Jurgen Klopp doesn’t want for much but Liverpool’s need for a central midfielder is clear. And much hinges on the whims of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane…
What should be their priority this summer?
If we must pick holes in a squad that has come closer than most to winning the lot, then central midfield will be the area that Jurgen Klopp will look to strengthen this summer.
The Reds haven’t replaced Gini Wijnaldum, who left for PSG last summer. They could probably re-sign Wijnaldum himself if they so wish, but Klopp will be looking for a younger model. Liverpool seem to have identified a couple in Auerlien Tchouameni and Jude Bellingham.
Moves for either would be extremely difficult to complete this summer. Tchouameni looks set to join Real Madrid if they can get around a tax issue, and Liverpool are among a host of clubs on standby if their Champions League final opponents don’t get a deal with Monaco over the line. Bellingham seems more likely to pull on the red shirt, but Liverpool will probably have to wait since Dortmund have little intention of losing him and Erling Haaland in the same window.
Last summer, Klopp decided that no midfielder was more preferable than the wrong one. And with Harvey Elliot coming through, it wasn’t a bad call. But James Milner is knocking on; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to move on; Naby Keita is a year from the end of his contract and not convincing everyone he can consistently thrive in Liverpool’s engine room; while Curtis Jones hasn’t pushed on in quite the way Klopp might have hoped.
A top-class midfielder would freshen up the heart of Klopp’s team and provide some fresh impetus for Jordan Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho.
What else do they need?
Probably a back-up right-back to provide cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold in a similar way Kostas Tsimikas has for Andrew Robertson. But along with his midfield, Klopp’s other main concern will be his forward line.
Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will all be in their 30s by the start of next season when they will each have entered the final year of their contracts. Assuming they are still there. Salah will be – so he says – while Mane is keeping everyone on tenterhooks until after the Champions League final.
Liverpool did an earlier deal for Luis Diaz than they originally intended which turned out to be an inspired bit of business. Fabio Carvalho, though raw, is also signed up. But other back-ups are heading for the door or considering their futures, with Divock Origi seemingly AC Milan-bound and Takumi Minamino perhaps to follow. The Japan star might be ushered towards the exit anyway.
So another forward would be ideal, especially if Liverpool are to repeat their 63-game workload next season.
This would be a bonus…
Convincing Salah to sign a new deal.
The joint Golden Boot winner gave Liverpool fans a pre-Champions League final boost by declaring that he will be staying next season. Which is great news in the short term. But it leaves Liverpool vulnerable to losing a major asset for nothing next summer.
Salah may be about to turn 30 but he’s hardly slowing down. Liverpool would love for the forward to commit beyond next season, and while you cannot blame him for keeping his options open, putting pen to paper would offer the Reds some clarity.
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How likely are they to do what’s necessary?
Liverpool’s clarity of vision and decisiveness in the transfer market has played a major role in establishing themselves as one of Europe’s most attractive clubs. Michael Edwards has been hugely important in that success but the sporting director leaves Anfield this summer. Will that affect their approach?
Probably not. Edwards will doubtless have left a clear plan for the summer on his desk and his replacement, Julian Ward, is already part of the furniture at Melwood. Liverpool have had six months to put their succession planning in place and their track record suggests it will be a seamless handover.
How much might it cost them?
Not as much as others will have to fork out. Liverpool may well finish the summer as the Big Six’s lowest spenders and still be in better shape than at least half of their rivals.
With the Reds perhaps content to wait a year for Bellingham, don’t be surprised to see them keep their powder dry. They spent only £36million last year on one player: Ibrahima Konate. It may be a similar scenario this summer.
The article Liverpool: What they need this summer, and how likely they are to get it appeared first on Football365.com.