Addressing weaknesses in a squad doesn’t seem to be in vogue for a host of the top Premier League teams.
Manchester United signed Robin van Persie in the summer of 2012 even though they had a wealth of striking options and little in midfield. Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil in the summer of 2013 even though they had an embarrassment of attacking-midfield riches and were in desperate need of a striker.
Now, are Liverpool set to do the same?
The Reds looked set to take the Premier League title last season after playing some scorching attacking football. Brendan Rodgers’ team blew sides away with their thrilling attacking forays, but when it comes to defending, the less said the better, really. Ultimately their generosity at the back cost them the title.
But despite those persistent defensive lapses, and despite having already recruited stylish midfielder Emre Can and powerful striker Rickie Lambert, the Reds are seemingly in the market for more attacking options, if recent reports are to believed.
Here’s the very latest transfer murmurings when it comes to the Merseyside outfit:
Liverpool Going All-Out for Alexis Sanchez
Such is their desire to land the Chilean forward, the Reds could be set to stump up a whopping £27 million to bring Sanchez to Anfield. That’s according Jamie Anderson of the Daily Star, who claims Liverpool are willing to splash the cash on the Barcelona man to stave off interest from Juventus and Manchester United.
Sanchez looks destined to leave the Camp Nou this summer, and after starting the World Cup with a fine performance in Chile’s 3-1 win over Australia, you suspect there will be a host of clubs interested in this scintillating forward.
Here’s the kind of qualities Sanchez could potentially bring with him to Merseyside:
While Liverpool do have a host of attacking talent on their books, the 25-year-old Barcelona man is somebody who can offer something completely different. He’s lightning-quick, supremely skilled and a very astute decision-maker in the final third.
Sanchez, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling would make for a magnificent attacking quartet should Liverpool strike a deal.
Bleacher Report’s Karl Matchett is already excited at the prospect of Sanchez donning Liverpool red:
If Liverpool got Alexis Sanchez… well. Just, yes.— Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett) June 1, 2014
The Reds have been continually linked with a deal for Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana, with a reported fee of £25 million, per Ben Smith of BBC Sport. But if they’re going to spend big money on another attacking player and it's a straight choice between Lallana and Sanchez, it simply has to be the Chilean.
Antonio Candreva Wants Champions League Football
After running the Three Lions ragged in Italy’s 2-1 victory in the World Cup, England supporters could be set to see a whole lot more of Candreva, who is a player the Reds are reportedly keeping tabs on.
According to David Wright of The Express, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint Germain are all interested in the Lazio wide man, and he’s put potential suitors on red alert by insisting he’s keen for Champions League football:
A player’s ambitions are to do good things and to play at the best clubs and to play in the Champions League.
I hope to play a good World Cup, then I'll be happy about what will happen.
Currently, Lazio are unable to offer Candreva that luxury. But according to Wright’s piece, they would only be willing to let their prize asset depart for a fee of around £20 million. Nonetheless, if he continues to produce superb performances throughout the World Cup, there could be a few teams willing to pay that amount.
Here’s why the aforementioned triumvirate of illustrious sides are reportedly interested in the player:
While Sanchez would provide a raw, direct threat, Candreva offers a much more energetic and considered presence. He is an indisputably skilful player with a keen eye for goal, and he too would bring a completely different dimension to this Liverpool team.
Here’s how he compares with Liverpool’s other supposed target, Sanchez:
|Antonio Candreva||Alexis Sanchez|
|Appearances (Sub)||35 (2)||27 (7)|
|Average Key Passes Per Game||2.1||1.4|
|Average Dribbles Per Game||2.6||1.1|
|Pass Success Rate||83.2%||79.7%|
If it was a straight choice between the two, Liverpool should still go for the younger, sharper Sanchez, but if they were to miss out on the Barcelona man, the 27-year-old Candreva would be an excellent alternative.
Napoli Keen On Permanent Deal For Pepe Reina
The Italian outfit are reportedly keen on securing a permanent deal for the Spanish international, who enjoyed a prosperous season on loan with the Partenopei.
According to Bruce Archer of the Daily Star, the two clubs held talks over a potential deal for Reina at the end of the last campaign, but nothing was agreed. But now, talks look set to resume, with a deal reportedly set to be completed by the end of the month.
After enduring a difficult season during Rodgers’ first year in charge of Liverpool, Reina lost his starting spot to Simon Mignolet ahead of the 2013-14 season. And while Mignolet’s performance levels have oscillated somewhat, there has been no indication from the club that he’ll be losing his spot in the side next season.
A goalkeeper of Reina’s quality needs to be playing on a regular basis, and if he was to stick around at Anfield there would be no guarantee of that.
At Napoli, he has a manager who knows him well in Rafa Benitez, and after securing third place in Serie A and winning the Coppa Italia last season, it’s clear that the former Liverpool boss is building something positive in Naples. Reina should do his utmost to stick around.