Liverpool Transfer Rumours: 16 Players Who Could Still Exit the Reds This Summer
Liverpool have kicked off their summer transfer plans with the signings of midfielders Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam from Sunderland and Blackpool respectively and over the coming weeks, are likely to add to those two with a left-back, a wide player and possibly another forward and central defender.
What is undoubtedly also the case, however, is that a significant number of players currently on the Anfield payroll will have to go the other way—taking a new path in their careers after either not quite making the grade at Anfield or simply making way for the new faces.
Here we take a look at 16 players who it is possible—perhaps even likely in some cases—could walk out of Melwood for the final time at some point over the next six weeks.
1. Brad Jones: Goalkeeper
Australian 'keeper Brad Jones arrived at Liverpool only last summer as Roy Hodgson's replacement for the outgoing Brazilian Diego Cavalieri.
The former Middlesbrough goalkeeper was Pepe Reina's understudy in the first half of last season and made two appearances, but after leaving midway through the campaign with Australia to play in the Asian Cup 2011, he lost even his place on the bench to young hopeful Peter Gulacsi.
Jones was eventually loaned out to Derby County, where he spent the remainder of the season. With rumours gathering pace of Roma stopper Doni being on Liverpool's wishlist, it looks probable that Jones will have to move on to pastures new to get any sort of game time at all.
2. Philipp Degen: Right-Back
Swiss right-back Philipp Degen arrived on a Bosman free transfer from Borussia Dortmund under Rafael Benitez and was supposed to offer a pacey alternative down the right flank, a new thrusting form of attack for the Reds.
Instead, what he offered was a season ticket to the doctor's office.
Degen spent his entire first campaign injured and had to wait a full 14 months after arriving to make his Premier League debut for the club. The second season was not much better, however, as Degen made just 13 appearances in total for Liverpool, getting sent off once on his full league debut.
He was loaned out last season to Stuttgart in Germany and had a similarly meaningless impact on the pitch.
A dead cert to leave the club again this season, though we have to see if it will be another loan spell or if a club will take a punt on signing him permanently on a free transfer from Liverpool.
3. Paul Konchesky: Left-Back
A player who, quite simply, should never have come to Anfield.
Paul Konchesky is an experienced player and doubtless a great professional, and by all accounts it is certainly not his fault that he was signed (who would turn down signing for Liverpool after spending all his career in the lower reaches of the Premiership?), but the fact remains that he was woefully out of his depth from the moment he arrived.
Another "inspired" signing from former boss Roy Hodgson, Konchesky arrived from Roy's former club Fulham for a reported fee of around £5 million plus two youth players in Lauri Dalla Valle and Alexander Kacaniklic.
The No. 3 for Liverpool made 18 appearances before being forced out the side by Martin Kelly, with Glen Johnson switching to left-back. He spent the final months of the season on loan at Championship outfit Nottingham Forest.
Despite rumours of several clubs' interest in the former West Ham and Charlton defender, no bids have yet been forthcoming.
However, it is not expected that Konchesky will have trouble finding a new club given his wealth of experience in the top division. Liverpool will in all likelihood take a significant hit on what they recoup for him, however.
4. Fabio Aurelio: Left-Back
Fabio Aurelio's Liverpool story is one of what could have been.
An immensely talented and cultured player at his best, Aurelio has been unable to string together any kind of run of matches since he arrived in Merseyside five years ago, totalling 131 games so far—an average of just 26 games a season in all competitions.
Injuries again restricted the Brazilian left back last season, leading to the likes of Jack Robinson grasping their chance in the first team.
Aurelio was released by Rafa Benitez at the end of the 2009-10 season, but after he departed Liverpool and Roy Hodgson came in, Aurelio was re-signed to the club for a further two years.
A good player, probably as good as will appear on this list, but injuries have robbed him of his chance to be a permanent fixture in the side.
And with a new player for that position surely due to sign this summer, is Aurelio reliable enough to have as a backup, or will the games he is needed for be the times when he is injured?
May be kept as a squad player but in my opinion, a strong "possible" to leave the club this summer.
5. Emiliano Insua: Left-Back
With all these left-backs appearing in the slideshow, it might seem strange that Liverpool need a new player for that position at all.
However, it is just symptomatic of the failings of the Reds in the transfer market for this particular position that we still lack quality and reliability in this area of the park, even with three senior players left who naturally occupy that position.
Insua was seen as one of the best reserves' prospects three seasons ago, and his breakthrough came in 2009-10 when injuries to Aurelio and poor performances from Andrea Dossena meant he was thrust into the first team on a regular basis.
