Liverpool are looking to strengthen across the board this summer, as Brendan Rodgers' quest for Premier League domination continues.
The Northern Irish manager, who recently saw his troops fall two points short of a first title win in 24 years, is currently being linked with moves for Emre Can, Ashley Cole and Dejan Lovren while Glen Johnson could see his Anfield tenure cut short.
Here, we provide the latest news on each.
Latest on Liverpool's Potential Transfer Activity
In: Emre Can, Bayer Leverkusen
Rodgers' first signing of the summer could be former Bayern Munich midfielder Can, according to Charles Reynolds of The Independent:
Liverpool are nearing the signature of Emre Can according to reports in the German media.
Brendan Rodgers side are said to be close to reaching a deal worth up to €12m for the Germany U21 international who has made a positive impression in his debut season at Leverkusen.
Can is a strong tackler, someone who can dominate in the air and takes care of the ball at his feet. Although most often deployed in the centre of midfield, he provided regular left-back cover during a season that also saw the 20-year-old play at centre-back and to the left of Leverkusen's attack.
Rodgers enjoys utilising youngsters who can fulfill multiple roles—highlighted by the ever-evolving use of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho—indicating he may be attracted to Can's utility services. The improving talent could blossom under Rodgers' gaze, especially considering the vast improvement made since he left the Allianz Arena in 2013.
In: Ashley Cole, Chelsea
Liverpool, which are linked to Cole by Metro, could scramble to quickly secure the left-back's future after the unwanted Chelsea star confirmed he is looking to leave Stamford Bridge:
I am weighing up my options for playing next season with my agent and sadly it does not look like chelsea will be one of them. 💙💙💙💙— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) May 19, 2014
Thank u Chelsea FC for making my 8 years there a pleasure to work all the staff and players, we've been through a lot, good and bad 💙💙⚽️⚽️— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) May 19, 2014
And now I'll be looking for another journey in my life hope it can be like my others full of fun and of course WIN something, 👍💯💯💯— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) May 20, 2014
Amy Lewis of Sky Sports confirms Cole is open to signing with another Premier League club:
Cole is away on holiday. Told he hasn't ruled out playing for another Premier League club if he doesn't agree new contract with Chelsea— Amy Lewis (@SkySportsAmy) May 20, 2014
Such news could offer Rodgers a simple solution to Liverpool's lack of depth at left-back. Jon Flanagan performed remarkably throughout the season, but when in need of a rest, Aly Cissokho was unable to consistently provide the quality needed. Jose Enrique's prolonged injury remains difficult to judge, suggesting an extra option should be secured.
Cole's proven quality makes him an excellent signing for any side. His ability to move for free is also a major plus when considering UEFA's financial fair play rules, suggesting his acquisition is something of a no-brainer.
Out: Glen Johnson
Liverpool and Johnson have reportedly hit a snag in contract negotiations, as reported by Graeme Yorke of The Daily Mail:
Liverpool have reached an impasse with Glen Johnson over agreeing a new deal. The England international has 12 months on his current contract but has been offered another year on top of his existing terms
Johnson wants a longer deal but Liverpool, who are tracking Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, have no plans at present to go back with a revised offer.
The club's interest in Lovren was also reported by Jure Bohoric of Sky Sports, who highlighted quotes attributed to the player from Croatian publication Sportske Novosti:
I follow the media and I saw that Liverpool is allegedly interested in me. But that is all that I know so far. I feel great at Southampton and my contract is valid for the next three years. So the only thing I can say right now is that the club is the one who decides.
Rodgers may even be tempted to provide Martin Kelly with additional games. The 24-year-old right-back really needs to establish himself after making just five substitute appearances during an injury-ravaged season. Rodgers has indicated the Englishman will receive the opportunity to impress.
Who should start at right-back for Liverpool next season?
"There will be games next year for the likes of him to come and play in if we continue to qualify in the competitions," noted Rodgers, as reported by Chris McKenna of the Daily Star.
Johnson, lambasted by many for his lazy performance during Liverpool's capitulation against Crystal Palace, may have to look over his shoulder if Kelly can establish a decent run of fitness. This sense of competition is something Rodgers must promote if Liverpool are to remain competitive.
He needs players who are hungry to play and ambitious enough to tackle the Premier League's big boys without any inkling of fear. The likes of Simon Mignolet and Mamadou Sakho were successfully drafted in last summer, but if Liverpool are to begin winning trophies, Rodgers needs to pad his squad out with further calibre.
Stats via WhoScored.com unless otherwise noted.