With one month left in the transfer market, Liverpool have held on to their best players while adding to their ranks. So far, so good…
Currently in the second year of a contract that expires in June, 2015, Brendan Rodgers, 40, succeeded Kenny Dalglish in a move that was instantly lauded by then Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho. This is the third transfer period that the former highly-acclaimed Swansea City boss is overseeing whilst in the Reds hotseat and it has been characterised, thus far, by one man - Luis Suarez.
The focus is not exactly on who Rodgers is importing into Liverpool, a team that is beginning to take a shape of his own and not one which he has inherited, but who could be leaving. And with the mounting speculation at Anfield, it is rather a question of when Suarez makes his Anfield exit, not if.
This does, however, detract from the acquisition of four players sealed early in the transfer window. While only one real target has eluded the Merseysiders, most of the recruitment policy has, to date, proven a success (They have also secured an extended contract for Steven Gerrard). Yet, if reports are to believed, the biggest is yet to come and it may not be one fans will celebrate…
|Luis Alberto||Midfield||Sevilla||June 22||£6.8 million|
|Iago Aspas||Forward||Celta Vigo||June 23||£7.0 million|
|Simon Mignolet||Goalkeeper||Sunderland||June 27||£9.0 million|
|Kolo Toure||Defender||Manchester City||July 2||Free|
Roma bad-boy Pablo Osvaldo and Schalke 04 centre back Kyriakos Papadopoulos can add a a bit of much-needed height to the overall team as both stand above 6 foot tall. They would also provide quality cover up front and in central defence, respectively.
Players missed out on:
The well-documented pursuit of Henrik Mkhitaryan proved fruitless as the Shakhtar Donetsk goal-scoring midfielder elected to join last season's Champions League runners-up; Borussia Dortmund.
Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has dominated the headlines, much like he had throughout last season whether that was for his form or for his controversial exploits. Suarez has been the subject of at least two transfer bids from Arsenal, one of which was one quid higher than £40m, which was supposed to activate a release clause in the player's contract. It didn't. It just allowed the skilled technician to open talks with the Gunners, rather than join. If Arsenal, or any other club for that matter - Real Madrid, potentially - are to secure Suarez's signature, then they'll likely need to dump a swag bag containing in excess of 50 million sheets on Rodgers' desk.
The exodus of Andy Carroll and Jonjo Shelvey freed up over £20 million. Also, the retirement of Jamie Carragher and season-long loan of Pepe Reina to Napoli will have depleted the wage balloon a tad so the net spend to date is a matter of £3m - £4m. Rodgers will no doubt have enough bunse to make one boss signing but if Suarez does leave then the kitty may well be bolstered.
Toure is a 50/50 signing. When at Arsenal, the sight of him gasping for air became commonplace, yet he somehow kept his stamina going. He has aged since then and may soon be gassed. However, on the other hand, Liverpool may also get perhaps two good seasons out of an experienced head, a proven Premier League winner and a strong character who is familiar with what it takes throughout a season to stay inside the top four. Considering he was a free signing, the transfer fee involved in luring him to L4 can hardly be argued with!
Iago Aspas, like Toure, is a fighter. He fights for the points but he also fights for goals - both scoring and creating. His statistics last season alone read 12 goals and seven assists from 34 appearances. He also has a dark side and Zizou'd a Deportivo player resulting in a four-game ban.
As for Suarez, in many ways, Liverpool are cursed if they sell him. Not only are they without one of the most exquisite footballers in the world, but they have a vault full of lolly and everyone will know it. Much like when they received fifty mill for waning Spanish striker Fernando Torres, Liverpool ended up carting the bulk of that out for Carroll simply because the Magpies knew they had dough.
Indeed, a deadline day deal for Suarez may prove better in the long run for Liverpool providing they purchase his replacement in August - potentially Roma hotshot Pablo Osvaldo, a player more familiar with the red than the referee's own pocket, but one who is a reliable outlet for goals - a consistent 1:2 goals to games player.
Grade so far:
image: © helly - b