Transfer silly season is well and truly in full swing.
Liverpool are being linked with just about every top-level player under the sun, whether they’re available and want a move or not, while swathes of fans clamour for new arrivals.
That in turn leads to respected journalists with sources inside football clubs telling supporters exactly what is going on, and in the majority of cases for the Reds – the news is often that there is indeed no truthful news.
Take for example one Thiago Alcantara. Links and reports have been persistent on the continent with many suggesting the Bayern Munich midfielder is going to be making a move to Anfield and Liverpool have made contact over a transfer.
However, the ECHO understands such reports are wide of the mark and the Spaniard is simply not a target as things stand.
Thiago is a prime example here because he’s a name that seems to have peaked the interest of many among the Liverpool fan base and upon hearing the news he wasn’t an active target, many fans took the same view.
And that is Liverpool – and FSG to be particular – should strengthen the squad from a position of strength.
What must be noted here, however, is that Liverpool have already strengthened from such a position very recently.
The 2017/18 campaign was one of the most exciting and positive in many years with Klopp‘s charges visibly gaining in strength, confidence and power as it wore on and a scintillating run to the Champions League final was pure proof of just that.
This was the showpiece match of Europe’s most premier competition and the likes of Manchester City and Roma had been put to the sword along the way.
Of course, the Reds lost to Real Madrid in difficult circumstances but there was no doom and gloom or hint of self pity among those at Melwood as they reset to push and go again with Michael Edwards and his team working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring in Fabinho from Monaco less than 48 hours after the final whistle blew in Kiev.
A careful transfer plan was then executed to perfection that summer with Alisson arriving from Roma, Naby Keita finally making his switch from RB Leipzig and Xherdan Shaqiri coming in from Stoke to take Liverpool’s transfer spend during that window over £170m.
What followed was a stunning domestic and European campaign whereby the club claimed their sixth European Cup and narrowly missed out on the Premier League by just one point to City.
Liverpool had certainly strengthened ahead of that campaign and claimed arguably the most coveted prize in world football.
And yet, Klopp was forced to defend his lack of action in the transfer market in the summer that followed in 2019 – insisting his players “deserved more time together” after agonisingly missing out on clinching their first top-flight crown in nearly 30 years.
It is not difficult to argue a point that the manager was absolutely right, given the Reds claimed the Super Cup, Club World Cup and Premier League title during the 19/20 season while adding Takumi Minamino into the senior set-up in January after the likes of Harvey Elliott arrived in the summer before the campaign.
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Given the almost unparalleled level of on-pitch success during FSG’s recent tenure, Klopp’s reign and Edwards’ stewardship – those in charge at Anfield should be trusted to do whatever they believe is best in the market this summer – despite the widely held belief that more new signings are needed to win titles.
Right now, Liverpool have done just one piece of business, but the transfer market is very unique, particularly in terms of the financial hit football has taken this year after the coronavirus pandemic and the landscape has already been changing very quickly.
Areas of concern could come into focus should the Reds find funds easier to come by later in the window.
In defence, having sold Dejan Lovren to Zenit St. Petersburg this summer, Liverpool are left with just three senior centre-backs.
For the time being, the Reds aren’t actively targeting a new central defender and while Ben White has been scouted, no bid is currently on the cards.
Liverpool know Fabinho can play in that position and have a number of talented youngsters coming through the ranks, and there is therefore a belief the Reds have enough in that area to challenge again.
But there is also nothing to rule out a late move for a central defender should circumstances and financial positions change.
Timo Werner is another example.
When he was being strongly linked with a move to Liverpool the financial situation was more uncertain than it is now following his switch to Chelsea.
And that is because Liverpool are set to receive a record £175million payout after winning the Premier League last season.
It was reported on Tuesday that all clubs in the top flight would receive full prize money for the previous campaign after “agreeing to delay any reductions caused by the COVID-19 crisis”, which means the Reds are in line for a massive windfall after they took the crown.
Such a huge cash injection could totally transform Liverpool’s transfer outlook this summer and that is why, from the middle of June when Werner joined Frank Lampard’s side, the situation is different now for Klopp.
If other payments follow suit and continue as normal too, and the club receive a sizeable Champions League payout while also commanding decent fees for fringe players on their way out, it could free up some money for transfers which may mean Edwards and co have a little bit of room to play in the market later in the window, given that it doesn’t close until October 5.
In turn, it is no secret that Liverpool could do with a high-quality back-up to the front three. The Reds are well aware of that.
Therefore, a £40m-payment to Watford for the talented Ismaila Sarr – who is young and somewhat proven in the Premier League, might not be out of the question.
Or there may even be a late enquiry for someone like White should Liverpool decide the price is right after all.
The coronavirus pandemic is naturally going to affect almost every club in the transfer window and it’s only really the likes of petrodollar-funded clubs like Man City and Chelsea who will be able to spend whatever they like.
But consider that they are only playing catch up to Liverpool anyway – given how far ahead the Reds were last term, and the fact Kostas Tsimikas has already arrived to join up with the some of the world’s best players at Melwood today for the start of pre-season to provide much-needed cover and competition at left-back.
Such players include the new Premier League Young Player of the Season in Trent Alexander-Arnold, the best centre-back and goalkeeper in world football in Virgil van Dijk and Alisson and a world-class front three in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino who will all be hungry to go again and cement their place as one of the best Premier League teams in history after winning the title with an 18-point gap back to second-place Manchester City.
And if all of that isn’t enough to alleviate fears about transfers or winning more trophies, consider this.
When Manchester United won the title in 2000 and finished 18 points clear of Arsenal, the Old Trafford club brought in just one signing that summer in Fabien Barthez and claimed the Premier League crown again in 2001.
In 2005 after Jose Mourinho guided Chelsea to their first league title in 50 years, finishing 12 points ahead of Arsenal in second, he made just two signings in the summer – Michael Essien and Shaun Wright-Phillips – before winning claiming pole position in the top flight again in 2006.
Man City ran away with the title in 2018, having finished 19 points above Manchester United and even they were nowhere near as active in the summer that followed as they had been in markets gone by before narrowly beating the Reds to the crown by one point in 2019.
Over to you then, Liverpool.
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