Liverpool

Liverpool Transfer News: Top Targets for Brendan Rodgers This Summer

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Sunday April. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
Clint Hughes
Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

As the end of a scintillating Premier League campaign draws ever closer, players who are looking for a move in the summer window might just begin to cast their eye over some possible destinations.

Gerrard has called on Rodgers to build a dynasty at Anfield.
Gerrard has called on Rodgers to build a dynasty at Anfield.Michael Regan/Getty Images

So, if you’re a player desperate for a new start in the summer or keen to move on to bigger and better things, what credentials are you going to look for? Champions League football? Passionate supporters? Tradition? A progressive manager?

After a remarkable campaign, Liverpool are a team certain to be one of the most desirable summer destinations. Brendan Rodgers has honed himself a reputation as a superb man-manager and astute tactician, and he’ll be keen to build on a season of immense progression with some fine summer acquisitions.

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard recently paid tribute to his manager, insisting that Rodgers can build a legacy on Merseyside for many years to come, per Sky Sports:

I think hes going to grow into one of the worlds best managers and I hope he is here long after I am gone. I hope he is here for many, many years because this club is in great hands. Whatever happens now until the end of the season, its safe.

Hes a winner, hes hungry for success, he does the right things, he treats players well, he doesnt try and control the football club, or get involved in stuff that has nothing to do with him.

He just focuses on getting on the training pitch and coaching the team, improving individuals, improving the team and playing football the right way. Thats what the supporters want here.

The building of that legacy has already begun, and with Liverpool likely to wrap up their first domestic league title in 24 years, it’ll continue in earnest over the summer months.

Next season, Liverpool will have European football to contend with in addition to their league and cup commitments, so it’s absolutely vital that the Reds boss bolsters the squad in a host of areas.

Rodgers has a strict blueprint that any potential transfer targets must adhere to, and it’ll be intriguing to see what he has up his sleeve in the coming months.

Lets take a look at some players who fit the bill and could be donning that iconic red strip next season.

 

Marcel Schmelzer

Frank Augstein

With Jose Enrique injured for a significant portion of the campaign and the on-loan Aly Cissokho not quite up to the standard required, youngster Jon Flanagan has filled in at left-back for a chunk of the season.

Granted, Flanagan has slotted into the team and performed admirably, but left-back is an area that Rodgers will surely look to strengthen in the summer. So it’s no surprise that Liverpool have been linked with a possible move for Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer, per Jamie Sanderson of the Metro.

Bleacher Report’s Clark Whitney thinks that a deal could be struck given Liverpool’s recent rise and 21-year-old Erik Durm’s emergence at the Westfalenstadion:

The German international has been a regular feature in Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund renaissance, and his energetic, vertical forays on the left flank are a key component in Die Borussen’s yellow machine.

Often, teams have targeted him as the weak link in the Dortmund side, but he’s improved his all-round game a lot in the past couple of seasons.

Having won the Bundesliga with Dortmund on a couple of occasions and with Bayern Munich disappearing over the horizon, Schmelzer might fancy a change of scenery.

From Liverpool’s point of view, he’d certainly be a huge upgrade on their current left-back options, plus a player whod bring plenty of energy and balance to that left-hand side.

 

Antoine Griezmann

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30:  Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad looks on during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Image
David Ramos/Getty Images

If there’s a player on the continent who fits the Rodgers mantra more than Antoine Griezmann, I’ve yet to see him.

The Frenchman has been seriously impressive this campaign, and his pace, power, quality, finishing and work-rate have made a plethora of European football’s most illustrious outfits sit up and take notice, per Steve Stammers of the Mirror. Griezmann has scored 16 goals and notched three assists this season, per WhoScored.com

Liverpool are one of those sides reportedly interested in signing up the 23-year-old, with a reported fee of £20 million likely to convince Real Sociedad to cash in on his talent.

Bundesliga Fanatic editor Cristian Nyari is one of many who thinks Griezmann would be perfect for the champions elect:

Rodgers is obviously in the market for a wide player after he courted both Mohamed Salah, per Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph, and Yevhen Konoplyanka, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian, in the January window.

Griezmann is a class above both of the aforementioned duo and a left-sided player who would give great balance and variation to Liverpool’s attacking charges. There looks as though there’ll be a battle for the Frenchman’s signature, but he’s a player worth scrapping for.

If Liverpool can win the race for this scintillating young forward, then it'd be one of the coups of the summer.

 

Cristian Tello

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JANUARY 22:  Cristian Tello of Barcelona in action during the Copa del Rey Quarter Final First Leg match between Levante UD and FC Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on January 22, 2014 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alon
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

If Liverpool are unable to win the race for the aforementioned Griezmann, Barcelona wide man Cristian Tello is a player who’d be an excellent alternative.

La Blaugrana are currently in the process of appealing a 14-month ban on signing players, per Sky Sports, and according to John Cross in the Mirror, if the ban is postponed or overturned, the door may be open for Tello to make the move to Merseyside.

It’s a rumour that seems to have been rumbling on and on; some Liverpool fans think it’s time to focus their attentions elsewhere:

Naturally, if Barcelona are unable to make any summer acquisitions, the prospects of them letting Tello leave Catalonia are admittedly bleak. But if the ban is overturned, this summer might be the right time for Tello to seek pastures new.

The 22-year-old has been unable to establish himself in the Barcelona first team, and he is used typically as an impact substitute due to his blistering speed and direct style. He has the potential to become a very useful player, but he’s not going to realise it sitting on the sidelines at the Camp Nou.

Liverpool would be the perfect destination for Tello should he seek a move. For a reported fee of £12 million, Rodgers would be getting a hungry young player whom he can mould and develop in a manner comparable to the likes of Flanagan, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson.

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