After a season that saw Liverpool fall just short in their pursuit of Premier League glory, the Reds will be looking for a summer of prosperity in the transfer window to help facilitate another title charge in the 2014/15 season.
Brendan Rodgers has endured mixed fortunes in the transfer market so far in his position as Liverpool manager, but he must isolate appropriate targets this summer if Liverpool are to challenge again, with a host of the Premier League elite likely to strengthen substantially in the offseason.
One player who has been an undoubted success story since his move to Merseyside is Daniel Sturridge, and he’s spoken of how getting his opportunity at Liverpool has allowed him to flourish, per Sky Sports:
I've just been given the opportunity, and that's what I've asked for in the past. That's what I've said, 'Give me that opportunity and then I can try to show what I can do'.
I think that it's down to the club which players they want to give a chance to and the philosophies they choose. I can't speak for Chelsea or City and say they were wrong in this or that. When you've got money, it's very easy to buy someone worth £50million, rather than say: 'I'm going to play this 20-year-old English player'. It's easier to buy someone when you have the money to do it.
Sturridge is part of a burgeoning core of English players in this Liverpool setup and Rodgers looks set to add to it once again this summer.
Here, let’s focus on three Englishmen—all at various stages of their development—that have been linked with a move to Merseyside in the summer and take a look at how they would fare when donning that famous red strip.
Liverpool have been told they must stump up some more cash if they want to sign the England international, because Lallana’s first club, Bournemouth, are entitled to around 25 percent of any fee Southampton might receive for the player.
According to Jamie McLaughlin of Metro, the Reds must up their bid to £25 million if they are to stand any chance of securing the player’s services for next season.
Tony Barrett of The Times tweeted earlier this week that talks between Liverpool and Saints are ongoing, as the Reds look to tie up a deal for Lallana and his teammate Dejan Lovren:
@myzermulji No mate. Talks ongoing with Southampton for Lallana and Lovren but no breakthrough yet.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) May 21, 2014
Stylistically, Lallana would be a wonderful acquisition for Liverpool. He is an extremely intelligent player who finds space on the pitch with ease. He’d bring an intricacy to this Liverpool team that was occasionally lacking at times last season, especially against teams who sit deep and look to frustrate the Reds.
A fee of £25 million may seem a little excessive for a player that remains unproven at the very highest level, but that’s the going rate for bright English talent in the modern game. Rodgers will be looking to mould Lallana as a player and if he can continue to develop as he has over the past few seasons, it’d certainly be money well spent.
The England left-back is reportedly keen on signing for a Champions League club, with Liverpool said to be interested in bringing the player to Anfield, per Dave Kidd of The Mirror.
Cole, who was released by Chelsea following the expiration of his contract, is hoping to prove that he can still cut it at the highest level and a move to Liverpool would give him the opportunity to test himself against Europe’s elite again next season.
Despite the longstanding rivalry between the two clubs, former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp can see a deal happening, per Sky Sports News (h/t Sky Sports):
Where will he go? He's obviously going to have so many opportunities abroad, and even in England as well.
Off the top of my head, Liverpool probably need a left-back. Jose Enrique was injured for large parts of the season and they've played Jon Flanagan at left-back and Glen Johnson at left-back at times.
Brendan Rodgers knows him well from his time at Chelsea so that might happen.
At 33 years old, it is indisputable that Cole is in the twilight of a long, illustrious career. But despite his diminishing opportunities last season, he is still a quality left-back. The manner in which he performed when drafted into the side for vital games against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid is a testament to that.
Cole would be Liverpool’s starting left-back if he did sign up with the Reds, and his professionalism and experience would be precious in what is an otherwise young squad. If Rodgers could get him on board, then it’d be a wonderful acquisition for Liverpool.
The Reds are set to give no respite to Southampton as they look to bolster their squad this summer, with 23-year-old Clyne reportedly a £15 million target, per Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star.
Who would be a better option for Liverpool next season?
With Glen Johnson’s Liverpool future in doubt after a contract dispute, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian, the Southampton right-back seems like a natural successor. And whilst Lallana and Luke Shaw have been singled out for plaudits this season, Clyne is a player whose influence has been just as important, if not a little understated.
Just like Shaw does on the left-hand side, the former Crystal Palace man provides unyieldingly energetic vertical forays down the right flank. There have been calls for him to be named in the England squad too, as noted here by The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg, who was impressed by Clyne's performance in Southampton's 2-0 win over Everton:
Thought Nathaniel Clyne was superb against Deulofeu yesterday. One for Hodgson to think about?— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) April 27, 2014
If Johnson was to leave Anfield, the Southampton man would be a fine replacement. But with the Saints looking almost certain to lose two of their prized assets in Lallana and Shaw, per James Dickenson of the Express, you do wonder how willing they would be to relinquish the services of another key player.
As is the case with Lallana, the asking price may seem a little steep. But with Clyne likely to feature in the England setup sooner rather than later, his premium will only increase. If Liverpool want the player, they’d be best suited to make a move as promptly as possible.