Brendan Rodgers will need to spend big if he wishes to bring Mauro Icardi or Keita Balde Diao to Liverpool. Both Inter Milan and Lazio have reportedly revealed their prices for the enticing strikers, whom Rodgers could use to soften the blow of losing Luis Suarez this summer.
Tuttosport (via Ben Burrows of the Daily Mirror) indicates Monaco are also interested in Icardi. The Italian newspaper "suggest both clubs are ready to bid as much as €30 million for the 21-year-old before the window shuts," per Burrows' translation.
It's a similar story for Keita, who has already been the subject of a major bid from the Reds, according to Sky Italia (via Burrows). It is said "the Reds had a bid in the region of £16 million rejected," which is still some way off the fee Lazio are trying to raise.
Metro believes it will take £24 million to prise the 19-year-old away from the Stadio Olimpico, another major investment if Rodgers is to stump up the cash.
Icardi has proven a solid scorer in Serie A, netting 10 goals during the 2012-13 season with Sampdoria and nine last season with Inter, per WhoScored.com. While not prolific, this total would certainly help the Reds spread out their goalscoring responsibility after Suarez's 31-goal haul last year.
The 21-year-old isn't someone who will contribute to all phases of play but is useful during attacking moves. He has decent pace, is agile and could flourish with Liverpool's pacemen bouncing around his position. Icardi also offers quality in the air, despite standing under 6 feet tall.
One drawback with the Argentine is his controversial life off the pitch. He is famous for marrying model Wanda Nara just months after she split from his teammate Maxi Lopez. Icardi then got a tattoo of Lopez's three children as the strikers' relationship grew sour.
Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror suggests this kind of publicity wouldn't work well with the English press:
Keita is a similar stature to Icardi but offers greater versatility. He can play through the centre or to the left, something Rodgers is sure to take note of. The former Barcelona trainee scored five goals mainly from the bench last season, per Soccerway, and he will be expected to contribute further if he remains in the Italian capital next season.
It is worth noting Keita "left Barca in disgrace after playing a prank - putting an ice cube in a teammate's bed," according to Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail.
While both strikers offer potential, Rodgers would certainly be spending top dollar for their services. The Northern Irishman has already brought Divock Origi to the club—despite Lille taking him back on loan for the season—and could have saved himself another transfer by keeping the Belgian on Merseyside.
Rodgers should also be wary of bringing in stars who create unwanted headlines. Icardi's reputation is tainted throughout European football, despite only being young. He would be a risky investment for the Reds, who were forced to deal with the fallout of Suarez's actions on multiple occasions. Keita's mishap appears less serious and is certainly easier to forgive.
Liverpool's transfer activity continues to advance, as Rodgers strives to ensure the squad can compete across all four competitions next season. Icardi and Keita can certainly shoulder some responsibility when it comes to scoring goals but are unlikely to offer exceptional numbers from the off.
The attention gained when signing someone like Icardi, in particular, is certainly something Rodgers needs to think long and hard about.
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