His performances ranged from adequate to good; though doubts remained over his defensive positioning and efficiency at stopping crosses coming in, he was the leading defender for assists in the league over the second half of the season.
However, he was shipped off to Turkey on loan last season to Galatasary after a permanent move to Fiorentina broke down over Insua's personal demands.
He is back with the Liverpool squad now but with rumoured interest from several Italian clubs on the horizon, it remains to be seen how long he stays a Red.
Would be my pick of the three left-backs to stay as a squad player but may well be sold on or loaned out again.
6. Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Central Defender
The Big Greek Soto has been as commanding a presence as could have been hoped for when Rafa Benitez brought him to the club for just £1.5 million two seasons ago.
Operating as usually the Reds' fourth choice centre-back, the bearded one has nonetheless made almost 50 appearances in two seasons filling in for Danny Agger, Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher at different times.
Powerful in the air at both ends of the pitch and fearless in the tackle, Soto will have no trouble finding a new club should he leave.
He activated a contract extension by playing a certain number of games last season, but with Dalglish looking to strengthen the centre of defence, it would likely by Kyrgiakos who is first out the door if numbers have to be balanced.
7. Christian Poulsen: Defensive Midfielder
Another Roy Hodgson signing which must have seemed like a good idea at the time to somebody at least, Poulsen floundered in the Premier League and never got to grips with the required pace of Liverpool's midfield, on the ball or off it.
He played a total of 21 games in his debut season, but much more was expected of him as he came in as a more or less direct replacement for the outgoing Javier Mascherano, and by the end of the season, Poulsen had fallen behind breakthrough local lad Jay Spearing, as well as seasoned first-teamers Raul Meireles, Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard.
Even his supposed fortes, his tackling and patrolling the area in front of the defence, were called into question on many occasions as he gave away penalties, committed dangerous fouls and generally prohibited any fluid passing moves involving the centre of Liverpool's team.
Like Konchesky, Liverpool will probably take a hit on the amount they recoup for a player signed just 12 months ago, but Poulsen has no future at Liverpool.
8. Raul Meireles: Versatile Midfielder
Depending on who you talk to, it seems that Raul Meireles either had a debut season to remember or flattered to deceive.
As is usual, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle—a poor beginning no doubt hampered by Hodgson's inability to manage the side successfully was put to one side with a couple of months around February where he was almost the sole source of goals for the side.
Towards the end of the campaign he found himself floated out to the left of midfield where he played well, if not spectacularly and may find himself victim of the Reds' new youth-based transfer policy and incoming deals.
Probably the only one of Roy Hodgson's deals who will net the club a profit through resale, Meireles has been linked with £12 million moves to the likes of Juventus and Inter Milan, though could certainly be looked at by some as one to keep for the 2011-12 season.
Time will tell if the rumours are true or not, but it has been mentioned that Meireles was promised a contract extension and increase in salary after his first season at the club by the previous regime, something which may force the club's hand in moving him along.
9. Alberto Aquilani: Central Midfielder
A spell on loan at Juventus last season following a mixed first season at Anfield was supposed to end up with a permanent move back to Italy for Aquilani, but it hasn't happened, and he is back in preseason training with the Reds.
At present, it may look like he will be in the Liverpool squad for the beginning of the season but things can happen quickly and talented players like Alberto will always have admirers.
Derided by some for his lack of fitness and perhaps even work rate while at Anfield in the 2009-10 season, Aquilani nonetheless is a talented passer of the ball and will always create chances for his teammates.
However, the arrival of Charlie Adam to fulfil a similar role may mean Aquilani is reduced to a squad member instead of first-team player under Dalglish, while the player has made no secret of his wish to continue playing in Italy.
10. Maxi Rodriguez: Wide Midfielder
Maxi is arguably the player who benefited most from the arrival of Kenny Dalglish.
A fine finish to the season saw him net seven times in three games and show the true form he should have been capable of giving Liverpool on a regular basis over the past 18 months since his arrival from Atletico Madrid.
However, with new signings and quite probably a new system and formation for the Reds in the coming season, Maxi is likely to be more out of favour than he was last term and has already spoken of his wish to return to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys.
Any move appears to be far from imminent though as he recently took possession of the No. 11 shirt at Anfield, indicating perhaps that he is set for one more season at Anfield.
Given potential incoming signings though, it is still a fair bet Maxi could leave Liverpool this summer.
