Liverpool Transfer News: 'Next Luis Suarez' Jaime Baez Eyed by Brendan Rodgers

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2014

Liverpool's head coach Brendan Rodgers takes his seat before a Group B Champions League soccer match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday Nov. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

According to Gianluca Di Marzio (h/t Soccerlens.com's Tamojitc), Liverpool are preparing to move for Uruguayan talent Jaime Baez, a striker already being compared to compatriot and former Reds great Luis Suarez.

Brendan Rodgers' scouts have reportedly been monitoring the 19-year-old for quite some time.

Impressed by what they saw, the Reds are now preparing to move for the U20 international.

Baez burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old in 2012, dazzling Uruguay's top division with a series of excellent performances for Juventud. This goal against Nacional caught the eye of plenty of scouts, as the youngster displayed an array of class in one swift move:

The forward has tremendous pace and a strong build, which allows him to do plenty of damage running at the defence. He has remarkable vision for a young player and is a natural finisher, and despite a lack of technical baggage, he's comfortable with the ball at his feet in close quarters.

Baez is far from a finished product, though. With five goals in 13 matches in Uruguay's top division, according to Soccerlens, it's hard to envision him finding immediate success in the highly competitive Premier League.

With that being said, his potential is obvious.

With the proper guidance, it's not a stretch to believe he might one day come close to playing at the level that saw Suarez become one of the most feared strikers in the world.

By pairing Baez with Divock Origi, currently on loan at Lille, the Reds could potentially create a future attacking duo that resembles the partnership Suarez and Daniel Sturridge enjoyed during the 2013-14 season, terrorising just about every defence they faced.

However, it's far too early to get carried away—Baez hasn't even signed yet. What's more, as of right now, his allure is built around his potential and little else.

David Vincent/Associated Press

Meanwhile, the Reds will face competition in the race for the signature of another striker.

According to La Provence (h/t talkSPORT), Galatasaray and Inter Milan are eyeing Liverpool target Andre-Pierre Gignac of Olympique Marseille

The 29-year-old will be a free agent at the end of this season and is expected to leave his current club.

According to WhoScored.com, he has scored 11 goals in just 16 appearances in 2014-15.

Italian media recently suggested he could be on the move in January, but the forward ruled out a transfer this winter in an interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport (h/t FcInterNews.it and Football Italia):

I told the Italian journalists that everything depends on the conditions which will determine whether I'll renew my contract or not. That's why the media in Milan flared up. But first of all I'd like to know if the Coach is going to be staying, it's an important factor when considering whether to renew.

[...] I still have great things to do with this club. All the more so if we can reach some targets for the supporters by the end of the season.

My priority is still Marseille and its President, as I always said, and this won't be changing now.

If Marseille will choose not to renew my contract or will not be able to, or if the Coach will leave – these are important things to consider when making my final choice. There is no way that I will be leaving in the winter.

Bleacher Report UK's Jonathan Johnson heard him make a similar statement after the match against Lorient, as all signs point toward his future depending heavily on that of manager Marcelo Bielsa:

The Argentine manager has guided Marseille to the top of the Ligue 1 table, and as of right now, he appears to be a safe bet to stay with the club for the foreseeable future.

Gignac is on pace to smash his personal best for goals in a season, via WhoScored, so it's easy to see why he would be keen to continue his career under Bielsa. The fact he has never scored more than 16 goals in a single Ligue 1 campaign suggests this season may not be representative of his actual quality.

The former Toulouse man seems unlikely to move in January, and given Liverpool's need for quality at the striker position, Rodgers may choose to look in a different direction. Bleacher Report UK's Ryan Bailey and Matt Ladson have so far been unimpressed with the attacking reinforcements the Northern Irishman has brought in:

The Reds have plenty of bodies in attack—adding another good but not great player won't help the team when Sturridge returns from injury. While Gignac would be a nice option as a free agent at the end of the season, the reported interest from several other clubs means the price could be driven up should he decide to move on from Marseille.

Liverpool need help in January, and it doesn't look like Gignac will be available at that time. With Origi returning from Lille during the summer, Rodgers may have no need for another striker ahead of the 2015-16 season.

 

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