Brendan Rodgers' quest to galvanise his striking ranks has led him to eye former Chelsea hitman Samuel Eto'o, according to widespread reports on Tuesday.
John Cross of the Mirror indicates that Eto'o and his representatives are "understood to have held talks with Liverpool about a possible move to Anfield." Cross also states Ajax are interested but remain "a long way from meeting his contract demands."
The Cameroonian international is available free after leaving Stamford Bridge during the summer and could offer a temporary solution to Rodgers' attacking worries. Replacing Luis Suarez is extremely difficult, if not impossible, but the Reds are likely to find themselves in trouble if Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert are the only two fit strikers to take on four competitions.
Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph explains the Eto'o situation:
"Ajax are in talks with the former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward, but Rodgers has a pressing need for more firepower and there have been discussions about the merits of a deal for the African," writes Bascombe.
Such a deal would likely divide the opinion of Liverpool fans.
Many will think Eto'o represents a smart piece of business. He is a Champions League winner, proven in multiple leagues and would arrive without a fee. Most importantly, the 33-year-old showed he can still net goals last season after grabbing 12 in 30 appearances across the Premier League and Europe, per WhoScored.com. Considering just 21 of these displays were starts, that's not a bad record by any means.
Eto'o's arrival would also allow Rodgers to continue scoping the market before dropping a massive sum. He can wait until January, or indeed next summer, before committing to a transfer that will significantly hit the bank. Eto'o represents a low-risk acquisition and could even smooth over the cracks until Divock Origi's loan spell with Lille is complete.
Detractors from the potential deal will cite Eto'o's age and that he's not as impressive or prolific as he used to be. He isn't a player on which Liverpool will be able to see a monetary return, but also wouldn't risk breaking UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, either.
Despite a tough season in the Premier League, one in which Jose Mourinho mocked the player's age, Eto'o showed he can still finish when presented an opportunity. Granted, he isn't as athletic or pacey as he used to be, but the striker's edge remains.
Jurgen Klopp, who is fully used to dealing with the perils of replacing big-name stars, believes Liverpool have what it takes to continue pushing for the title. The Borussia Dortmund manager saw his side beaten 4-0 by Rodgers' men in preseason, an impressive result considering the English side's state of flux.
"If you make the right decisions after you miss (the title) you can be stronger," said Klopp, per Bascombe. "Maybe Liverpool this year is the big team in the Premier League. We will see. At the moment it seems to be no problem (without Suarez)."
One veteran African also looks to be leaving Anfield, as Trabzonspor close in on a deal for Kolo Toure. Ibrahim Haciosmanoglu, the Turkish outfit's president, recently said, "We have agreed terms with Kolo Toure and we will bring him to the club," reported by Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
Toure moved down the pecking order with the signing of Dejan Lovren, and while Daniel Agger remains at the club would rarely receive a game for the Reds. Martin Skrtel and Lovren are expected to be Liverpool's first-team partnership next season, with Agger's future remaining unconfirmed, per Daniel Harris of the Guardian.
Rodgers may be willing to provide young centre-back Tiago Illori with a chance to prove himself, as Toure's indifferent spell of form with the Merseyside club looks set to end.
Liverpool fans will likely feel a tinge of excitement and nervousness heading into the new season. The manager has crammed his squad with quality across the summer, but the lack of striking options continues to worry. If Sturridge receives an injury, major problems are likely to occur.
While many will believe Liverpool can go one better than last campaign's second-place finish, others are sure to predict a post-Suarez comedown. The Reds face a tough early run with away trips to Manchester City and Tottenham arriving before the end of August, meaning we'll have a good idea of where the squad is at by the time the transfer window closes.
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