Liverpool Transfer Rumours: Reds Can't Lose Out on Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2013

DONETSK, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 19:  Henrik Mkhitaryan of FC Shakhtar Donetsk in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Nordsjaelland at the Donbass Arena on September 19, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine. (Photo by Genya Savilov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Last summer, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool saw Gylfi Sigurdsson—whom Rodgers had managed at Swansea City—choose Tottenham over the Reds, while the team also failed to sign Clint Dempsey. 

It was hardly surprising when Liverpool didn't exactly hit the ground running last season. 

This summer, the team can't let that happen. With both Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund on their heels, the Reds must sign midfield dynamo Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 

From Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail:

Tottenham are poised to hijack Liverpool's £20million move for Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers looked to be pole position to land the talented attacking midfielder, but Spurs have now entered the race to land the Armenia international.

It is understood Mkhitaryan's advisors have held initial talks with Tottenham chiefs regarding a possible move to White Hart Lane next season.

That report adds:

Sportsmail revealed this week how Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund made a £19.5million offer for the 24-year-old.

But Shakthar insist they want at least £25million for the player, who has also interested Chelsea and Manchester City.

Since last January, Liverpool has done much more right than wrong. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho were valuable additions right out of the gate once they were bought. The team has been busy this summer, too, adding Iago Aspas at forward and Simon Mignolet at keeper.

And if they can keep Luis Suarez from squirming his way out of England, the foundation for a very dangerous team will have been laid. 

But adding a dynamic talent like Mkhitaryan would be the cherry on top of this Anfield sundae. Mkhitaryan is a dangerous facilitator from his attacking midfielder position and combines a playmaker's vision and distribution with a scoring touch.

With 30 goals in all appearances in 2012-13, he would definitely add a new dimension to Liverpool's attack. That may lead you to believe he is a second striker, but don't be fooled—he is a quarterback of the midfield, through and through, and has the type of potential to be Liverpool's talisman for years to come.

While he is best up the middle, he could also be utilized out wide on the wing if Rodgers decides to keep Coutinho in the central attacking position. He is the sort of creative presence that should thrive in Rodgers' 4-3-3 system no matter where he is positioned. 

Thus, it's hardly a surprise he's become one of the more coveted talents in Europe and why Liverpool is in danger of seeing him sign elsewhere. Liverpool can't offer Champions League football next season like Borussia Dortmund. 

Nor can they offer the chance to play (at least in the short term) alongside a player of Gareth Bale's stature—mind you, keeping Suarez around would certainly help. 

Besides what Liverpool would lose on the pitch if Mkhitaryan signed elsewhere, you have to wonder if the club and fans would start to develop a bit of an inferiority complex if they were once again spurned by a target for a different club. 

Would other players around the world start to view Liverpool as a second-tier side? Would we start all Liverpool articles with "Oh, how the mighty have fallen"?

Perhaps signing Mkhitaryan isn't that dramatically important, but he is a key target, make no mistake about it. With he and Coutinho—and if Suarez isn't sold—Liverpool would be a very fun team to watch this summer, and one that could challenge for a top-four place.

Without him, well, it's back to the transfer drawing board. This is one the Reds can't let get away.

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