A wild summer is finally starting to stabilize for Liverpool. The club scored a victory over Stoke City to open the new campaign. The Luis Suarez saga has also quieted down, at least for now, which allows Brendan Rodgers to focus on other issues in the short term.
One thing the Reds boss should be looking at is possible additions before the transfer window closes. Tiago Ilori, who was linked to Liverpool earlier in the offseason, is back in the rumor mill and would make an ideal late signing for the club.
James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo reports Rodgers' earlier efforts to land the centre-back from Sporting Lisbon fell short, but recent developments have once again made him a Reds target.
Rodgers was keen to wrap up a deal back in June but talks between the clubs broke down.
The Reds had a bid of around £3million rejected with Sporting demanding more than double that amount.
However, Ilori’s refusal to pen a new contract in Portugal has given Liverpool hope that a compromise fee can now be agreed for the 20-year-old.
Ilori is an intriguing player. While he's definitely a raw talent who's at least a couple of seasons away from reaching peak form, the foundation is there for him to become a stalwart member of a back line in one of Europe's top leagues.
The 20-year-old central defender sports an impressive combination of size and pace that allows him to play a high line without worrying about opposing attacks beating him over the top. He's still filling out and learning to use his 6'3" frame, but it will also be a major asset over time.
Another positive is the asking price. As mentioned in the report, Liverpool wanted to land him for around £3 million. Even if the actual fee creeps closer to Sporting's apparent desire of £6 million in order to compromise, it's still a move with limited risk.
Normally, players with Ilori's type of potential demand far greater fees. But the fact he's 20—not a teenage sensation—and is still in the process of proving himself at the senior level means he doesn't carry around the same type of hype.
From Liverpool's perspective, the lack of hype is actually an advantage. It means Rodgers can make a serious effort to land Ilori without having to pay an outrageous price for an unproven commodity, which is becoming more commonplace.
It also means expectations would be kept within reason. The Portuguese youth international could be worked into the lineup slowly by Rodgers, giving him a chance to gain experience off the bench and in non-marquee matches at first.
Playing alongside the likes of Daniel Agger would give him a chance to learn from a veteran who isn't afraid to use the physical side of the game. Given his size, that's a component Ilori must add in the coming years to maximize his upside.
While there's no doubt it would take some time for Ilori to adapt to life in the Premier League, Liverpool needs to take some chances. And it's better to go after young players with a chance to grow like him than overpay for a marginal veteran asset.
Time remaining in the transfer window is starting to run out, meaning Rodgers should start to key in on a couple of options. Ilori should be one of them.
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