11. Nabil El Zhar: Winger
A relatively tricky and pacey wide player whom Rafa Benitez hoped would be something of a wild card for Liverpool after arriving on a free transfer from French club St. Etienne, Nabil El Zhar never quite worked his way into the Liverpool first team on a regular basis and spent the whole of last season out on loan at PAOK in Greece.
El Zhar has made 32 appearances for Liverpool, scoring once in the League Cup, but in truth never looked like he would be an important player for the club and was used mainly as a substitute.
He has one year left of his contract and would likely be granted a free transfer if he found a new club; failing that, he may go out on loan again for the season.
12. David Amoo: Winger
David Amoo is a young striker-turned-winger who featured heavily for the reserves side for a year or so. His Liverpool debut came in Europe under Hodgson against Rabotnicki.
However, he appeared to struggle to push on from that moment and his progress was somewhat stunted.
Amoo spent part of the season last year on loan to Hull City but again struggled to have any serious impact in the Championship and is one of the younger players at the club who may be moved on to make room for the brighter prospects such as Tom Ince, Raheem Sterling and Suso, who will likely feature heavily for the reserves this term.
At present, Amoo looks very much like the Championship will be his level, and he will struggle to force his way into the Liverpool side.
13. Joe Cole: Attacking Midfielder
The biggest disappointment of 2010-11?
Well, after the appointment of Roy Hodgson, perhaps.
Expectations were through the roof for Joe Cole upon his arrival to Liverpool on a free transfer, but he failed to shine so much that by the end of the season, he was reduced to five-minute cameo appearances off the bench.
Early season penalty misses and red cards didn't help matters, but there is no doubt that Cole did not produce enough when he got the chance either.
Most professional teams in London have been rumoured to make a move for him this summer, but Cole commands excessive wages which would rule out most clubs unless he took a wage cut.
Cole is talented; there is no doubt about that. But he seems to need the team to play a certain way to suit him and there is no "central" role for him at Liverpool which is what he craves.
He could be a good squad player for the club again next term, but with Dirk Kuyt, Luis Suarez and other creative talents ahead of him at present, he may choose to move on rather than struggle on for fitness and form again from the bench.
14. Milan Jovanovic: Wide Forward
Let's be clear: Jovanovic is not a winger.
He is not a wide midfielder suited to a 4-4-2 system.
He is a forward, albeit one who plays out wide and comes in off the flanks.
In a defensive and unambitious lineup under Roy Hodgson, Jovanovic was unable to show the talents which had made Rafa Benitez bring him to Liverpool in the first place, and by the time Dalglish came in and the team performed better, Jovanovic had already missed the boat, and the Reds had a settled side.
His time in Liverpool has undoubtedly not been a happy one, but I feel Milan has been the victim of circumstance rather than actually being a not-very-clever signing, such as others on this list.
He will have no trouble finding a new team and has reportedly been granted a free transfer away from the club once he decides which team to move to, with Olympiacos and Anderlecht both credited as showing a firm interest in the Serbian.
15. Dani Pacheco: Forward
Once the forthcoming prodigy of the reserve team, Dani Pacheco has failed to push on that biggest step of all further and make it into the first team.
A handful of substitute appearances under both Benitez and Hodgson showed promise—he has made 14 Reds appearances to date—but Pacheco needs to show more to force his way past the likes of Joe Cole and Maxi Rodriguez onto the first team bench and beyond.
A loan spell at promoted Norwich City will have done Dani the world of good in the final months of last season, where he notched his first professional club goals, and later this month he will represent Spain in the under-20 World Cup.
He is aiming to impress King Kenny and will certainly want to be in and around the first team come the end of this season, but in the meantime, another loan spell, perhaps from August until the January transfer window, would be the next best step to take for the talented second striker.
16. David N'Gog: Striker
Unlike for many players—or fans—2010-11 started well for French striker David N'Gog.
He netted on the opening day of the season against Arsenal and added a few Europa League goals to his tally for good measure, but failed to capitalise on that progress and scored his last goal of the season against Aston Villa around Christmas.
His record of 19 goals in 94 games for Liverpool is not bad for a young striker who has almost always played second fiddle to another main striker, but he did not mark himself out last season as one of the top, top young strikers in the league when he had his chance early on.
Signing Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll has knocked N'Gog back to fourth choice striker at best now, and he will be hugely likely to move on this summer.
A move to Sunderland appears to be off now after they signed young forwards Connor Wickham and Ji, but N'Gog is fast, can shoot and beat a man, and he should command a decent fee for the Reds.