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.
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.
I think he’s going to grow into one of the world’s 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, it’s safe.
He’s a winner, he’s hungry for success, he does the right things, he treats players well, he doesn’t 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. That’s 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.
Let’s take a look at some players who fit the bill and could be donning that iconic red strip next season.
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:
Rumor in England: Liverpool want Schmelzer. Inconceivable a yr ago. But w/ LFC a strong team again & Durm possibly new BVB LB, could happen— Clark Whitney (@Mr_Bundesliga) April 18, 2014
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 who’d bring plenty of energy and balance to that left-hand side.
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:
Who is going to win the Antoine Griezmann lottery this summer? Would be a great fit at Liverpool me thinks.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) February 22, 2014
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.
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:
The mirror going with Liverpool linked with Tello. More nonsense. That ship has well sailed. Slow day at the Mirror tomorrow clearly #lfc— LFC Rumour Source (@LFCrumoursource) April 18, 2014
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.