If Liverpool go on to win their final four games of the Premier League season, they’ll have some carrot to dangle in front of potential transfer targets: the label of league champions, the Champions League football that goes with it and, of course, that stirring Anfield atmosphere.
Those factors will surely be enough to entice a host of quality players to Merseyside in the summer transfer window and, as you might expect, the transfer gossip has already began.
It’s clear that the Liverpool boss has a blueprint that players must fit before bringing them on board, so he’ll be meticulous when selecting potential signings.
Here is the latest news doing the rounds when it comes to some potential signings who might fit that aforementioned criteria, and an update on a player who might be on his way out of Anfield at the end of the season.
Rakitic Set To Extend Sevilla Stay, Says Sporting Director
According to Sevilla's sporting director, Monchi, their star man Ivan Rakitic is close to signing a new deal at the club.
The Croatian international has been in wonderful form this season and has been linked continuously with a move to one of Europe’s more illustrious outfits, with both Madrid clubs and Liverpool muted as possible destinations.
But according to their sporting director a contract extension is “almost done,” per Peter McVitie of Goal.com. Monchi claimed that he is “not worried about interest from Atletico or Madrid” before going on to say that “Rakitic wants to spend many years at Sevilla”
Rakitic has cemented his status as one of La Liga’s finest midfield players this season, serving up some marvellous, enterprising displays from the middle of the park. The highlight of his season to date is arguably this stunning back-heeled assist against Real Madrid:
He is versatile in his role, capable of playing deeper, as an orthodox midfield player or as a No.10, and it’s no wonder he’s been linked with a move to some of the European giants given the class he exudes on the field.
If Liverpool were to get him on board it would be a real coup. He would be perfect for the current setup and a player that would flourish under Rodgers’ tutelage. You suspect the Reds might have to act quickly if they are to avoid paying a hefty price, though.
Hamburg General Manger Rules Out Calhanoglu Sale
Hamburg will not be selling Hakan Calhanoglu this summer, according to their general manager. This comes after Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have all recently been linked with the prodigious talent, with the Reds having reportedly sent a scout to watch the midfielder:
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers been scouting Hamburg midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu with a view to a summer move. (Source: BILD)— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) April 15, 2014
The German club’s general manager Olivier Kreuzer has ruled out the sale of their star man though, claiming that selling the 20-year-old is “not an option,” per David Wright of the Express.
Calhanoglu has provided a rare bright spot in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Hamburg, which could yet see the team relegated from the Bundesliga if results don’t pick up soon.
According to Wright’s report, Calhanoglu’s agent Bektas Demirtas has also ruled out a move away, claiming that he was close to signing a new deal with Hamburg back in February:
We have not been receiving official enquiries from any club with regard to Hakan's future. Nothing serious, no single club.
There is also no reason as Hakan wanted to sign a long-term deal at Hamburg in February.
He feels at home at the club. Any action is therefore up to the club.
Calhanoglu certainly fits the mantra that Rodgers has looked to instil at Liverpool and it’s no suprise the current Premier League leaders are admirers. He’s a dynamic, vibrant young talent who would blossom at Anfield.
For someone who is just 20-years-old, he has flourished as a talisman in a struggling side. Surrounded by confident, cultured players at Liverpool he’d be even more of a threat and develop rapidly.
If Hamburg are relegated at the end of the campaign there’ll be a queue of clubs ready to take this burgeoning young talent off their hands.
Aspas Going Nowhere, Says Agent
Despite a frustrating first season at Anfield, Iago Aspas will be going nowhere this summer according to his agent.
Liverpool splashed out £7.6 million to bring the former Celta Vigo man to Merseyside, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian, but his opportunities have been severely limited in a season that has seen a host of players overtake Aspas in the pecking order.
His agent, Jose Rodriguez Baster, says there is “no possibility” of a move back to Spain, nor anywhere else for that matter, per Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzo’s website (h/t Ben Jefferson in the Express):
There is no possibility of a return to Spain for Iago, or for a move elsewhere.
Iago has a four-year contract with Liverpool and he is happy to be at the Reds, aside from the fact that he would certainly like to play more.
But [Brendan] Rodgers is happy with him and they are not thinking about a transfer.
According to WhoScored.com, Aspas has started on just five occasions for Liverpool in the Premier League this season and made an additional eight appearances from the substitutes bench. In those games, the Spaniard has only been able to contribute one assist.
In truth, this Liverpool team seems to have outgrown players of the calibre of Aspas. Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson have all improved immeasurably this season and it’s left Aspas on the fringes while the Reds go all out for the Premier League title.
He may improve next season, but with Liverpool certain to be in the Champions League, Rodgers will surely bolster the squad in the summer and that’s far from ideal for the forward. The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce has said he thinks Aspas will make a return to Spain when the season ends:
James Pearce: I would expect Aspas to return to Spain this summer.— JFT96 (@LFCFansCorner) April 16, 2014
At 26 years old, the former Celta Vigo man is approaching the best years of his career and will be desperate to play week in, week out. Unfortunately for him, he’s not going to get that game time at Liverpool. Expect a different player to be occupying that famous Liverpool No. 9 shirt next season.