Liverpool capture Mohamed Salah, but what next for the Reds?
Mohamed Salah has completed his long-awaited transfer to Liverpool, the Egyptian arrives for a club record fee in the region of £36.9m and is set to wear the number 11 shirt. He will join up with his new teammates when they return for pre-season. The transfer has been dragged out, but now that it is done the only question on everyone’s mind is ‘What’s next?’
An often criticised method of FSG policies has been the ‘sell to buy’ philosophy, and with Liverpool set for a massive clear out this summer it appears likely that there will be no change on that front. Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Andre Wisdom and Lazar Markovic are all set to be moved on by the Reds and then with the potential sales of Daniel Sturridge, Lucas Leiva and Jon Flanagan, it would not be a massive surprise if Liverpool made large sums of their spending money back yet again, as the four definite sales could make up to £59m alone.
Andre Wisdom looks to have already secured his move away from Anfield in a £4m deal to Derby County. Alberto Moreno, on the other hand, has been subject to a lot of interest from abroad with Liverpool reportedly rejecting a £10.5m bid from Napoli with the Anfield hierarchy looking a fee more in the region of £15m. Napoli’s interest could, however, open the door for a potential swap deal for their highly rated left-back Faouzi Ghoulam.
News regarding Sakho and Markovic’s exits have been thin on the ground, with several clubs reportedly interested in the pair but there has been no official approach made just yet - Liverpool’s asking price for both players appearing to be a stumbling block at the moment.
What about the incomings?
Regarding potential new signings, it is almost impossible to predict who Jurgen Klopp will bring in this summer, but it is incredibly obvious what positions will be targeted. A dominant centre back, a left back to compete with James Milner and a strong holding midfielder are all on the German’s shopping list as he looks to improve his starting eleven rather than the depth of his squad.
The overall theme coming from Anfield is that Liverpool will target quality rather than quantity this summer, a change from the previous windows.
The Merseysiders have only had a solid interest in one centre back so far this summer- Virgil Van Dijk. However, that interest resulted in a massive disaster as the Reds were accused of breaching transfer rules by Southampton as they believed Liverpool had tapped up their captain. As a result, Klopp and co. had to apologise to the Saints and ended their interest publicly in the most bizarre failed transfer saga ever.
Following the farce of the Van Djik saga Liverpool’s focus has been on securing the deal for Mohamed Salah, but now that is done they will switch their attention to dealing with the other issues within their squad. It is unlikely that Liverpool will go back in for Virgil Van Djik but it is not something that can be ruled out.
Several left backs have been linked with a move to Anfield so far this summer, the earliest one being young Fulham left back Ryan Sessegnon. The Scousers, however, opted not to continue this pursuit as they were not convinced of his commitment to a move to Liverpool. Another reported target – in the case of Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy, however, the Kopites were unwilling to meet neither the whopping £40m price tag nor the £200k weekly wage demands of the Frenchman.
The three more realistic targets are Hull’s Andrew Robertson, Celtic’s Kieran Tierney or the previously mentioned Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam. Despite no official approach made for any of the three, out of all those linked, they appear the most affordable and available. Any left back signing, though, will depend on the departure of Alberto Moreno, with Klopp happy to stick with Milner and Moreno if the Spaniard can’t be sold.
The only holding midfielder linked with the Reds so far this summer has been Red Bull Leipzig’s, Naby Keita. After a dominant season in Germany, he became a crucial figure in guiding his side to a surprise 2nd place finish in the Bundesliga. His style of play has led to many comparisons to Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and Keita is reportedly the type of player Jurgen Klopp wants. The Reds are willing to go all out to sign Keita, however, the recent ruling that allows Leipzig to play in the Champions League next season means that they could have a hard time persuading both parties (Leipzig and Keita.)
Liverpool’s spend this summer is almost certain to surpass the £68m spent last summer and is even likely to be greater than £100m, but Liverpool fans will not be pleased by the money spent as long as the players signed provide what is needed.