Liverpool are mounting a top four challenge under Brendan Rodgers, and the former Swansea boss will be seeking recruits in January to get them over the line. Olly Dawes looks ahead...
Liverpool currently sit in third place, just five points behind Arsenal, though their 2-0 defeat to the Gunners at weekend has slightly damaged their title hopes. Regardless, Liverpool's start to the season has them well placed for a Champions League push, and whilst manager Brendan Rodgers has the team playing well, some January targets seem geared towards the future too. Here are four names that could be featuring at Anfield in the New Year.
Daniel Amartey, Djurgarden - £1.5m
The Ghanian 18 year old has been outstanding for the Swedish side this year, attracting the interest of many clubs around Europe, but Rodgers has moved quickly to secure Amartey. The centre back can also play in midfield, and admitted that he had been in contact with Liverpool over a move in January, though it's expected that he will remain in Sweden on loan, until Liverpool resolve work permit issues. Rodgers signed three centre backs in January, but with question marks over the future of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, he seems to be planning for the long term.
Will Hughes, Derby County - £12m
Another talented youngster, Hughes' rise to prominence has been alarming over the past year. Still just 18, Hughes is wanted by Arsenal and Manchester United, but Liverpool's decision to loan defender Andre Wisdom to Pride Park was seen as something of a sweetener, with a view to signing Hughes in January. The England Under 21 international has shown great energy and skill on the ball since breaking into the Derby first team, and the Rams are believed to be seeking around £12m for his services.
Juan Iturbe, Porto - £11m
Iturbe, dubbed “the new Messi”, is currently on loan with Serie A surprise package Verona, but are unlikely to have funds to extend his stay until the end of the season. His form with the Italian side has attracted the interest of a number of sides, and Porto have reportedly told any potential suitors that he will cost around €14m (£11m). Iturbe's comparison to Messi is predicated on his speed, dribbling ability and his diminutive size, and whilst he was expected to take Europe by storm after arriving at Porto from Cerro Porteno in 2010, only now is he realising his potential.
Kostas Mitroglou, Olympiakos - £7m
Summer signing Iago Aspas has yet to justify his £7.7m price tag, and has hinted that he would like a loan move back to Spain in January. With Luis Suarez's future still somewhat up in the air, Rodgers may look to bring in another striker, and has been linked with Greek international Mitroglou. The 25 year old has been in red hot form this season, scoring 16 goals in just 14 games, and would offer Liverpool a different dimension. His height and presence up front makes him a great target man, which is something Liverpool don't currently have.
In order to break into the top four, Liverpool may need a few more additions, but with Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, they have a strong young foundation to work with. Money may be a slight issue, but with the team genuinely in the running for a Champions League place, the Fenway Sports Group may just back Rodgers to take them back into Europe's elite competition.
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