Five additions to the senior squad and four to the youth team one week into July is an indicator of how disappointing last season was. Brendan Rodgers has tried to avoid the mistakes of last summer’s transfer window and got in early to beat off competition for the likes of Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner. Both Firmino and Clyne were heavily linked with premier league rival’s Manchester United before Liverpool stole a march to secure their services, Firmino in particular is quite a coup for the under pressure Kop boss. Rounding out the additions to the senior squad is goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and forward Danny Ings, both arriving on free transfers. (Ings compensatory fee will be set by tribunal.)
If reports (and common sense) are to believed Liverpool remain on the look-out for a top class striker, Christian Benteke reportedly being the main target. The stumbling block for the deal is Aston Villa holding out for the £32.5 million release clause to be paid in full, it would be less than Andy Carroll cost but surely fans are weary of seeing that mistake repeated. Other names linked include Alexandre Lacazette, who would eclipse Roberto Firmino in the ‘transfer coup’ category but his desire for Champions League football is likely to stifle any deal. Charlie Austin is a more realistic option, and in my opinion would be an astute addition. Austin scored 18 goals last season for QPR team who struggled for the entire campaign before being relegated. He would also be a financially sound investment in comparison to the other targets with QPR reportedly willing to accept a fee in the region of £15 million for their star striker.
Meanwhile the list of players linked with moves away from the Kop is ever growing. Sebastian Coates and Iago Aspas have already secured moves away while Luis Alberto and Danny Ward have been loaned out, with only Ward likely to return. Brad Jones and Glen Johnson have been released and already replaced, (Bogdan and Clyne) and Javier Manquillo’s two-year loan from Atletico Madrid has been cancelled one-year in. Steven Gerrard has also ended his career spanning stay with the club by moving to L.A Galaxy for the twilight of his playing career. Mario Balotelli, Jose Enrique, Lucas Leiva and Fabio Borini are all rumoured to be circling the exit door in search of regular playing time. The biggest exit will be the apparent move of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City, refusing to go on the club’s pre-season tour being his latest move against the Anfield club. At this stage surely Liverpool should take the money and run.
The necessary replacements if all those listed were to leave would be possibly another central midfielder (Although Emre Can appears to be earmarked for that position) some cover at left-back and a striker. (Benteke, Austin, Lacazette) Lazar Markovic and Jordan Ibe will get more playing time with Sterling gone and Divock Origi’s return combined with the addition of Firmino and Ings may indicate the need for another attacking player is only speculation. So much business being done this early means Rodgers at long last has a clear plan for the club’s transfer dealings I for one would not be surprised, or disappointed, if the remainder of the window was spent clearing out the dead wood.