6 Potential January Transfer Targets for Liverpool
Liverpool's fine start to the Premier League season has been partly down to their good summer transfer window.
The likes of Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure and latterly Victor Moses and Mamadou Sakho have all impressed as the Reds have registered four wins from their six games on the way to second place in the table.
As always with modern football clubs though, you simply have to have one eye on the next window in a bid to get the edge over your rivals, and Liverpool will be no different.
Brendan Rodgers will already be thinking about which players he could bring in a bid to further improve his squad, but who will they be?
The closure of the transfer window hasn't stopped various names being linked with the Reds, so will any of these players be moving to Anfield in January?
Having taken advantage of the competition for places once already at Paris Saint-Germain by bringing in Mamadou Sakho this summer, could Liverpool be ready to pick up another player frustrated by a lack of opportunities in the French capital?
Javier Pastore was the big-name signing that kicked off PSG’s era of excess when he made the move to Ligue 1 from Palermo in the summer of 2011, a time when the Argentinean was prized by more established “big” clubs from all across the Continent.
A stylish performer who brings with him a goal threat as well as good passing ability, the 13-cap international has featured in just five of PSG’s eight league games this season and was substituted off in three of them.
With his agent reportedly intimating that a January move could be on the cards, as reported by Metro, Liverpool have been linked to a player who would be a fine addition and would increase the quality service to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in attack.
Hatem Ben Arfa
A player linked with a summer move to Liverpool in dispatches, seen here in Metro, French international Hatem Ben Arfa is likely to be frustrated by yet more disappointments at Newcastle.
An extremely skillful player, there have been questions over the attacking midfielder’s work rate in the past, but he tends to quieten them with his frequent ability to score fantastic goals.
Viewed as another skilled attacking option in the Liverpool squad Ben Arfa would appear to be a good addition, but as they have shown in the past Newcastle are unlikely to be willing to let one of their prize assets join the Reds on the cheap, especially if they are embroiled in a relegation battle come January.
The expense involved in bringing him to Anfield may make this one a non-starter, but it would be interesting to see what would happen should Liverpool test the water by making an opening offer to the St. James’ Park club for the talented 26-year-old.
This one is likely to remain pie in the sky, and nothing but a forlorn hope for Reds fans. But there is no harm in trying is there?
Eyebrows have been raised by Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Juan Mata since the Portuguese’s return to Stamford Bridge, and while it is still likely that the stylish Spanish international will eventually play his way back in to his manager’s plans, talk of a potential move away has been rife, with this article from the Daily Star mentioning Liverpool as a potential destination.
Mata is one of the most eye-catching players in the Premier League, and, having been linked with him before he made the switch to Chelsea from Valencia in the summer of 2011 by the Guardian, Liverpool would surely be interested in a player of such quality if he were to become available in January.
Of course they would be competing with teams who could offer Mata greater riches and guaranteed Champions League football, but having already played for Chelsea in this season’s competition he’d be ineligible to do so for anyone else until the next campaign anyway.
So if the Reds are still in contention for the top four come January and Mata is available then why not make a move?
Stranger things have happened, haven’t they?
Much more likely than a star name coming through the Shankly Gates in January is the addition of another bright young talent who can further improve the squad.
Luciano Vietto could be one of those talents, particularly as the prowess of the 19-year-old Racing Club forward has led to his being dubbed “the best young player in Argentina,” admittedly by his own agent Jorge Cyterszpiler, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Such talk has created a buzz around Cyterszpiler’s client though, and as that report linked to above indicates the Reds could have to battle with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Juventus for his highly prized signature.
The Reds possess somewhat of a South American core these days though with the likes of Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva all prominent players, and perhaps that could help convince a player who would be used as forward backup to sign on the dotted line.
Liverpool have plenty of central defenders as it is already, but as with the addition of Tiago Ilori at the tail end of the previous window, they are always looking for potential future stars.
The 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma certainly fits into that category, and the French youth international has been linked with a move to several of Europe’s leading lights, including Liverpool by the Daily Express.
Having made his senior debut for Les Verts at the age of just 16, Zouma has quickly amassed over 50 senior appearances for his club despite not turning 19 until later this month.
Viewed as a long-term successor to a player such as Kolo Toure, the recruitment of Zouma would make sense to the Reds in the long-term, even if his immediate first-team chances would be somewhat limited.
Yes, you did read that right.
As indicated in this Daily Mail article, Liverpool would, along with Arsenal, apparently be keen on exploring a cut-price £12 million deal for AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli less than a year after the Italian international left English football for a move back to Serie A.
The prospect of Balotelli playing up front with the similarly madcap Luis Suarez would be one to get headline writers purring, but with the Uruguayan’s future still unclear and likely to become an issue again during January, then would a move for Balotelli be quite as strange as it sounds?
Well yes it would, clearly, but there is no denying that he possesses fantastic ability and is a fine player when his head is screwed on in the right direction.
As we’ve seen though, that is a big “if.”
Not quite as big as the shock if this unlikely deal actually came off though, admittedly.