Liverpool’s summer business
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.
TARGET The Reds
have reportedly set their
sights on Belgian
striker Christian Benteke
SAMBA Roberto Firmino of Brazil is one
of Liverpool’s big summer