Liverpool Transfer Rumours: Bernard Would Be Too Big a Gamble for Reds

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2013

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 22:  Bernard of Brazil in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Brazil at Estadio Octavio Mangabeira (Arena Fonte Nova Salvador) on June 22, 2013 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Liverpool have already had an active summer. If Brendan Rodgers gets his way, there's going to be a lot more movement at Anfield.

He told James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo that the club is working on new deals even as it is on its preseason tour:

Nothing is close but plenty of work is going on.

How near or far we are, I will find out in Melbourne. There is daily dialogue going on but I am confident that we will get the one or two players who will really excite and complete the jigsaw.

It was great to make the four signings so early on but we have still got some more work to do to strengthen the team.

Bernard could be one player the Reds are targeting. John Edwards of the Daily Mail reported the Reds would be in for the 20-year-old winger:

Liverpool and Tottenham are locked in a £20million battle with at least three other clubs for flying Brazil winger Bernard.

Sportsmail can reveal that a scramble for Bernard’s signature is about to be sparked after it emerged he is ready to quit Atletico Mineiro after next Wednesday’s Copa Libertadores final second leg.

Liverpool and Tottenham have both made enquiries and are now primed to lock horns with Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund for a 20-year old who broke into the Brazil senior side last season.

The pacey wide player, who primarily operates on the left, will not come cheap, after Porto had a £15.5million bid rejected by Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil, who set the asking price at just over £20million but is expected to accept around £18million.

If Liverpool could get the player for a reasonable price, then maybe it would be a smart buy. For £20 million, the price tag is way too high to warrant making the move.

For all of his potential, Bernard has only had a couple of good seasons in Brazil. In 61 career league matches, he's had 11 goals and 17 assists. He added four goals and an assist in 10 Copa Libertadores appearances.

While the Brasileirao has improved over the past couple of seasons, it's still a far cry from the top European leagues. You're still basing a lot of his transfer on what kind of player he could be and a relatively small sample size in a league where he's had a lot of space and feasted on weak back lines.

If Liverpool are a club that has a huge transfer budget, then spending £20 million on a promising young player wouldn't be a tough decision. Liverpool don't have an unlimited war chest, though. They have to be much smarter with their money at this point.

Given Liverpool's standing in the Premier League pecking order, it makes sense that they have to take some gambles in the transfer window. They can't convince world-class players to regularly move to Anfield until they're in the Champions League again.

The blueprint for said gambles should be Philippe Coutinho. The Reds spent about £8.5 million and got a player who had already spent the better part of three seasons in Europe. He wasn't a sure thing. If it didn't work out, though, the Reds were only out £8.5 million.

Perhaps the bigger issue is how much do Liverpool really need Bernard right now? Sure, he's a talented young winger. The Reds already have a load of talented young wingers in the squad. Adding another just muddies the waters.

Raheem Sterling's role should only increase in the upcoming season. Sure, he wore down as last year went on, but you would only expect as much from a teenager. With the experience he gained, Sterling is ready to break through and play on a weekly basis.

The club has just bought Luis Alberto as well. While he can play anywhere up top, his best position is on either wing. Sure, he'll need some time to transition to the Premier League. You could say the exact same for Bernard.

It wouldn't make sense to have bought a young player, only to sit him on the bench regularly. That's already happened to Oussama Assaidi, and look where the player is now.

Jordon Ibe has also looked good when deployed out on the wing this preseason. While he'll likely not feature regularly in the starting XI, the 17-year-old is definitely one for the future. In a season or two, he should be playing 25-30 matches a year.

You've got three talented youngsters right there who are standing in the way of Bernard. It's not as if Ibe, Sterling or Alberto have had anywhere near enough time with which you could definitively say they aren't going to be key players down the road. Playing time you'd give to Bernard you'd be taking away from players already at the club, or vice versa.

Then you have to throw in the likes of Coutinho, Fabio Borini, Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas. While they're best when playing in a central role, all four can play out wide and help to bring some flexibility to the squad.

Winger shouldn't be an area of concern, especially if the player coming in is one for the future.

Defensive midfielder and centre-back are much more pressing issues right now. Even if Luis Suarez is eventually sold, Liverpool should bring in some cover for Lucas Leiva and find a defender to pair with Daniel Agger in the centre of defence before they buy another wide player.

Liverpool have had a great summer so far. They shouldn't mess it up by adding Bernard to the mix.


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