Liverpool stand on the brink of Premier League domination, and with Champions League football confirmed next season, they can look forward to an exciting summer of transfer activity.
Brendan Rodgers will aim to keep his side progressing with a number of high-profile moves. Antoine Griezmann, Hakan Calhanoglu and Marcel Schmelzer are among the names currently being linked with a move to Merseyside, indicating the kind of quality Anfield supporters can expect.
Here, we detail the latest news on each.
Latest News on Liverpool's Rumoured Transfer Targets
Antoine Griezmann, Real Sociedad
Pacey, incisive, lethal. These three words describe Liverpool's season, and indeed, they can be applied to Griezmann's campaign. The French forward has enjoyed an immense year in La Liga, netting 16 goals in 31 appearances, recorded by WhoScored.com.
Such form has forced Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United to take notice, as reported by Steve Stammers of the Mirror:
Antoine Griezmann will be the summer target for a cluster of Premier League clubs – with Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton joining Arsenal in the race for the 23-year-old French winger.
[...] The strong French influence at Arsenal would be a major attraction for Griezmann but manager Arsene Wenger is likely to focus his attention on a central striker.
Griezmann is expected to cost around £20 million, the kind of sum Rodgers was ready to deploy on Yevhen Konoplyanka during the winter, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. Considering Rodgers also made an ill-fated attempt at signing Mohamed Salah during the last window, it's clear he's looking to bolster his ranks with a versatile, clinical and improving forward, as reported by Andy Hunter of The Guardian.
Griezmann can play on either wing, up top or just behind the striker, often flitting between a few different roles across each match. He is used similarly to Raheem Sterling at Liverpool and given a license to roam from a fixed position when Sociedad move up the field. He's certainly a natural fit for the Rodgers mould, but he could be difficult to acquire due to hefty interest.
Hakan Calhanoglu, Hamburg
Rodgers may feel the need to invest in youth as he plans his Liverpool dynasty. Hakan Calhanoglu, Hamburg's 20-year-old attacking midfield sensation, is garnering plenty of interest across the continent after notching 10 goals in 29 Bundesliga appearances this campaign.
Despite agreeing a contract extension to keep him in Germany until 2018, the player's father now suggests 10 clubs are looking to secure his son's future. Huseyin Calhanoglu confirmed interest from La Liga, reported by AS (via talkSPORT):
We accepted an offer to renew his contract with Hamburg until 2018, but until now there have been 10 different clubs showing interest and Atletico is one of them. Real Madrid have even spoken to the representative of my son, Bektas Demirtas, and they think of him for next year.
David Wright of the Express confirmed Liverpool's link to the player. Wright also posted comments from Hamburg general manager Oliver Kreuzer, who said selling Calhanoglu "is definitely not an option." A bid could change the situation, especially considering Hamburg need to rebuild from a season that sees them currently toiling in 16th, just two points from the bottom of the table.
Calhanoglu has performed admirably in a struggling team. It's mouth-watering to think how he could develop under Rodgers' tutelage, especially considering the manager's affinity for promoting youth and confident, attack-based play.
Marcel Schmelzer, Borussia Dortmund
Liverpool may call upon experienced Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer in the summer. A Champions League finalist with Jurgen Klopp's side, the German would strengthen a key area heading into next season's European competition.
Jamie Sanderson of the Metro reports Rodgers' interest:
"Liverpool are ready to launch a bid for Marcel Schmelzer at the end of the season after making the Borussia Dortmund star their top transfer target," writes Sanderson.
German-based pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft also commented on rumours, suggesting the performances of Erik Durm could see Schmelzer moved on:
Reports about Liverpool looking at Dortmund-player Marcel Schmelzer (26). "Modern" LeftBack. Can't see Dortmund letting him go #LFC— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) April 18, 2014
IF Liverpool are after Schmelzer the young left back Erik Durm (21) could be the key. Done ever so well with Schmelzer being injured #LFC— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) April 18, 2014
Rodgers has been forced to field youngster Jon Flanagan at left-back this campaign. Loan signing Aly Cissokho has also struggled in the position and won't be offered a permanent contract, per Gary Jones of the Daily Star.
Which signing do Liverpool need most?
With a jam-packed 2014-15 schedule on the horizon, Rodgers must add extra quality to this area. Liverpool's squad as a whole needs to receive an influx of extra numbers to cope, and players of Schmelzer's quality would certainly push the Reds in the right direction.
The aforementioned names are testimony to the work Rodgers is doing at Anfield. Liverpool are regularly being touted with quality individuals and youngsters who show real promise—the kind of situation Kop onlookers yearned for during the club's recent dark period.
While Schmelzer is perhaps the most likely target right now, Rodgers will be confident of landing world-class talent if he leads Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title across the next few weeks.