Liverpool should thwart Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea to land Arne Slot perfect first transfer

Thomas Tuchel, Head Coach of Bayern Munich, looks on prior to the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and FC Bayern München at PreZero-Arena on May 18, 2024 in Sinsheim, Germany.
-Credit: (Image: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Not only will Liverpool's next transfer kick off the Arne Slot era, it will also kick off the 'head coach' era at Anfield. Recruitment power has shifted away from the managerial hotseat, making the first addition of the summer doubly instructive.

Returning to FSG as CEO of Football, Michael Edwards has been tasked with assembling a crack team. Julian Ward has also come back into the fold, along with David Woodfine, while Richard Hughes has been named sporting director.

Collaborating with Slot, who will they land upon as the perfect transfer to mark this new start? One option would come with the added benefit of frustrating Chelsea, Manchester United and especially Thomas Tuchel.

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It's not yet clear where Tuchel will be managing next season. It could even be one of Manchester United or Chelsea, with Erik ten Hag in a precarious position, and the Blues having parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino.

But wherever he goes, according to Sport, he intends to pursue Ronald Araújo. He has made as much clear to the Barcelona center-back.

Independently of that, Mundo Deportivo claims Chelsea has made an offer to Araújo — presumably either delighting or frustrating Tuchel, depending on whether or not he intends to return to his former employer. Other 'big boys of Europe' are also on the scene, with Manchester United having been mentioned too.

Liverpool has not been mentioned by name, but it should be keeping a close eye on the situation. With Barcelona potentially needing to sell a big star this summer, and no real progress made in extending Araújo's contract beyond 2026, it appears increasingly plausible that a transfer could be sanctioned.

A key player at a European giant, Araújo would be an uncharacteristic signing for Liverpool. But at the same time, he ticks a lot of the boxes for a classic Edwards signing: still just 25, he has his best years ahead of him.

A somewhat patchy fitness history could be a slight cause for concern, but Araújo offers greater reliability than Ibrahima Konaté, or the departing Joël Matip. That pair underline why a center-back should be Liverpool's first transfer priority in the Slot era, with an already injury-prone back line now set to be a man light.

When available, Araújo is already among the best around. This season, he won 73.2 per cent of his aerial duels in La Liga, the second-best in the division.

Whether aerial dominance will be quite so important in the post Jürgen Klopp era remains to be seen, but historically, that has been the number one calling card of Liverpool defenders. Among those to have played any significant amount of minutes, the Reds boasted four of the Premier League's top eight players for aerial duel win percentage this season, with Matip, Konaté, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez all featuring (FBref).

Meanwhile, unsurprisingly for a Barcelona defender, Araújo is very comfortable on the ball. His physical dominance also makes him a threat from set pieces.

In a tangential benefit, Araújo could help Darwin Núñez truly settle. The striker opened up this week on his Liverpool struggles, admitting to feeling more at home with the national team, and signing a Uruguay colleague could be helpful as the Reds double down on the potential record signing.

But the Barcelona defender holds more than enough appeal in his own right. Liverpool should frustrate Tuchel, Manchester United and Chelsea by getting involved, starting the Slot era with a perfect transfer.