Liver­pool’s sum­mer busi­ness

CityPress - - Sport - – TEAMtalk Media

Fol­low­ing what can only be de­scribed as a bit­terly dis­ap­point­ing Premier League sea­son, Liver­pool’s own­ers, Fen­way Sports Group, have moved quickly to strengthen the team in the off-sea­son.

Man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers has been strongly backed in the trans­fer mar­ket, with a num­ber of play­ers be­ing brought in ahead of the new Premier League cam­paign.

Hungary in­ter­na­tional Ádám Bogdán has been signed from Bolton Wan­der­ers to re­place Aus­tralian goal­keeper Brad Jones, while cen­tre back Joe Gomez ar­rives from Charl­ton Ath­letic.

The de­par­ture of club leg­end Steven Ger­rard has been par­tially off­set by the ac­qui­si­tion of midfielder James Mil­ner on a free trans­fer from Manch­ester City.

The An­field out­fit have also raided Southamp­ton again, swoop­ing to sign Eng­land in­ter­na­tional right back Nathaniel Clyne at a rea­son­able £12.5 mil­lion (R241.6 mil­lion).

In terms of at­tack­ing re­in­force­ments, there are some no­table sign­ings. Brazil in­ter­na­tional for­ward Roberto Firmino is ar­guably the high­est-pro­file ad­di­tion af­ter seal­ing a switch from Ger­man side Hof­fen­heim. Striker Danny Ings has been drafted from rel­e­gated Burn­ley, which will re­ceive a nom­i­nal fee for the player, who ran down his con­tract.

Barcelona’s up-and­com­ing star Bobby Adekanye (16) has been snapped up, while Amer­i­can won­derkid Brooks Len­non (17) ar­rives from Ma­jor League Soc­cer fran­chise Real Salt Lake.

It has cer­tainly been a busy off­sea­son for Liver­pool’s in­fa­mous trans­fer com­mit­tee, but if re­ports are to be be­lieved, their re­cruit­ment drive is set to con­tinue.

Striker Car­los Bacca’s move to Mi­lan was con­firmed this week, lend­ing cre­dence to the as­ser­tion that Liver­pool are lin­ing up a big­money bid for As­ton Villa’s Bel­gian striker Chris­tian Ben­teke. If Ben­teke ends up mov­ing for the quoted fee of £32.5 mil­lion, Liver­pool’s next task will be to re­duce their squad.

A num­ber of high-pro­file play­ers are ex­pected to de­part An­field in the near fu­ture, most no­tably Ra­heem Ster­ling, with Manch­ester City the cur­rent favourites to snap up the con­tract rebel. The Reds have been locked in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ster­ling since De­cem­ber, with the 20-year-old at­tack­ing midfielder turn­ing down a re­ported of­fer of £100 000 a week in April. How­ever, Ster­ling still has two years re­main­ing on his con­tract and the Reds may at­tempt to hold on to him for one more sea­son – just as they did with Luis Suárez, who even­tu­ally left un­der the club’s terms, not his own.

The Merseysiders have done well to get the bulk of their sum­mer busi­ness done quickly, be­fore the start of pre­sea­son train­ing, and the fees paid for play­ers look to be a marked im­prove­ment on last year’s.

Liver­pool forked out more than £100 mil­lion on new play­ers fol­low­ing Suárez’s de­par­ture to Barcelona, and it’s fair to say that few of the new ad­di­tions jus­ti­fied their trans­fer fee.

While the pol­icy of sign­ing a blend of ex­pe­ri­enced and young play­ers is still in place, the Reds have ar­guably paid too much for one player. But many Liver­pool fans are con­vinced that the tal­ented Brazil­ian Firmino will slot seem­lessly into the start­ing line-up and jus­tify his £29 mil­lion trans­fer fee.

Bogdán ap­pears to be a ca­pa­ble backup to Si­mon Mig­no­let, with a de­cent amount of in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, while Mil­ner and Clyne boast plenty of Premier League know-how. The ac­qui­si­tion of Mil­ner on a free trans­fer could turn out to be their best bit of sum­mer busi­ness when all is said and done.

Ings, mean­while, showed flashes of bril­liance last term, bag­ging a de­cent tally of 11 Premier League goals. If he can repli­cate that feat, the re­ported fee of £5 mil­lion will cer­tainly be good value for money.

PHOTO: CHRISTO­PHER LEE / GETTY IM­AGES

TAR­GET The Reds

have re­port­edly set their

sights on Bel­gian

striker Chris­tian Ben­teke

PHOTO: JEAN CATUFFE / GETTY IM­AGES

SAMBA Roberto Firmino of Brazil is one

of Liver­pool’s big sum­mer

sign­ings

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