In King Kenny we trust...
With the summer transfer window open and all manor of spending already taking place, Liverpool seem to be linked with pretty much every player going! Since the window opened, not a day has passed without the Anfield Road club's name being attached to various players.
Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Connor Wickham, Doni, Jose Enrique and Mamadou Sakho seem to be linked with Liverpool by every blog, news outlet, website, newspaper and tweeter!
Further more, Charles N'Zogbia, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Scott Parker, Adel Taarabt, Matty Jarvis, Gervinho, Lee Cattermole, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James McCarthy, Gael Clichy, Diego and Jeffren have all received varying amounts of publicity linking them with The Reds.
Add to that the more unlikely names (for vastly different reasons, I hasten to add) such as Eden Hazard, Leighton Baines, Kun Aguero and Joey Barton.
New Manchester United signing Phil Jones was rumoured to have turned Liverpool down to join the reigning Premier League champions. It's also highly likely Ashley Young will go down the exact same route.
That's a lot of speculation.
Sign(ings) of intent.
French prospect Sylvain Marveaux has allegedly agreed to join the club, although nothing official has been released as of yet, but clearly it's the capture of Jordan Henderson for a fee mooted to be in the £20m region, that has got the rumour mill swirling. Combined with the January signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez for a total of around £58m, it's clear for all to see - Liverpool are serious about spending!
With a rumoured transfer budget of £75m and the likes of David N'gog, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, Christian Poulsen, Joe Cole, Alberto Aquilani, Paul Konchesky, Phillip Degen, Emiliano Insua and Milan Jovanovic, all likely to leave, Liverpool have serious financial muscle, in both transfer fee and wage allowance.
Raul Meireles and Lucas could also be moved on if more funds were needed, especially considering the sheer number of players vying for a centre midfield berth.
Common consensus seems to be the Merseysiders need a left-back, centre-back, left and right Midfielders and a back-up striker - So it's on that note I present to you... the players Liverpool SHOULD sign but no one's mentioned....
Left back solution?
Starting out in the troublesome left-back position, I believe Wigan's Honduran international, Maynor Figueroa, could be the answer to Liverpool's problems.
Capable of playing centre-Back if needed, here we have a player with an excellent understanding of the English game, with over 100 Premier League games under his belt (not to mention numerous cup games) and international pedigree - having played for Honduras over 80 times, at both the 2005 and 2007 CONCACAF cups and the 2010 World Cup.
Owner of a dynamic left peg, one only has to witness his effort against Stoke in the 09/10 season for evidence. Spotting Thomas Sorenson off his line, the Honduran pinged the ball straight into the back of the net from inside his own half, an audacious effort that was rightly awarded Goal of the Season by the BBC's Match of the Day.
A competent crosser of the ball who can still deliver under pressure, Figueroa provided the cross for Hugo Rodallega to head the winner against Stoke, keeping Wigan in the Premier League last season.
Strong in the tackle, good in the air and with the added bonus of a long throw, Figueroa could provide The Reds with a valuable option to hit target man Andy Carroll.
Another interesting factor that makes Maynor an excellent proposition is his age - 28. Why, you ask? The answer is simple - Jack Robinson.
Jack is only 17 and has shown considerable promise. Bringing in a younger player could damage his potential, whereas bringing in an older player and we may be asking Robinson to play too soon. It's a balancing act.
Maynor Figueroa would probably be available for somewhere between £5-8m.
An alternative option for the left-back slot could be Bayern Munich's Italian/German starlet, Diego Contento.
He's a younger option than Figueroa at only 21 and a lot less experienced but arguably more talented and, without doubt, holds more potential. Has played over 25 games for the Bayern first team, so he's not a complete novice, including a couple of appearances in the Champions League. Pressure doesn't appear to be a problem to young Diego.
In and out of the Munich side last year due to a number of reasons - injury, form, managerial changes - Contento is a player with good pace who reads the game fairly well and is an excellent crosser of the ball, primarily from deeper positions.
While he hasn't really exhibited an urgency to go forward, due to playing behind either Ribery or Robben, that may be by design as opposed to lack of desire. Also, he's not the most physically commanding and has a tendency to get brushed off the ball a little too easily, but considering his age, it's not something that would be a long-term concern.
His presence in the Liverpool side could limit the playing time of Jack Robinson, but the signing would fit in with Liverpool's current ethos of signing up-and-coming talent.
