It’s becoming a rather persistent occurrence at Anfield since the conclusion of last season. Yet another target, linked heavily with Liverpool, has turned his attentions elsewhere and signed for yet another club.
This time it’s the left back area that has seen a potential signing choose another avenue. Arsenal’s Gael Clichy had been closely reported to a move to the Reds, with former manager Roy Hodgson’s signing Paul Konchesky deemed surplus to requirements and Fabio Aurelio struggling with fitness.
With only 12 months on his contract left and unwilling to sign a new contract, Arsene Wenger was understandably willing to part with the Frenchman in fear of losing him for nothing next summer. Although, the 12 months remaining made it difficult for Liverpool to agree upon the £8 million reported price the Gunners will asking for.
Under the new transfer policy and regime of hierarchy at Anfield, the Fenway Sports Group were arguably right in their approach to refrain from purchasing Clichy, who many believe has dropped in performance levels in the past couple of seasons.
Nonetheless, with the International transfer window officially open, Liverpool have missed out on a player in a required position much closer to home. Even with Liverpool’s new found ownership, Manchester City’s funds are paramount in comparison and were happy to stump up £7 million.
Other options are available for Kenny Dalglish, Newcastle United’s Spanish full back Jose Enrique has been continually suggested to be destined to arrive, with a deal reported to have been agreed before the season had finished.
Former Liverpool player Phil Thompson categorically stated that from what he was aware of a deal had already been agreed upon. No move has materialised as of yet.
Unfortunately for Liverpool’s sake, Arsenal are too in need of a left back now, to fill the void left by Clichy. Although they may have their eyes set on a move for Lyon’s Aly Cissoko, an attempt to bring Enrique to the Emirates wouldn’t be implausible.
Should Enrique be given the opportunity of both offers on the table to choose from, he may favour a move to North London in favour of Champions League football.
In both Enrique and Clichy’s instances however, while they are highly regarded for their ability going forward in the final third of the game; as with current full back Glen Johnson, they are suspect defensively.
Recent Real Madrid signing Fabio Coentrao was mooted to be a target for Liverpool, yet with a fee of under £30 million, it was always going to be difficult to lure the former Benfica man. It’s easy to make accusations of course with regards to how Liverpool have missed out on Clichy, another genuine target ahead of an important season.
Along with the likes of Ashley Young, Phill Jones, Sylvain Marveaux and Connor Wickham. Having missed out on the former Arsenal man however, one would think it will only step up their pursuit on Enrique.
The left hand side is proving to be a problem for Liverpool that needs to be filled for what fans are expecting to be an exciting campaign. Valencia’s Juan Mata may well have a potential choice between Arsenal and the Reds, if both sides make an offer to match the Spanish side’s valuation; thought to be around £20 million.
Or could that money be spent on a similar player in Stewart Downing who may be older, but has relative success of playing in the Premier League.
With no European football of any degree at Anfield next season, attracting world class players to take Liverpool to the next level is evidently providing harder than first imagined. While missing out on the Europa League is perceived to be a blessing in disguise for Liverpool, players will want to pit themselves against the rest of Europe regardless of the level of competition.
If no meaningful signings are made down the left side of the team, the Reds could be left to rue not paying the extra million or two to bring certain players to the club.