Liverpool have been one of the busiest teams early in the summer transfer window and are reportedly planning on keeping up the pace, but a big splash will be needed for the Reds to remain competitive with their main Premier League rivals.
Liverpool FC's summer rebuilding is gathering pace after they announced the £10m signing of Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen.
The 20-year-old will move to Anfield when the European transfer window officially re-opens on July 1, subject to documentation, after the Reds agreed to meet the buy-out clause in his contract.
Can, a German U21 international, becomes Brendan Rodgers’ second signing of the summer, as Liverpool look to improve upon a squad that came so close to landing the Premier League title last season.
Rickie Lambert, the England striker, has already signed on, and more arrivals are expected. Bids have been lodged for Alberto Moreno, the Sevilla left back, and Southampton captain Adam Lallana, with the £16m deal for Moreno believed to be edging closer to completion.
Liverpool's activity early in the transfer window is good news for the fans—the Reds have clearly identified the needs on their squad and the pieces they want to fill those needs.
By moving early, Brendan Rodgers decreases the risk of losing potential targets to rival teams. Both Can and Lambert are solid squad players who will help the team immediately, and the former has the potential to develop into an impact player for the future.
Liverpool need that squad depth. Unlike rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, the Reds didn't have to worry about the added strains of UEFA Champions League football during the 2013-14 campaign, and compared to other teams, they remained relatively injury-free.
The Reds might not be so lucky next season, which is what makes both moves clever decisions. Can is a prototypical defensive midfielder, but he has the versatility to play as a left-back as well.
Lambert is a useful option up front, and while he won't challenge Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge for the starting position anytime soon, he's capable of holding his own both as an option from the bench and as a starter when the current duo get some much-needed rest.
Lallana and Moreno would be strong signings for any club, with the Spaniard giving Liverpool some much needed quality as a wing-back and the Southampton midfielder further reinforcing an already strong group of midfielders.
All four would be excellent signings for a young, talented squad seeking depth, but Liverpool need more. The Reds still have a big need in the centre of their defence, and a splash signing there could make or break their season.
Via WhoScored.com, no team in the Premier League's top five conceded more than Liverpool, and when asked about the club's transfer needs, beIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri was quite clear:
Adding top quality obviously helps a team on the pitch, but it can do more than that. By signing a world-class—or future world-class—talent, the Reds would be sending other top teams around Europe a strong signal: We're back.
Spending big excites fans and players alike, and it reaffirms belief in the club's steady rise back to the top of English football.
Two star defenders potentially on the transfer market would be dream signings for the Reds: AS Roma's Mehdi Benatia and FC Porto's Eliaquim Mangala. The former was arguably Serie A's best defender last season, while the latter has the potential to rank amongst the best in the world very soon.
Both players would present a big upgrade over the trio of Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, and both are young enough to lead the Reds' defensive unit for the better part of the next decade.
Neither would come at a discount, but that's the point—Liverpool made a statement on the pitch last season by positioning themselves amongst the Premier League's elites once again, and a signing of this caliber would remind everyone the Reds aren't going anywhere.
Adding a star centre-back would make the Reds better in more ways than one, and without it, the 2014 summer transfer window can't truly be considered a success.