Breaking Down the Odds of Latest Liverpool Transfer Rumours
Being Liverpool it comes with the territory. Any rumours surrounding potential transfers are always likely to make headlines and sell newspapers, and with the summer transfer window fast approaching this year is likely to be no different.
Brendan Rodgers goes into his third transfer window as Liverpool boss on the back of two very different windows so far.
Upon his arrival, Rodgers inherited a talented group of players who had failed to perform under the previous regime, and a select few who had struggled to justify their large transfer fees. The performances of big-money buys, Fabio Borini and Joe Allen did nothing to dispel fans' fears that the new regime had followed suit and failed in the transfer market.
However, the January signings of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge more than allayed these early fears and following a positive second half to the season, Reds fans can go into the new transfer window filled with optimism and hope.
It would be impossible to analyse every player that has been touted for a move to Liverpool since the curtain came down on the 2012/13 season. The Anfield outfit are linked with dozens of names, daily.
What I will do is analyse a select few whilst highlighting what each potential signing could add to the current squad.
As reported by the official Liverpool website, a deal has more or less been agreed for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, so he will not be featured over the coming pages.
However, click next to begin a brief summary of players who may well leave the club this summer.
Please Note: All betting odds included in this article are correct at date of publishing (18/6/2013) and are likely to change.
Heading for the Exit Door? Luis Suarez
Let's begin with those that could well have worn the famous Liverpool red for the last time. There are the fringe players such as Jay Spearing and Sebastian Coates who are likely to leave on loan if permanent moves are not put in place.
There are also the more recognisable faces who may well leave Anfield this summer. Let's start with perhaps the most recognisable of them all.
I won't bore you and go into too much detail about the Luis Suarez transfer saga. The Uruguayan—adored by all at Anfield—has made no secret of his desire to seek pastures new.
The prolific striker has been nothing short of sensational since is arrival at the club in 2011. His likely departure will leave a big hole in Brendan Rodgers' side.
Sky Bet have Suarez 2/5 to join Real Madrid and 3/1 to join Bayern Munich before the transfer window closes. Taking note of the fact that he only penned a long-term contract at Anfield last summer, Ladbrokes are offering 11/4 that Suarez stays put.
VERDICT: Following the Suarez' admission that he aspires to represent Real Madrid and Liverpool's probable reluctance to keep an unhappy player, a move to the Bernabeu is the most likely outcome.
Heading for the Exit Door? Andy Carroll
Not wanted by Rodgers since day one. A player whose style quite simply just does not fit in with the way the Reds boss wants his team to play.
VERDICT: West Ham bound.
Heading for the Exit Door? Jonjo Shelvey
It may be a surprise that Shelvey has been linked with a move away from Anfield. Rodgers seemed to rate him right from the off, including the midfielder in big early season games against Manchester City and Manchester United.
What is perhaps even more surprising is that both Bet Victor and Sky Bet have Arsenal as the most likely destination should the England under-21 international move on, with the latter offering odds as short as 9/4, despite reports linking Norwich—who are 8/1—with an £8m bid.
VERDICT: If Liverpool receive a bid of around the £8m being reported, it is likely they will sell. However, my instinct tells me that Shelvey will still be a Liverpool player once the window slams shut.
Heading for the Exit Door? Martin Skrtel
The Slovakian defender's future has been in doubt ever since he lost his place in the team to Jamie Carragher last season. Skrtel has been both solid and reliable since joining the club in 2008, but a number of uncharacteristic mistakes have left him out in the cold.
The arrival of Kolo Toure has done nothing to dampen the speculation that the club's 2011/12 player of the year could be surplus to requirements next season.
A reunion with Rafa Benitez at Napoli has been mooted whilst a return to former club Zenit St. Petersburg is also an option. Sky Bet favour Napoli with odds of 5/2, however 9/4 on a Zenit returns offers fairly good value.
VERDICT: This one could go either way. If Skrtel can show the form from two seasons ago then a regular starting birth is a real possibility. If I was held at gunpoint and forced to give an answer then I would opt for him staying at the club for at least one more season.
Heading for the Exit Door? Pepe Reina
It will indeed be a sad day should Pepe Reina decide to wave goodbye to the club after eight memorable years. The popular Spaniard has become one of the most recognisable faces around Anfield since his bargain £6m move from Villarreal in 2005.
Reina has broken record after record during his time at Anfield and won the Premier League Golden Glove award for most clean sheets in a season for three consecutive seasons between 2005 and 2008.
Despite the records and awards, if being completely honest, most Liverpool fans will tell you that Reina's form has dipped over the last couple of seasons; uncharacteristic mistakes have become far more frequent.
