Liverpool Transfers: 8 Midfielders Linked to the Reds in 2013
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May brings the promise of rebirth and reinvigoration. It is a month that Liverpool Football Club will be looking to take full advantage of if they hope to avoid the early-season chill that last summer’s transfer miscue initially caused.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has been clear about of his needs (via liverpoolfc.com), and with Jamie Carragher’s retirement and Martin Skrtel’s ineffectiveness, the central defense will be the area of most pressing need. However, the midfield will no doubt be enjoying the closer scrutiny of his transfer committee, too.
The middle of the park at Anfield poses a tricky proposition for Rodgers. It is not without promise, but all of those who have auditioned for the part never quite stole the show.
Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling, Suso and most recently Philippe Coutinho have all succeeded to varying degrees, exhibiting the promise and versatility that Rodgers will draw from moving forward. But none quite provided the missing piece of his complex puzzle.
Here is a look at eight midfielders the media have linked with Liverpool ranked in order of likelihood as a fit for the Reds.
A three-minute look at why anyone would be interested in Christian Erikson
Likened to Michael and Brian Laudrup by Dutch legend, Johan Cruyff, Christian Erikson has all of the requisite skills that Brendan Rodgers needs to fill the attacking midfield role.
Gifted with tremendous vision, his ability to both score and set up others makes him the total package. Something that the reported frequent visits by Liverpool’s scouts to Amsterdam (via ESPN FC) would reinforce.
The Danish International has won the Eredivisie title twice with Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam since his 2008 signing and has notched 12 goals with 20 assists in all competitions this season so far.
The reported £14 million price tag might be a little more than Liverpool are looking to muster, but at only 21 years old his list of achievements at both the international level (34 caps) and top-flight European competition merits the cost.
Ajax, however, have been cagey over the Dane’s future. Recent comments coming out of the Amsterdam club’s camp have cast some doubt on the move to Anfield (via Mail Online).
Christain Tello scores a great individual goal against Zaragoza.
The move for 21-year-old Cristian Tello has been a reoccurring theme. Liverpool were reportedly on a shortlist to pry the winger away from FC Barcelona on a loan deal last year (via Mirror). However, the move never materialized.
The Express has reported that Rodgers is set to renew his pursuit of the highly rated Catalan, whose lack of playing time behind Lionel Messi and Pedro might be the impetus for a potential move off the continent.
He seems a good match at L4. At a reported £8.8 million valuation, he is on the affordable scale, and his ability to play on the left or up front offers the multi-dimensional options Rodgers prefers.
As a bonus, after his three seasons at Camp Nou he will naturally bring tiki-taka style of play with him to Anfield.
Marco Rojas: "the Kiwi Messi."
Marco Rojas has already hinted that he is moving to Europe (via Mail Online) with Liverpool linked to retaining his services.
Plying his trade with the Melbourne Victory in the Australian A-League, the New Zealand international has 15 goals in 27 appearances this year, garnering him the A-League Player of the Year gong.
His striking ability from the outside position is an aptitude that has been missing at Liverpool and something the club will be eager to utilize.
The reported £875,000 evaluation of the 21-year-old would fit the FSG mould of youth and price, and he might be just the type of talent Rodgers will need if he is to mimic the Borussia Dortmund model he recently praised (via The Express).
Jonathan dos Santos
The smile alone might be worth the transfer fee.
Another Barcelona player that is struggling to crack regular first team action, Jonathan dos Santos has only played 10 matches for the first XI since his 2008 move to the club.
Looking to showcase his abilities ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and frustrated with his limited playing time at Barca, the young Mexican is threatening to move on to find playing time (via Metro).
Coupled with his abilities and age, his reported £3.1 million asking price will seem extremely attractive to a team operating on a shoestring budget and might explain why the same Metro article alleged that Reds scouts have been monitoring him for months.
Like his teammate, Cristian Tello, being immersed in the tiki-taka system since a teenager might offset his lack of top-level experience as he would have a natural inclination to slip into that style of play.
Pass master Xabi Alonso in action.
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At 31, Xabi Alonso's age makes him less than the ideal candidate, but he has featured heavily in Real’s success since his arrival in 2009. His reported £22 million price tag doesn’t fit the Fenway Sports Group model either.
The World Cup winner’s return could readily scratch the experience itch. His history with the club and successful partnership with Gerrard also offers Liverpool a ready-made solution to shoring up the midfield.
Alonso himself has remained mum about a potential move back to Merseyside (via The Express), but the 2005 UEFA Champions League hero would be welcomed back with open arms.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa battles in UEFA Europa League action.
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Despite the fact the French international has seen little time on the pitch in 2013 through injury, the Mirror is reporting that Liverpool are still interested in Hatem Ben Arfa and could dangle old boy Andy Carroll in front of Newcastle United to pry him away .
Quick and tricky, he would easily fit into Rodgers’ system. However, his recent string of hamstring injuries and reported £12 million sticker price could prove troublesome. As could Alan Pardew’s determination to ensure that the winger doesn’t leave (via Mail Online).
Tom Ince: All the goals of 2012/13
Tom Ince’s return to Liverpool is the bad penny story. After a move back to Anfield was ruled out in January (via BBC), the Mirror is again reporting that Rodgers’ interest hasn’t cooled on the former Liverpool Academy player.
At 21 years old, he has impressed with the Seasiders, netting 26 times in 86 appearances and has earned the Football League's Young Player of the Year award.
His age, versatility and familiarity with the club make him a good candidate, but perhaps not in the same category as the others on the list.
A look at Mkhitaryan's best goals of 2012
In a fairly recent development, Metro is reporting that Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan is keen enough to secure a move to Anfield, that he has signed with agent Mino Raiola.
His style of play and ability to play different positions well would complement Rodgers’ system. And should he be able to recreate his incredible strike rate, he would be a welcome partner for Luis Suarez.