Liverpool Transfer Options: 7 Potential Partners for Luis Suarez
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As the January transfer window approaches, Liverpool sit in sixth position, level on points with Arsenal and looking a couple of players short of achieving their ambition for this season of a top-four finish. A look at the current squad makes it clear that Liverpool need to strengthen in a few positions in the near future.
Obviously, there are no issues with the goalkeeper. Pepe Reina is one of the world's best keepers and Liverpool are blessed with a number of high-quality, young goalkeepers within their ranks. Given Reina's age and the quality of the back-ups, Liverpool shouldn't need to strengthen in that position for a minimum of six years.
Defensively, there's nobody better this season than Liverpool who are reaping the rewards of having a fully fit Daniel Agger in their ranks. There's no problems at the back for the Reds who not only have the starting defenders to maintain this level of play for a long time to come, but the reserves and young players at Kenny Dalglish's disposal are also of the highest quality.
There are questions to be answered with regards to the midfield, with the defensive midfield role desperately needing to be filled in January or at the latest next summer if Liverpool really want to have long-term aspirations of Premier League glory. In an ideal world, it's a position that will be addressed in January because a top-class defensive midfielder who can dictate a game could make all the difference in the push for the top four.
The more creative central midfield role, currently filled by Charlie Adam, also needs to be addressed, but that's likely the position Jordan Henderson will occupy long term so there are no issues there as long as Henderson gets the position on a full-time basis in the near future.
The wide positions are not of immediate importance, although it's clear that Liverpool will need to sign at least one top-class winger in the next year or so, specifically one that is naturally creative.
The most pressing issue heading into the transfer window is finding a partner for Luis Suarez so that the Uruguayan genius does not have to continue to carry the attacking threat by himself.
In the past couple of months, Liverpool have been linked with a number of strikers, including Suarez's international teammate Edinson Cavani of Napoli and the Argentine Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid.
In this article I'll take a look at seven potential strike partners for Luis Suarez. Given the likely price tags of close to £40 million for both Higuain and Cavani, I won't be including them as I don't see Liverpool spending more than £25 million per striker if and when they do dip in to the transfer market.
I hope you enjoy.
1. Fernando Torres
2. Lukas Podolski
Current Club: 1. FC Koln
Likely Price Tag: £15 million
There have often been accusations aimed at Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard that he never reproduces his club form for his national team. John Barnes used to get accused of the same. Truth be told, there are good reasons for those accusations.
Lukas Podolski, on the other hand, has been the exact opposite throughout his career. His goalscoring record for the German national team is a very impressive 43 goals in 95 games. That becomes even more impressive when you consider that in roughly 30 of those games he has played as a left winger.
Since leaving Koln the first time, Podolski struggled to reproduce his international form for Bayern Munich, and those struggles continued when he returned to Koln in 2009.
Until this season, that is.
This season Podolski is scoring a rate of almost a goal each game.
Podolski is similar in many ways to Robin Van Persie, and I would imagine he would do very well in the English Premier League. He hasn't been widely-linked to Liverpool and Arsenal are believed to be favourites to secure his signature, but I would hope that Damien Comolli has done his due diligence and is monitoring the situation because Podolski would represent a very good signing for Liverpool. Even if the Reds were to sign another striker, Podolski would make a great addition on the left wing.
3. Marco Reus
Current Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Likely Price Tag: £18 million
Reus isn't really a striker, he's more of a winger or inside right at the moment. But when I watch him play, I really believe he would excel in a central role.
With his lightning pace, creativity, passing ability and finishing ability, Reus really possesses all the traits to become a top-class striker. He's also young and his potential still outweighs his existing performance level, which is a scary thought for anyone who has to play against him on a regular basis over the next decade.
Reus has improved each year since joining 'Gladbach in 2009, and this season he has really stepped up his game. Last season, he finished the campaign with double figures in both goals and assists, and already this season he has 10 goals in only 14 appearances.
His contract contains a £15 million buy-out clause which kicks in at the end of the season, and Bayern Munich are expected to nab him then. Should Liverpool make an offer of a couple of million above that buy-out clause, you would have to think that 'Gladbach would be willing to accept rather than lose him for less to a Bundesliga rival.
Reus has been linked with Liverpool on and off for about a year now, and I would urge Damien Comolli to follow through if the rumoured interest is real. As with Podolski, he could provide a great option on the wing, another position of need, if Liverpool's striker target is someone else.
4. Alvaro Negredo
Current Club: Sevilla FC
Likely Price Tag: £15 million
When talking about dream signings, the name Robin Van Persie often crops up amongst Liverpool fans. It's pretty clear that RVP and Luis Suarez would combine to create quite a wonderful partnership and would, with the right supporting case, score the goals that could fire Liverpool to the 19th league title.
