Updates from Friday, July 11
Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has blasted Liverpool for reportedly approaching Wilfried Bony's representatives without making official contact with the Welsh club first.
Jenkins insists no permission has been given for the two parties to converse, per Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail:
I have no idea about that. The only thing I'd say is I'm completely unaware of contact between Liverpool and myself.
I was very surprised to hear and disappointed to hear that Liverpool had gone down that route and were talking to the player behind behind my club's back. I'm disappointed that Liverpool are acting in that manner. No official approach has been made to me or our football club.
Bony is "desperate" to leave Swansea in favour of joining Liverpool, according to reports. The Ivory Coast international, who failed to make an impression at the World Cup, is seeking to continue his progression by linking up with former Swans boss Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside.
Darren Lewis of the Mirror indicates Bony is ready to exit the Liberty Stadium:
The 25-year-old Ivory Coast World Cup forward has told friends he is desperate for the Anfield giants to make the £19m bid that will trigger his release clause. Swansea, who paid Arnhem £12m for Bony a year ago, have made it clear they will not sell unless his buy-out clause is met.
That price tag has already scared off West Ham, but Tottenham are interested.
Nick Sutton of BBC Radio 4 tweeted the Mirror's backpage splash of the story, while Sky Sports' Peter O'Rourke indicates a meeting is being set up between Liverpool and the player's representatives:
Lewis suggests Bony is "adamant" he doesn't want to be part of Garry Monk's plans if a bigger club tries to sign him, but that doesn't make him the best fit for Rodgers' rapidly developing Liverpool squad. Having signed Rickie Lambert, and with Divock Origi expected to join, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, Bony would provide something of a powerhouse overload up top.
Despite netting 16 goals in 34 Premier League appearances during his debut year in Wales, per WhoScored.com, Bony doesn't immediately appear the perfect fit for Rodgers' style or squad. He isn't the type of player to endlessly chase the ball down, nor does he offer the versatility Liverpool's Northern Irish manager loves to secure with his signings.
Bony is someone who needs to be played to as a target man, someone to hold up the ball and continue momentum by distributing it before heading into the box. Lambert can offer this and will work harder around the box, while Origi's physique also indicates a more direct route to goal when Luis Suarez completes his move to Barcelona, reported by Metro.
A likely fee of £19 million is expensive for a player who wouldn't offer the Reds further tactical options. Bony is a world-class finisher on his day, but a few months down the line, Rodgers may come to find the African star pushes Liverpool one step too far down the target-man route that he looked to banish with the sale of Andy Carroll.
Despite Rodgers possessing a transfer kitty of up to £125 million, according to Colin Harvey of the Daily Star, an investment in Bony may be his last striker addition of the summer. With potentially three forwards added and Daniel Sturridge guaranteed to start, it's unlikely Rodgers would go back for a fourth.
He also faces an uphill battle for Yevhen Konoplyanka and Xherdan Shaqiri, if either prove to be concrete targets. As reported by Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italia, Roma have "raised their offer" for the latter, while they are also set to "resume contacts" with Bayern to land the services of Pep Guardiola's unneeded playmaker.
Even so, Liverpool can expect to tie up the deal for Benfica's flying winger Lazar Markovic, per Mike Whalley of ESPN FC.
Defensively, Rodgers may be one step closer to landing Dejan Lovren after Ronald Koeman "found a replacement" for Southampton, according to Gary Jones of the Daily Star. The Croatian centre-back's arrival would certainly improve the Reds' defensive options, as Rodgers continues to hunt Champions League-standard players to solidify next season's assault on Europe.
Quality, quantity and versatility are important at this point. Although Bony has proven himself to be a lethal striker, his overall game may force Liverpool into losing their short passing, dribble-orientated edge when moving forward. Perhaps the money on Origi and potentially Bony could be saved, allowing Rodgers to add a £30 million forward of another type to his team.
This could have been Alexis Sanchez, who recently joined Arsenal, reported by the club's website. While there's little point in stewing on who may have arrived in the deal to offload Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the Chilean's London switch highlights Rodgers' need to add another incisive, tricky goalscorer to his lineup.
Should a bid for Bony be lodged, Liverpool fans may just worry the ambition of last season's terrific attacking output is rapidly beginning to regress.
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