Liverpool appear set to take a financial hit on a midfielder in summer 2023 after Fabrizio Romano said he is ‘expected’ to leave Anfield on a free transfer.
Liverpool have several players with contracts expiring at the end of the season. Over the coming weeks and months, they must decide whether to tie them down to fresh deals or let them move on.
The most surprising name on this list of potential free agents is Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino. He was linked with a move away from Liverpool in the summer but ultimately stayed, and he has done very well since then.
The former Hoffenheim man has notched nine goals and four assists in 21 appearances. His top performances could mean Liverpool offer him a contract extension in the near future.
Goalkeeper Adrian is also coming towards the end of his Liverpool contract. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Jurgen Klopp’s side let him go.
Alisson is their first-choice keeper, while Caoimhin Kelleher is also in the squad. And the latter has impressed when he has taken part in penalty shootouts for Liverpool, which could see him replace Adrian as Alisson’s backup.
There are then three central midfielders who will become free agents next summer, unless Liverpool act. They are James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Milner is now 36 years old and certainly in the twilight years of his career. Nevertheless, Liverpool will probably keep him for another year. This is because the Leeds-born player can operate in several positions across defence and midfield.
Liverpool outcast free to go
The futures of Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain are less certain. They have both struggled with injuries in recent years, limiting their impact at Liverpool.
Keita has made just one appearance this term, which came in the Community Shield, after picking up a hamstring problem. Last week, Klopp revealed Keita is back running in training, so he could return for Liverpool when the World Cup is over.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, missed the first few months of the season with a hamstring issue. He is now back in the squad and has made a few substitute appearances in recent Premier League games. Oxlade-Chamberlain also managed a full 90 minutes in the penalty shootout win over Derby in the Carabao Cup.
However, the 29-year-old has not done enough to show Klopp that he is worth having in the squad. As such, Liverpool look set to part ways with him next summer.
Romano confirmed the news in a tweet on Sunday morning. The transfer guru wrote: ‘Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, expected to leave Liverpool in 2023 as free agent. There are no talks to extend his contract as things stand.
‘New midfielders will be the priority for Liverpool on the market next year.’
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given Southampton chance
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury record will likely prevent him from joining another club of Liverpool’s size. However, he could drop down the Premier League table somewhat.
As per Football Insider, Southampton have been given the chance to snap him up on a free transfer. Such a move would see Oxlade-Chamberlain go back to St Mary’s, 11 years after he left for Arsenal.
Liverpool’s decision to let the midfielder go will come as little surprise to many. He has simply not been available enough to make himself a regular starter.
The Anfield giants spent £35million to sign Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal in 2017. But club chiefs are willing to take this financial hit. One reason for this could be the savings they will make in terms of wages, helping them to bring a midfield replacement in.
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