This is a big summer facing Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, and none more so than when it comes to his dealings in the transfer market which could ultimately end up deciding just how the Merseyside giants fare next season in what will be the Northern Irishman’s second campaign in charge of the club.
Rodgers himself has already made it clear just what type of player, and how many, he will be targeting when the window reopens for business on 1 June: “I am happy with the squad if I can then put another three or four quality players to it.
“It is quality we are after, not quantity. We see [Philippe] Coutinho and [Daniel] Sturridge's quality in January, if we bring in another three or four players of that quality and add that to what we have got then we have got a strong squad.
“You want between 20 and 22 players. I'm talking about two in every position and your three goalkeepers. Then below that having young players who can support that.”
The key phrase Rodgers used was “it is quality we are after, not quantity” and in order for the Reds boss to be true to his word the club, in the shape of managing director Ian Ayre, now need to move swiftly in the coming months to secure their first-choice targets, unlike what happened in last year’s close season.
“Of course you have an ideal target, but we are getting to a situation now where, for me, you have to have three players and if one doesn't come off you have to be comfortable with the other two. If you get one of those you are happy. There is a lot of terrific work going on with the scouting department getting those lists together,” added Rodgers.
“We never had that in the summer but there were some key positions we needed support in and what I didn't want to do was waste the club's money. I like to be extensive and know what we are bringing in, but also we did not have the time and that was the big issue. We are much better placed now.”
And one “key position” to fill for the next campaign will be bringing in a top-level front man to firstly provide cover up front for the suspended Luis Suarez, but who can then after the Uruguay international’s return to the starting XI in mid-September, also be capable of competing for a place in attack in the first team alongside both Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini.
It therefore goes without saying that this is a vital acquisition, but equally not a straightforward one either for Rodgers and his scouting team to get right as it demands a certain type of attacker to be able to take on such a varied type of role.
However, luckily for the Liverpool manager he will not have to look too far to find the ideal player to take on this job at Anfield next season and that man is Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy, who is set to depart the already-relegated Premier League outfit as soon as the transfer window opens this summer.
Remy, who is also wanted by the likes of both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur (via the Daily Express), is the right age at 26 to take on such a demanding task at a club the size of Liverpool and with all the expectations that will naturally come with such a move.
This is not a young front man just starting out on his career, but instead a highly-experienced France international with 18 caps and four goals to his name since making his les Bleus debut four years ago.
And the forward has also played for the biggest club side in Ligue 1, Olympique de Marseille, for three years, making a name for himself with some eye-catching displays for the French giants in the UEFA Champions League.
So much so that QPR made the player an £8 million club-record buy when they brought Remy to Loftus Road in the recent January transfer window in a bid to keep the ailing west London outfit in the top flight this season.
But to no avail, although Remy’s performances in attack will have done more than enough to result in a mad scramble for the France international’s signature over the coming weeks and months.
Five goals in 12 Premier League outings since January may not exactly set the pulses racing, but when one considers the struggles that Harry Redknapp’s side have had simply creating chances in that period, then his goalscoring record is in fact a lot more impressive than it looks on paper, while the Reds would also have no concerns either about Remy acclimatising to the English top flight.
In fact, Remy would bring with him to Anfield an intoxicating and alluring mix of raw pace, world-class technique and skill and a real eye for goal that has seen the striker hit an impressive 74 goals in 204 matches in a seven-year career to date.
Equally attractive to Rodgers, though, would be Remy’s adaptability that can see the player operate in a number of different team formations, including across any of the attacking positions in a 4-3-3, up front in a 4-2-2, or as either the lone striker or equally as a wide midfielder player in a 5-4-1 say.
And perhaps just as important, especially when it comes to Liverpool’s financially-conscious American owners The Fenway Sports Group, are both Remy’s reported cost at just £5m (via Goal.com), the value of the Frenchman’s buy-out clause in the four-and-a-half-year contract he signed with QPR at the turn of the year and his wage demands of £75,000 per week which are also well within the Reds’ current wage structure at Anfield.
As a result, if Rodgers can fill one of the key problem positions for next season with a top-level recruit, that means him spending just £5m of his reported £20m summer transfer budget, then the move seems an absolute no-brainer for Liverpool, subject of course to Remy passing stringent medical tests on a suspect knee and heart defect that have both arisen at various times throughout his career.
Meanwhile, the player himself appears desperate to stay in England too, saying that the Premier League was ideal for him: "I feel like it is, in every way. There's more pressure and there's more contact, though there is more space, too.
"They play deep here and I like that. It's the perfect league for me."
Now all Rodgers and company need do is convince Remy himself that Liverpool should be the perfect club for him to move his career on to the next level, as opposed to him staying in the capital and playing Champions League football with either Arsenal or Tottenham next campaign…Now that could be a tough sell for the Reds boss.
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