Contento is old and experienced enough to slot straight into The Reds' starting line-up, but young enough to learn plenty from Fabio Aurelio and Jamie Carragher.
A bright future lay in front of Diego Contento whatever happens.
Contento could be available from anywhere between £6-10m.
Rolando: The new Pepe?
Moving onto centre-Back, we have Porto's Rolando Jorge Pires da Fonseca or as he's more commonly known, Rolando.
Standing at 6 foot 2 and a half inches tall and with a great leap to boot, Rolando is a Portuguese international looking to cement his place in the side. Coming off a highly successful season with Porto, he is a player who's confidence is sky high.
At 25 years of age and with a wealth of experience in the Portuguese League, now might just be the right time for Rolando to move into the higher tiers of European football. Strong interest from Serie A means Italy could end up being his destination this summer with Roma and Juventus as front runners. Regardless, his agent has indicated Rolando is eager for a step up in competition.
A competent reader of the game and powerful in the air all underpinned by good pace makes the Cape Verde Island born defender a force to be reckoned with. In addition, he is a threat going forward and his overall style is somewhat similar to Pepe of Real Madrid, although without the constant rushes of blood to the head!
Physically ready for the demands of the Premier League at 25 years old, there's still room to improve. I see no drawback in signing him.
With Porto under no pressure to sell, Rolando would probably be available for £15-25m.
Liverpool Target? No!? Why not!?
Another equally attractive, defensive option is Borussia Dortmund's outstanding young centre-back, Neven Subotic.
A fixture in the Dortmund side since the tender age of 19, his mature displays at the heart of defence have been a key factor in the re-emergence of Die Schwarzgelben. He played an integral role in the Bundesliga winning side of last season.
When Jurgen Klopp left Mainz in 2008 to take the Dortmund job, the first thing he did was persuade then 18 year old Subotic to come with him. That says everything you need to know about how highly Klopp rates him.
Now 22 with more than 100 German top flight fixtures behind him and already a regular for the Serbian National team, he boasts a good goalscoring record for a defender, and perhaps more importantly, a confidence and calmness to his play. Relaxed and comfortable on the ball, Subotic looks to play the ball to feet rather than pump it long.
Having lived in the United States for a number of years, he is fluent in English, which would help immensely in settling in England. It would also allow him to feel comfortable in the Liverpool line-up and the Premier League as a whole right off the bat.
Neven Subotic is a player for NOW and for the future of Liverpool. I see no reason NOT to sign him.
Dortmund would be reluctant to allow Subotic to leave, so any potential transfer would probably cost Liverpool in excess of £20m.
Left wing? Check. Left-back? Check. Left wing-back!? Why not.
Moving onto the midfield positions now and starting with wide left, one option would be Juan Manuel Vargas.
27 years old and arguably, at the peak of his powers, Vargas has plied his trade in Serie A for the past five years. Joining Catania in 2006, he helped keep the minnows in the Italian top flight, against the odds I might add, before joining Fiorentina.
It was during his time at Viola that he became more of a left midfielder as opposed to a left full-back, where his lightning pace and great crossing ability were put to optimum use. Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino rates Vargas as the best crosser of a ball he has ever played with.
Excellent from all dead ball situations, a keen eye for goal, and quick feet in the dribble mark the Peruvian national team captain out as man not only capable of creating chances from any number of situations, but also of scoring himself.
In 24 Serie A matches last season, Vargas scored four goals and was credited with assisting five.
Juan Manuel Vargas could be available for between £10-15m.
Both footed, both wings? Yes please.
Alternatively, I'd love Liverpool to bring in Santi Cazorla.
The Villarreal skipper is capable of playing on either wing, although I feel he does his best work roaming from the left, with the added benefit of being both footed.
The diminutive Spanish schemer, which seems to describe most Spanish midfield players nowadays, is a hugely talented dictator of games with the ability to take a match by the scruff of the neck and take it where he deems fit.
Quick, clever, and capable of match winning dribbles and passes, Cazorla is a player coveted by many a big club. Seven goals scored and 15 created in all competitions last season are statistics to take notice of.
The fact he has played his entire career in Spain could be a potential hiccup in his acclimatization into English football - Borja Valero springs to mind, as they are not too dissimilar as players.
How keen Cazorla would be to leave Villarreal is another question entirely. He turned down Real Madrid in the summer of 2008 - not many players do that.
I believe Villarreal would seek at least £15m to agree to selling Santi Cazorla. And if Guiseppe Rossi leaves Villarreal this summer, expect any projected fee for Cazorla to rise to £20m+.
