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Liverpool Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Brendan Rodgers' Big-Money Targets

SANTO ANDRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 18: Sami Khedira of Germany runs with the ball during the German national team training at Campo Bahia on June 18, 2014 in Santo Andre, Brazil.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2014

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is continuing to explore every option for upgrading his squad ahead of participation in next season's UEFA Champions League.

Having already added ex-Bayer 04 Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can, Rodgers is now targeting "hungry" players, according to Liverpool Echo reporter James Pearce:

We're in a position now where we're going straight into the group stage of the Champions League and we’re going into the Premier League next season with an expectation and a belief that we can win the league.

We need players that have those qualities. That belief, players who are willing to improve and who are hungry to improve themselves.

If we can get a number of signings with that profile then we can go on and build on last season.

But rather than just paying lip service to the idea, Rodgers is targeting potential big-money swoops for the following three key players:

 

Sami Khedira, Real Madrid

Rodgers is wisely pursuing a move for Real Madrid's dynamic midfield runner, Sami Khedira. A report in Metro stated that Rodgers intends to steal a march on Premier rivals Manchester United and Chelsea:

Both parties see a move away as ideal, and Liverpool believe £15million could be enough to get him out of Madrid.

Manchester United and Chelsea are also monitoring the situation, but Liverpool believe they are strong favourites in the race.

A £15 million bid for Khedira is a smart move for Liverpool. Often wrongly labelled a defensive midfielder, the Germany international is actually a true box-to-box player.

He has the physical power, energy and drive to make an impact at both ends of the pitch. Khedira also has a happy knack for grabbing clutch goals.

Liverpool need energy in midfield, players who will do the running for Steven Gerrard. That allows the skipper to stay deep and launch precise passes aimed at releasing ample pace in attack.

Jordan Henderson currently occupies the role of chief runner, but Khedira is certainly an upgrade. In fact, the best move would be to partner to Khedira and Henderson to bracket Gerrard.

Given the other interested parties, there's no doubt Rodgers faces a tough task landing his man. But the Reds now have the lure of the Champions League, something archrivals United can't offer.

Khedira would be an excellent midfield partner for Jordan Henderson.
Khedira would be an excellent midfield partner for Jordan Henderson.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The real threat comes from Chelsea, especially considering manager Jose Mourinho's history with Khedira at Real Madrid. That's why an early move makes the most sense.

With Chelsea still embroiled in finally wrapping up a deal for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, Liverpool should seize the moment to make Khedira an offer he can't refuse.

 

Adam Lallana, Southampton

The club's protracted pursuit of Adam Lallana isn't going to go away any time soon. In a report from the Liverpool Echo, Rodgers will re-open negotiations with Southampton for the England playmaker after the World Cup.

Given England's dismal early exit from Brazil, Rodgers won't even have to wait that long. The Echo report has noted that settling on an agreeable fee has been an issue:

The Reds’ improved offer of £25million was rejected by Southampton prior to the tournament with the South Coast outfit having initially snubbed a £20million bid.

Saints want £30million and with Liverpool reluctant to go that high that has led to increased  speculation they could abandon their pursuit of the 26-year-old and turn their  attention to other targets.

At 26, Lallana is a player approaching his peak years, and he certainly suits the style of play Rodgers demands. Lallana is a quick-witted, pass-and-move attacking midfielder who would thrive in Liverpool's possession game.

Liverpool won't surrender their chase of Adam Lallana.
Liverpool won't surrender their chase of Adam Lallana.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

He can operate centrally or on the left, lending tremendous tactical flexibility to an already fluid attack. However, Southampton's demands are certainly steep, maybe too steep for a club with more pressing needs.

What Liverpool really need this summer is a defensive overhaul. That makes playing up to £30 million for Lallana a luxury move, particularly when young maestro Philippe Coutinho can do a similar job.

 

Mauricio Isla, Juventus

One player who could be part of the necessary rebuild at the back is Chilean flier Mauricio Isla. Rodgers is prepared to pay £15 million for the Juventus wing-back, per Daily Star writer Gary Jones:

That's according to new reports today that claim Brendan Rodgers will look to follow up the Reds' earlier interest in the Juventus right-back.

Isla's ability to play in a number of positions makes him an attractive proposition for interested suitors, with Liverpool and Arsenal casting an eye over him last year.

The latter part of Jones' description will certainly appeal to Rodgers. He has often chosen to play three-man defences, with wing-backs tasked with providing width.

That's certainly what Isla does best, although his defensive inconsistencies should be cause for pause on Merseyside. Isla's natural inclination to buccaneer forward can cause him to get caught out positionally. He is also not the most physical in the tackle.

With current right-back Glen Johnson already a defensive horror show, Rodgers might want to look for a more solid alternative than Isla.

 

Rodgers is currently casting a wide net in his search for new options at key positions. Of the latest rumours, the potential move for Khedira is the most intriguing.

His signing would represent the kind of headline-grabbing addition a club returning to Europe's premier competition needs. As for Lallana, while Rodgers is right to be a fan, he must guard against prioritising this pursuit ahead of more obvious needs.

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