Unfortunately, Liverpool have about as much chance of signing RVP as I have of lining out in central midfield for my beloved Reds. With that in mind, I got to thinking of what players have similar characteristics and qualities to Van Persie, and the two names that came to mind were Lukas Podolski and Alvaro Negredo.
Negredo is, in my opinion, the most under-rated striker in Europe at the moment and would make a fantastic addition to the Liverpool team. He offers everything you could want in a striker with his quality hold-up and link-up play, as well as incredible finishing ability.
Negredo has been linked with Liverpool a number of times over the last three years and were those links to finally lead to a move in January, Liverpool would have captured a great talent who would score a lot of goals in the Premier League.
5. Roberto Soldado
Current Club: Valencia CF
Likely Price Tag: £15 million
Roberto Soldado is a player that many Liverpool fans have spoken about as being a preferred target, and it's pretty easy to see why.
Having come through the ranks at Real Madrid, Soldado has averaged just under one goal in every two games throughout his professional career which dates back to 2002. At only 26 years of age, Soldado has an exceptional amount of experience, and he is clearly a player who has learnt something new in each season because he continues to evolve and re-invent himself.
Formerly seen as just a goalscorer, Soldado has really worked hard on the rest of his game and has become a good link-up player who can play upfront on his own and bring teammates into the game, as well as playing with a strike partner.
Liverpool have been linked with Soldado on a couple of occasions over the last few months and with Valencia's history of selling players if the price is right, an offer of £15 million could see him arrive on Merseyside.
6. Ezequiel Lavezzi
Current Club: S.S.C. Napoli
Likely Price Tag: £18 million
In the recent past, a number of Liverpool fans mused that perhaps Liverpool should make a move for Manchester City's Carlos Tevez as his style of play looked well suited to being paired with Luis Suarez's, and it was felt that their combined skill levels and work rates would make them a nightmare for defenders to deal with.
With AC Milan now looking the most likely destination for Tevez, I would suggest that Lavezzi is the ideal alternative. With all the hype that surrounds Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik, Lavezzi is often overlooked when people talk about Napoli's fantastic attack, but those who overlook him are missing out on a very special player.
Lavezzi might just be the best dribbler in world football not named Lionel Messi, and he's no slouch in front of goal either when opportunities present themselves. While he's not a prolific goalscorer, like Luis Suarez, he's more of a creator. That might change were he to be played in a consistent central role.
His mere presence and ability would take a lot of the creative load from Suarez's shoulders and would allow Suarez to become more of a predator as he was in Holland.
Lavezzi has been linked to Liverpool a number of times in the past, initially under Rafa Benitez but also since Damien Comolli brought Kenny Dalglish back to the club, so it would be no real surprise if the Reds made a move for El Pocho.
7. Leandro Damiao
Current Club: Internacional
Likely Price Tag: £20 million
About six weeks ago, I wrote a piece listing 10 players that Liverpool could target from North and South America, and among those ten was this man, Leandro Damiao.
Damiao is a natural goalscorer with excellent pace and a lot of skill who would likely fit in perfectly alongside Suarez and give Liverpool the finisher they have been so sorely lacking this season.
Damien Comolli is believed to have scouted him on a number of occasions, and Liverpool are continuously being linked with him, although it's rumoured that Tottenham Hotspur, amongst others, are also interested so there could be some competition for his signature.
Thanks for Reading
So there you have it, my list of seven potential strike partners for Luis Suarez that Liverpool could feasibly sign in the January transfer window.
My own personal order of preference of these seven would be as follows:
2) Ezequiel Lavezzi
3) Marco Reus
4) Lukas Podolski
5) Alvaro Negredo
6) Leandro Damiao
7) Roberto Soldado
But I would be truly delighted with any of them!
As I mentioned in the opening slide, I left Cavani and Higuain off due to price, amongst other things. I also left Mario Gomez and Fernando Llorente off for the same reasons. David Villa and Guiseppe Rossi were excluded as both are currently out with long-term injuries.
If you feel I've missed out on anyone who deserves to be on this list, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.
I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read this article, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. And if you've got five minutes more to spare, you might like to read this article about some other potential transfer targets for the Reds - http://bleacherreport.com/articles/987544-liverpool-transfer-speculation-reds-monitor-ozil-eye-double-swoop-for-psv-duo
Or if you'd prefer a look at a return to the BootRoom days and 7 potential future "in-house" Liverpool Managers try this one - http://bleacherreport.com/articles/986667-liverpool-fc-7-possible-replacements-for-kenny-dalglish