Exciting Spainard you say... I'll take it!
Moving on to right midfield, I believe Xabi Prieto of Real Sociedad could be an effective solution.
A stalwart of the Basque club since childhood, Prieto has been at Sociedad since 1997.
13 assists in La Liga last season in a side that barely avoided relegation can attest to his excellent dribbling skill and effectiveness when it comes to creating chances. That says a lot about the temperament of the man.
With his season best goal tally being nine, he should maybe score more goals than he does considering the positions he gets in, as most of his goals tend to come from penalties.
Yet to be capped by the Spanish national side, which is overrun with talented midfield players, many pundits believe Xabi has the ability but needs to play for a higher profile club.
Whether he would move away is debatable given his love for Txuri-urdin, but what's not in doubt is that at almost 28 years of age, there's no better time for Xabi Prieto to showcase his talents on a bigger stage.
Real Soceidad would consider selling Xabi Prieto for around £10m.
In my opinion, another front runner for right midfield should be Tottenham's Niko Kranjcar.
I've never understood why Niko could never get a prolonged run in the Spurs first team. A talented dribbler and scorer of spectacular goals from both set pieces and open play, Kranjcar has ample Premier League experience and could slot straight into the Liverpool squad.
More than comfortable on either wing, good crosser of the ball off either foot and still only 26, the Croatian ace has all the attributes required to make a big impact in the Red shirt.
Niko's attitude is also to be admired. He's not one to court press attention when not in the Spurs line up and handled all the pressure that came with being the son of the national team boss of his home country admirably.
Kranjcar would happily leave Tottenham for the opportunity to play first team football, and he could probably be secured for around £3-5m.
With The Reds keen to add an up-and-coming forward, who wouldn't expect to play every week, I suggest, Boca Juniors forward, Sergio Araujo as an excellent addition to the club.
Another product of La Bombonera's academy, the young Argentinian rocketed on to the radar of many a European powerhouse when he scored a wondergoal against Arsenal de Sarandi in November of last year.
Already dubbed as the new Sergio Aguero due to his similar style of play, Araujo is skillful, pacy and a competent finisher. Far from the finished article, he has shown enough promise to warrant a move to a big club.
Having represented Argentina at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels, a call-up to the full squad is surely only a matter of time.
With Real Madrid having first option on all Boca Juniors youngsters and Barcelona and a host of Serie A clubs interested in the player, it's clear it will be difficult to entice him to Merseyside, but with Liverpool having plenty of Spanish speakers throughout the club in both playing staff and management, Araujo would have every chance of settling comfortably.
Add that to the fact he has more chance of substantial playing time at the Reds compared to the other clubs mooted, and suddenly it doesn't look as unrealistic.
Sergio Araujo is valued at somewhere between £14-20m.
Veteran forward a must.
Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, I truly believe Hernan Crespo would be an inspired signing by Kenny Dalglish.
On the verge of turning 36, Crespo is clearly no spring chicken, and I'm sure many a reader will think I'm crazy, but the fact is the veteran Argentine forward could provide Liverpool with the experience and maturity the current Anfield strikeforce lacks.
Even in his advancing years, Crespo scored nine goals in 16 starts in Serie A last season. Yes, this was supplemented by 13 sub appearances, but the record is still good. The year before, he got eight in 21 starts. The fact remains - he knows where the net is.
With talk Liverpool are looking at a bringing in a young forward such as Connor Wickham, Crespo would be the perfect compliment to that.
Hernan would not expect to start every week, and he knows the language. I hope your starting to see why I feel Liverpool should bring him in but the main point is yet to come...
The training ground.
That's right, the training ground. Crespo has the tools to be instrumental in the growth of Luis Suarez and, in particular, Andy Carroll. Dani Pacheco, Nathan Eccleston and the rest of the younger players in the squad would also benefit from what the Argentine brings to the table.
His instinct in front of goal, finishing ability, movement, aerial prowess and general attitude as a professional footballer are all traits EVERY SINGLE FORWARD at the club can, and should, learn from.
The fact he is almost 36 and playing consistently in one of the hardest leagues in the world, AND still scoring is testament to his fitness levels. The way he has treated his body over the years, to still be performing at that level, is something every footballer should aspire to emulate.
Hernan Crespo could be attained from £0-500k.
Thank you so much for reading and please leave me some comments.
I'd love to know what you guys think about the article, the players named and even the writing itself.