer truly believes he has a player for the future, he could consider loaning the midfielder. If he does not, he could probably garner somewhere near five million pounds for Shelvey.
The big money will most likely come from outgoing centre-backs and Andy Carroll.
If Liverpool can get close to fifteen million for Carroll, they will probably take it.
Should Rodgers attain some of his rumored defensive targets and/or convince Jamie Carragher to stay, then Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates will be on their way out.
Skrtel is too good to sit on the bench. His transfer fee can be used elsewhere, and the Slovakian will most likely want to be sold unless the starting spot is his.
Coates has not quite settled into the English game. Despite his talent, Liverpool may be forced to sell him to a Spanish or Italian club, which may better suit his style of play.
Total Transfer Fees (transfermarkt.co.uk): £31.5M
Andy Carroll £9.7M
Martin Skrtel £13M
Jonjo Shelvey £4.8M
Sebastian Coates £4M
CAM: Christian Eriksen
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The Dane seems set on a summer move away from Ajax.
While all reports from legitimate outlets are quashing the rumors for now, the fact that the likes of Sky Sports and ESPN are reporting on the subject is a promising sign for Reds fans.
This could be the signing of the summer. Eriksen is the ideal No. 10 that Liverpool lacks at the moment. He is at the point in his career when he is clearly ready to move to a big club before becoming a star.
The question is whether he will sign for a mega club in the mould of, say, Real Madrid and vie for minutes or come to Anfield where he can start right away.
It is a pro-con question where the midfielder has to weigh European football against guaranteed minutes.
Here's hoping Liverpool lore and a persuasive Rodgers can put him over the edge.
Expect something in the range of £20 million for the attacking midfielder.
CDM: Mohamed Diame
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Other Options: Lars Bender, Bayer Leverkusen
Mohamed Diame is listed for a possible £6.6 million. If that value stands, he would represent an excellent purchase for the money. Given that most of the outlay this summer should go to centre-backs and possibly Eriksen, this could make sense.
It is debatable whether he is a world-class defensive midfielder in the mould of Javier Mascherano. However, he certainly has the physicality Rodgers prizes.
If the Reds wanted an immediate replacement for Lucas who could come in and star from day one they may want to have a look at Lars Bender. Unfortunately, the asking price there might be closer to £20 million.
Leverkusen also appear set for a Champions League berth, so it is debatable whether or not he would leave.
CB: Benedikt Howedes
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Other Options: Ashley Williams, Swansea City
Centre-back is one position where you can get a relatively large bang for your buck if you spend wisely.
Should they have the funds, Benedikt Howedes would be an ideal replacement for Jamie Carragher. He is big and physical and a natural leader.
He has been capped for Germany and is only 25. Given the £16 million quoted for him, he would make a lot of sense.
Another option is Ashley Williams. The rumor has only gotten as far as the Daily Mail, but it does makes some sense.
Rodgers knows Williams from his time in Wales. The centre-back is physical, knows the system and could be bought relatively cheaply. Unfortunately, he has never played for a top club and is nearing 30.
Reserve CB: Modibo Diakite
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If Coates leaves and Carragher retires, Ian Ayre will be in the market for at least one more central defender.
Enter Modibo Diakite, who would be available on a bosman free transfer.
The Frenchman told ESPN that the Reds are his "first choice" back in January. While he may not be an immediate starter, it is hard to argue with the low risk he represents.
Left Back: Jetro Willems
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Consider me a skeptic that Jose Enrique is the long term solution at left-back.
With that said, Liverpool will not have a great deal left to spend at this point, Enrique is serviceable for now, and there are a number of bigger clubs already combing the historically thin full-back market at the moment (see Chelsea).
In that case, the Reds would be wise to go cheap and young with an eye for the future.
Jetro Willems has all the promise of a Danny Rose at a transfer fee that may be short of £5 million.
Reserve Forward: Thomas Ince
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Other Options: Cristian Tello
No one is entirely sure why this deal did not go through in January.
Ince's fee may be a bit inflated at around £7-8 million, but it is hard to argue with his 18 goals in the Championship thus far. That is impressive for anyone, much less a 21-year-old.
There are two big questions. How did Liverpool let him leave Anfield a year ago? And is there going to be enough money left in the tank to spend on a luxury forward like Ince?
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Using transfermarkt.co.uk to come up with objective market valuations the net gain for Liverpool on these moves would be as follows:
Revenue from player sales: £31.5 million
Outlay for summer: £53.5 million
Essentially, if the Fenway Sports Group makes around £20 million-plus player sales available, then these moves are theoretically possible.
Should that money not be there, expect a more discount replacement for Skrtel. The club may opt to keep Sterling as a primary reserve and pass on Ince as well.