Liverpool Transfer News: Big-Money Deals Rumoured to Be Eyed by Brendan Rodgers

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2014

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli stands during the Italian Cup soccer match between AC Milan and Udinese at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

The ongoing saga that is Luis Suarez's imminent departure from Anfield has been dominating Liverpool's transfer-window headlines recently, but it's life after Suarez that Reds fans will be most concerned about.

With a hefty sum looking like coming in for the Uruguayan's signature, manager Brendan Rodgers will have the licence to spend big in the coming months to make sure that the Reds' 2013/14 success wasn't just a one-off.

While Liverpool's back line certainly needs work, it's the forward positions that Rodgers appears to be focusing on for now, with some big-name stars rumoured to be Anfield-bound.

Suarez's lack of discipline is what's made Liverpool fans come to terms with his departure, but it looks as if the Reds could be trading one of football's bad boys for another with Mario Balotelli reportedly on Rodgers' radar.

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

According to Tuttosport, reported via Metro, the Liverpool boss has identified the former Manchester City star as the ideal replacement for Suarez and a swoop for the striker is imminent.

Though Arsenal have been heavily linked with signing Balotelli, Liverpool have now reportedly joined the race for his signature, and they'd be getting a proven striker at the highest level should they secure his services.

The 23-year-old scored 14 goals in 30 Serie A matches last season according to, and he also fits the Liverpool transfer policy of being a young player with plenty of time to grow.

Marco Vasini/Associated Press

However, AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has questioned who would want to buy the controversial striker after his poor showing at the World Cup and admits that he came close to selling him before the tournament got underway—per Gazzetta dello Sport, via Andy Hodgson of the London Evening Standard:

Other than Italy, I lost during the World Cup. I was about to sell Balotelli to an English team for several millions. But after this World Cup who will buy him anymore?

Balotelli scored a single goal in Brazil—which just had to be against England—and failed to make a real impact on proceedings throughout. OptaJoe's statistics also reveal that his goals-to-shots ratio is below average:

However, he's the kind of player who can change games in the blink of an eye and would undoubtedly fit in at Anfield—as would another forward on Liverpool's wish list, Xherdan Shaqiri.

The Bayern Munich star was one of Switzerland's shining lights in the World Cup but rarely gets a chance domestically with the Bundesliga champions.

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

As's statistics show, Shaqiri made just 17 league appearances last term but still managed to find his way to six goals.

With chances few and far between for the exciting 22-year-old, Anfield looks an ideal destination for Shaqiri, who needs to decide between a Premier League switch and a new contract at the Allianz Arena.

As Jamie Anderson of the Express reported, the Swiss has been offered an improved contract extension with Bayern, but life on a lucrative substitutes' bench doesn't exactly suit Shaqiri.

Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Perfect timing, then, for Rodgers to launch a bid to lure the attacker to Merseyside, where he'll join new signings Emre Can, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana in the Liverpool revolution.

Shaqiri could fight for a place in the Liverpool team with Lallana if he signs, but Gary Lineker believes the former Southampton man is worthy of a place in the side:

However, Shaqiri's pace, finishing prowess and skill means that he offers a different outlet to Lallana and could prove an instant Premier League hit.

It'll be incredibly difficult for Rodgers to sign a player who will make as much impact as Luis Suarez, but he's making sure that he recruits the right man for the job by assessing several options.

Balotelli and Shaqiri are two lethal attackers who are still yet to hit their peak, and if Liverpool want to regularly challenge for the Premier League title, then bringing in players of their calibre is the right way to go about it.