So maybe the time is right for the club and goalkeeper to say "adios." A return to Barcelona has been mooted as a possible destination during the summer transfer window and with the Reds making no secret of their desire to bring in a new shot-stopper (see slide 10), perhaps a return for Reina to his boyhood club would be fitting.
There would be no animosity, no grudges held, and no ill feelings between club and player. Reina could leave with his head held high, proud of his achievements during his stay with the Reds.
With Brendan Rodgers making advancements in the transfer market for a new goalkeeper, Sky Bet have shortened the odds on Reina returning to Barcelona to 4/9. There could however be some value in a reunion with the man who brought him to Anfield, Rafa Benitez at Napoli at 8/1.Benitez once described Reina as "one of the best goalkeepers in the world." (via Goal.com)
VERDICT: Sadly the time is probably right for Reina to move on. The heart wants him to stay but the head says it's time for a change. I am almost certain that the move to Barcelona will happen once a replacement is brought in.
However, it should not be forgotten the years of faultless (and on the odd occasion, faulty) displays that he has turned in over the years. Should he depart, I will be the first to say "Gracias, Pepe. Adios."
Potential Arrival: Christian Atsu
The Ghana international is about to enter the final year of his contract with Porto and has been linked with a move to Anfield, this summer.
With Stewart Downing failing to fully convince since his move from Aston Villa two years ago, the Reds could well be in the market for another winger.
The Reds have struggled in wide areas for a number of years, with Downing the latest in a long line to offer hope, yet disappoint. Raheem Sterling began the season like a house on fire but too many games in such a short space of time appeared to take its toll on the youngster.
Atsu, who is predominantly a left-winger but can play anywhere across the front line, would bring even more skill and trickery to a side already containing the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez (should he stay).
At the time of writing there are no odds available on a Christian Atsu transfer, but with the rumour gathering pace and Sky Sports reporting that the Ghanaian has told Porto he will not sign a new deal, a move to the Premier League looks possible.
VERDICT: Atsu appears to fit the criteria of player than Brendan Rodgers likes. Entering the final year of his deal at Porto puts Liverpool and other suitors in a much stronger position to negotiate a cut-price fee. If Rodgers acts quickly and outlines his desire to get him on board, Atsu to Anfield could happen sooner rather than later.
Potential Arrival: Luis Alberto
The arrival of Luis Alberto at Anfield is looking ever the more likely. According to The Guardian, the Spaniard has been a long term target for Brendan Rodgers and the Reds appear to be close to agreeing a fee with Sevilla, despite their opening offer being rejected.
It appears that Rodgers is willing to pay £6m for Alberto, whilst Sevilla are holding out for nearer to £7m for a player who spent last season on loan at Barcelona's B-team.
Liverpool have a history of taking players from Spain and turning them into stars (Josemi and Antonio Nunez, aside). Their latest potential import scored 11 goals whilst with Barca's second string and could help ease the burden on captain Steven Gerrard who has been his side's only real goal threat—coming from deep—in recent years.
The noises coming from the Sevilla camp indicate their willingness to do a deal with the Reds but know they can play hard ball with a club who in recent years have shown their own willingness to perhaps pay over the odds in order to get their man.
Again there are a lack of betting odds relating to Luis Alberto and his next club which perhaps poses the question, are Liverpool unable to compete when it comes to landing the more recognisable names?
VERDICT: This one is likely to happen although not certain. All parties seem happy that the deal will eventually go through. The only snag could be Liverpool's reluctance to be held to ransom over the proposed fee. My gut tells me this one will be wrapped up within a week or two.
Potential Arrival: Tiago Ilori
The latest youngster to be linked with a move to Anfield is Sporting Lisbon defender, Tiago Ilori.
The Reds appear to be in a similar situation to that of their negotiations with Sevilla over Luis Alberto, in that Sporting are reported to be holding out for a larger fee than the £3m that is currently being offered.
The defender made 12 appearances in his debut season (via Caught Offside) and is currently on international duty with Portugal at the under-20s World Cup.
Brendan Rodgers appears keen to land Ilori and it has been reported by both Sky Sports and the Liverpool Echo that the Reds boss is prepared to offer Moroccan midfielder, Oussama Assaidi as a make-weight in the deal.
Despite the arrival of Kolo Toure, the Reds certainly appear to be in the market for defensive reinforcements this summer. Defensive errors were a far too common occurrence during the first half of last season but following Jamie Carragher's return to the side, Liverpool looked steady and well organised.
Following Carragher's retirement the experience of Toure could benefit the likes of Ilori and the somewhat forgotten man of Anfield, Sebastian Coates.
