Liverpool are reportedly looking into the possibility of signing Marcos Rojo to help the team's ailing back line, as attempts to sign Alberto Moreno have so far proved futile, and the Reds are unwilling to pay Sevilla's asking price.
According to Metro's Jamie McLaughlin, Sevilla's asking price of £20 million is far too steep for Brendan Rodgers, and the Spanish club's insistence on such a price tag has led to negotiations coming to a full stop.
Argentine international Rojo is apparently next on Rodgers' list although he recently told Sport (h/t to Goal.com's Miles Chambers) he's dreaming of a move to Barcelona:
Obviously I'd like to play for Barcelona, but I have not yet spoken with Leo Messi about it.
I only know what is said in the media.
I want to keep my head down and do well at the World Cup. I have clearly impressed in the last year in Europe, so afterwards I will see what will become of my future.
Rojo's 2013-14 campaign with Sporting was solid, if unspectacular, but fans were most looking forward to what he would do with the Argentine national team during the 2014 World Cup.
The 24-year-old got the start as a left-back against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the results were far from pretty. Fans will mostly remember this spectacular clearance, as shared by Bleacher Report:
As spectacular as it may be, that right there should be Exhibit A as to why Liverpool should not go after Rojo. It doesn't take confidence or swag to do such a thing inside your own box—it takes a complete lack of responsibility and a working football IQ.
The clearance was Rojo's high point of the match. He contributed little to nothing offensively, was booked for a dumb shove and was perhaps the weakest link on a much-maligned back line.
His performance against Bosnia showed exactly what kind of player Rojo is—a solid defender with limited athleticism or potential but the versatility to also play in the centre. Rojo isn't a class defender full-back, and for all his defensive prowess, a modern full-back needs to be able to do so much more.
When The Mirror's Ed Malyon first heard of the links between Rojo and the Reds, his reaction was fairly simple—it just wouldn't be a good signing:
A Bola report Liverpool want Marcos Rojo. Would not be a good signing IMO http://t.co/wtl8baZRfI— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) March 18, 2014
Moreno, on the other hand, is a special talent. He's already as strong defensively as Rojo is, and he offers so much more moving forward—something teams require from their full-backs in the modern game.
The 21-year-old is barely scratching the surface of his potential, and he very nearly made Spain's World Cup squad following his excellent season with Sevilla.
Of course, the Spanish side are setting a price tag of £20 million—he's worth it. Rodgers may have been able to work his magic on the transfer market in recent seasons, coming up with under-the-radar signings, but following Liverpool's remarkable 2013-14 season, those days are over.
The full-back position has become such an important one in modern football; teams are putting a premium on finding quality athletes capable of dominating the wings on both sides of the pitch. Liverpool are trying to reassert themselves as a top team in English football, and part of that is paying top transfer fees.
The Reds need a top-class full-back to play on the opposite side of Jon Flanagan, and despite his young age, Moreno is as close as the Reds will get to signing one during this transfer window. He has the potential to be amongst the very best in just a few years' time, but in 2014-15, he'll already be arguably the team's best defender.
Rojo isn't a top-class full-back, and he never will be. Settling for the Argentine international because Rodgers is too stubborn to pay Sevilla exactly what Moreno is worth would be a mistake and an admission that the Reds are not who they claim to be—a top English side.