Liverpool Transfer Rumors, Part III : Central and Defensive Midfielders

Abhijit RajaCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2011

Liverpool Transfer Rumors, Part III : Central and Defensive Midfielders

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Raul Meireles (R) of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Lucas during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Wigan Athletic at Anfield on February 12, 2011 in Liverpool, England.
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Just two years back Liverpool has the combination of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano at the center of their midfield - arguably one of the best holding and defensive mid-fielders in the world at that time.

    In just two years time, it is their departure that is being cited as one of the reasons for Liverpool's downfall, Alonso's more than that of Mascherano.

    Lucas has improved by leaps and bounds this season. Meireles, initially bought to play the central mid-fielder role, has excelled in his more advanced role, leaving Gerrard to play at the center of the field. 

    However, with Gerrard not getting any younger, and only Poulson to replace any player in case of an injury, Liverpool would ideally want to reinforce this department as well.

    The list would look at six players who might be recruited to fulfill that requirement.

    Liverpool Transfer Rumors Part I: Strikers and Forwards

    Liverpool Transfer Rumors Part II : Wingers and Attacking Midfielders

Charlie Adam

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Charlie Adam of Blackpool celebrates after scoring his teams third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Blackpool at Goodison Park on February 5, 2011 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Current Club : Blackpool

    Expected Price : £10m

    Charlie Adam was the subject of the famous approach from Liverpool in January. The midfielder had also put in a transfer request, which was rejected by Blackpool.

    Holloway did not want to part with the midfielder and Blackpool rejected two bids from Liverpool on the deadline day rumored to be £8.5m and £10m. 

    The 25-year-old Scot has been one of the inspirational players for the Tangerines and has been one of the  reasons for their impressive showing this season, with accolades arriving from across the Premier League.

    With the Liverpool midfield desperately looking for some creativity, he may well be the player who solves that problem.

    Redknapp admitted to a failed bid by Spurs in January and may well look to renew their interest in the summer. Alex Ferguson also openly praised the midfielder and may well rival Liverpool and Spurs for the signing of the Scot. 

    However, with more options available in the summer, Adam would be hoping that the interest of the big clubs does not diminish and he is able to secure the dream move that was denied to him in January.

Alberto Aquilani

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    TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 16:  Alberto Aquilani of Juventus FC celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AS Bari at Olimpico Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Current Club : Liverpool (on Loan to Juventus)

    Expected Price : Free (if a deal is not reached with Juventus)

    Alberto Aquilani is cited as one of the biggest failed signing of Rafa Benitez. Brought in to replace Xabi Alonso for £20m from Roma, he spent most of the time on the doctor's table during his stint at Anfield.

    In the few games that he actually appeared for the Reds, he had impressed most people with his skills. 

    However, at the start of the season, Roy Hodgson decided that Aquilani was surplus to the requirements and sent him out on loan to Juventus, when Liverpool was clearly short of options in the midfield. 

    He has excelled in his stint at the Turin club and has also won the Player of the month once this season and has forged a successful partnership with Melo in the center of midfield.

    Liverpool had inserted a £13m buyout clause in the loan deal and with Aquilani's impressive performances and his open confession about his preference for staying in Italy, most Liverpool fans had been resigned to the fact that the club had lost Aquilani for good.

    However, recently Juventus has spoken about its financial difficulties and want to negotiate a deal for the midfielder for just £5m. Hence, Liverpool seem to have an opportunity to get the midfielder back, if they want to. 

Blaise Matuidi

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    Current Club : Saint-Etienne

    Expected Price : £6-8m

    Arriving from Saint-Etienne, Comolli is a known admirer of the 23-year old French. 

    He has notched up over 120 appearances for the club and has also recently earned a call to the French national team. 

    He primarily plays as a defensive midfielder and his style is said to be somewhat similar to Mascherano, with him being described as a "fierce and strong tacker".

    At only 23-years of age, he would fit in very well into FSG's youth policy.

    However, the singing of the youngster might not be without competition as clubs like Juventus and Arsenal are also expected to be in the race. 

    However, with Comolli in-charge at Liverpool, he might just be able to use his Saint-Etienne connections to land the youngster for Liverpool.

Armin Bacinovic

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    MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 10:  Armin Bacinovic of Palermo scores the equalising goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and US Citta di Palermo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 10, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
    Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

    Current Club : Palermo

    Expected Price : £12m

    The 21-year old was bought from the Slovenian club Maribor in the summer of 2010 and he has immediately been able to become a regular first team member at Palermo. 

    His tackling and high work rate had already impressed the fans at Palermo and they are not expected to let him go for cheap a they consider him to be a star for the future. 

    With a host of premier league clubs including Chelsea, Spurs and local rivals Everton also chasing the youngster, securing the signing might not be a walk in the park. 

    At just 21 years of age, he has already made 5 appearances for his senior national team in addition to his 10 appearances for the U-21s.

    FSG might just be tempted to enter the bidding war for the player considering his promise and age.  

Javier Mascherano

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Javier Mascherano of Liverpool in action during the UEFA Europa League Round 32 first leg match between Liverpool and Unirea Urzicen at Anfield on February 18, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Current Club : Barcelona

    Expected Price : £10m

    Before the fans start slagging off this page, the facts need to be looked at. 

    Mascherano had a forced move to Barcelona at the beginning of the season, rubbing almost all the Liverpool fans the wrong way. 

    However, Mascherano seems to be a misfit at Barcelona with starts being at a premium due to the presence of Busquets in the team as well as the competition from Keita.

    Also, Mascherano does not seem to fit into Guardiola's high tempo play. He may well be looking for a move away from Nou Camp to get more playing time, as lack of it may also lead to him losing the captaincy of Argentina. 

    Although, he spoke about his problems at England, he may consider moving back to Anfield to reignite his career.

    Whether Liverpool's owners and management would be ready to take back a player who had bailed on them just a few months back is yet to be seen.

The Youngsters

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04:  Jonjo Shelvey of Liverpool shoots at goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match beteween Liverpool and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 4, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    With  youngsters like Shelvey also developing nicely as central midfielders, the more urgent requirement seems to be in the defensive midfielder area rather than in the holding playmaker type. 

    With only Poulson as the back-up to the improving Lucas, Liverpool might very well be required to buy a defensive midfielder. 

    Whether Liverpool buys a player, or relies on the development of Shelvey and Spearing is yet to be seen.

    The next and final part of the series would focus on the defender linked with a move to Anfield.