VERDICT: Highly probable. ESPN report that Sporting are in mountains of debt and are therefore not in the best of positions to negotiate financially. The Reds could, should and probably will capitalise on this. I expect Ilori to be a Liverpool player come September.
Potential Arrival: Toby Alderweireld
Toby Alderweireld is a name that will be somewhat more recognisable to Liverpool fans than some of the others covered in this article.
The Belgian defender has been linked with a move away from Ajax for some time, although Liverpool's interest does appear to have cooled in recent weeks. The lack of interest from Anfield is somewhat surprising. Alderweireld who is a regular in the ever improving Belgian national side has previously admitted an interest in moving to the Premier League.
The Mirror reported that Liverpool were keen on adding the Ajax man to their ranks and seemed just the type of ball-playing defender that would suit Brendan Rodgers style of play. Alderweireld also impressed in Ajax's recent Champions League campaign, putting in solid performances against Premier League runners-up Manchester City.
With Liverpool's interest going cold, perhaps already having another ball-playing centre-half in the side in Daniel Agger has prompted Rodgers to follow up his interest in the previously covered Tiago Ilori, who is likely to command a lower fee than Alderweireld.
Following revelations from the defender's father and agent, Vic Alderweireld, that his son is in advanced discussions with Bayer Leverkusen, 888Bet have slashed the odds on him starting the 2013/14 season in the Bundesliga to 7/10.
Liverpool meanwhile have drifted to 8/1 with Sky Bet to capture the defender.
VERDICT: Won't happen. It's looking increasingly likely that Ilori will be the man brought in by Brendan Rodgers as defensive reinforcement. If Martin Skrtel does depart then expect the odds on Alderweireld to Liverpool to shorten. However, I can't see this one happening, unfortunately.
Potential Arrival: Simon Mignolet
Mignolet was arguably the Premier League's best goalkeeper last season. Voted overwhelmingly as Sunderland's player of the year, Simon Mignolet would be a more than suitable replacement should Pepe Reina decide to depart Anfield this summer.
Mignolet kept an impressive 11 clean sheets (via The Sun) in a poor Sunderland side during the 2012/13 season and is exactly the kind of goalkeeper Liverpool should be looking at to replace a goalkeeper of Reina's ability.
The Belgian is a huge presence in goal. He is agile, reliable when coming for crosses and as proven last season, is a fantastic shot-stopper. He is probably lacking what Reina can boast when analysing distribution, Reina at times had the ability to pick out a 40-yard pass to perfection.
Again, with what appears to be a common theme at the moment, the club have so far failed to agree a fee with Sunderland. The Daily Mail have reported that the Reds have so far offered £8m, whilst the Sunderland Echo claims the Black Cat's are holding out for £10m. A compromise of £9m should be enough to see the deal completed.
Personal terms shouldn't be a problem and representing a club the size of Liverpool should do no harm to his international aspirations. Mignolet has already admitted his desire to move to enhance his chances of representing Belgium at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
VERDICT: Nailed on. Reina to Barcelona and Mignolet to Liverpool seems just about perfect. The Express are reporting that the deal could be completed by the end of the week, whilst the BBC are claiming its a done-deal.
If this one doesn't happen I will eat my hat.
Potential Arrival: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Last, but certainly not least. Henrikh Mkhitaryan the big name signing that will have Liverpool fans licking their lips.
The Reds are ready to pay £20m to land the Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder who was reported by the Mirror to have been watched over a dozen times by Liverpool scouts last season, and who set a new a new Ukrainian league record of 25 goals in one season.
Should the deal be completed, Mkhitaryan would become the first Armenian to represent Liverpool and also the first to play in the Premier League.
Apart from the obvious goal threat, the midfielder would bring with him an arsenal of skills and a passing technique probably only matched at Anfield by Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho.
Positive news for Liverpool fans is that the deal is apparently not reliant on funds raised from any potential sale of star striker, Luis Suarez. The Reds are hoping to complete the deal regardless of whether the Uruguayan stays or goes.
Despite the lack of star names linked with the club in recent weeks, Liverpool could yet kick off the season boasting a forward line of Suarez, Mkhitaryan, Coutinho, Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge. An attack minded combination filled with skill, creativity, pace, guile, grit, determination and most importantly the ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
VERDICT: Brendan Rodgers seems determined to push this one through. Acting quickly has put Liverpool in pole position to land their number one target and with Mkhitaryan as recently as March revealing his wish to move on from Shakhtar, the Reds are well placed to get their man.
I can see this one happening but at the same time I can see Paris St. Germain or Manchester City throwing the check book at him. Hopefully the big bucks won't turn his head, but the opportunity to represent a club such as Liverpool, steeped in history, success and tradition, will.
Here's to hoping.