Glen Johnson and 6 Liverpool Players Who Should Be Sold This Summer
Flush with cash from Luis Suarez’s big-money move to Barcelona earlier in July, Liverpool are understandably linked with players right, left and center this summer transfer window, having already splashed out on a few new signings.
But as they plan ahead for the coming Premier League season, the Reds will be keeping an eye on their balance sheet and looking to bolster their coffers by letting go of several players currently on their books.
Let’s take a look at six players that Liverpool should sell this summer. Let us know your picks in the comments below.
Having spent last season on loan at Napoli under old boss Rafael Benitez, Pepe Reina is back with Liverpool for their preseason tour of the United States after a disastrous World Cup campaign with Spain this summer.
Reina fell out with Brendan Rodgers last year, and his move to Napoli appeared to signal an end to the former crowd favorite’s time at Anfield, but it appears that he may be sticking around a year on.
With two years left on his current contract, Reina is still a sellable asset—but only for a big wage package, which is likely the sticking point as far as transfer negotiations are concerned. Still, an international-class goalkeeper like Reina will not be content with a place on the bench week in, week out—but neither will Simon Mignolet.
It makes better sense to let go of Reina now, recoup a minimal fee in return and relieve themselves of Reina’s pay package—and ensure that he leaves with his reputation still relatively intact, and not as a backup to Mignolet.
It appears that Glen Johnson is the flavor of the moment when it comes to Liverpool fans discussing potential transfers, but it’s not without reason and logic.
After all, Johnson is entering the final year of his contract—and with contract negotiations appearing to have stalled, keeping him on this season means they will likely lose him on a free transfer next summer.
Considering Johnson’s hefty wages and his poor and inconsistent performances for Liverpool last season, it’s no surprise that Johnson has likely shot to the top of a list of potential departures from Anfield.
With Rodgers apparently nearing the signing of Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo, per Andy Hunter of the Guardian, Liverpool appear to be looking towards the future when it comes to their right-back position. Soon to be 30 years of age, unless he turns on the style over preseason, Johnson may not be part of that future.
It wasn’t the best of seasons for Jose Enrique last term, as he sat out most of the campaign with a knee injury he sustained in November 2013. In his absence, Jon Flanagan rose from the fringes of the Liverpool squad to become Rodgers’ first-choice left-back.
Having fought his way back to fitness, Enrique has featured in all of the Reds’ preseason games thus far, but his place in the team is no longer guaranteed—and with Rodgers on the prowl for a left-back in the transfer market, Enrique faces a fight to secure a place in the starting XI.
Clumsy on the ball, slow in acceleration, at times wildly inaccurate with his crossing and off-the-pace positionally, Enrique doesn’t possess the intricate technical qualities and tactical intelligence to star in Rodgers’ setup, even if he has been played at both left-back and left wing before.
But his age and physical qualities mean that he could well be a good signing for another Premier League team or even back home in Spain, and could earn Liverpool a few pounds in return.
Somewhat like Enrique, one player who may have stayed at Anfield one year too many is Lucas, who has attracted considerable criticism over the past season with his lethargic and inconsistent performances at the heart of the midfield.
As Steven Gerrard made the holding midfield position his own last season—and even the captain was far from faultless in that role—Lucas’ days as Liverpool’s starting midfield anchor have been numbered for quite some time.
It doesn’t help that Brendan Rodgers’ experiments with playing Lucas in a more advanced central midfield role a la Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen’s ended in severe disappointment last term, exposing his technical limitations as well as his lack of speed and acceleration.
With Emre Can looking strong and promising since his summer arrival from Bayer Leverkusen and Philippe Coutinho increasingly at home in a deeper role, Lucas himself may consider leaving Anfield a way of keeping his reputation intact, before Liverpool fans start to ignore his resurgence to prominence a few years ago and start piling on the hate again.
Our last two names on this list are players who have already been strongly linked with an exit. Oussama Assaidi, who spent last season on loan with Stoke City, is reportedly near a return to the Britannia Stadium in a deal potentially worth £7 million, according to John Percy of the Telegraph.
For that amount of money, the Liverpool hierarchy should be snapping Stoke’s proverbial hand off, given that the Reds only paid a reported £2.4 million for his signing from Heerenveen two years ago, per Andy Hunter of the Guardian.
Even the reported initial fee of £4.5 million in Stoke’s deal would be almost double what the Reds paid in 2012. And considering his lack of contributions to the Reds cause over the past two years, he should be one of the first out the Anfield exit door.
In a team looking to go from strength to strength after their impressive campaign last year, and who has already brought in reinforcements to their forward line, Assaidi has no chance of forcing his way into Rodgers’ lineup anytime soon. A permanent exit is inevitable.
Fabio Borini’s place up front may not be as uncertain as Assaidi’s, given that the Italian striker has featured in all three of Liverpool’s preseason games thus far, but his disappointing performances have surely nudged him closer towards the exit.
It helps that Sunderland have registered their interest and even reportedly agreed a deal for £14 million with Liverpool for a player who helped them secure their Premier League status last season (per Charles Perrin of the Express), but further complications have apparently come in the way.
Regardless, Borini doesn’t have the quality to offer much to a lightning-quick forward line consisting of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Lazar Markovic and possibly even academy prospect Jordon Ibe.
Sure, Borini’s presence means another first-team striker on Liverpool’s books who can step in if needed, but Rodgers had already covered this by bringing in Rickie Lambert from Southampton. The path has been paved for Borini to leave Anfield—and at a profit as well.