It’s been a whirlwind start to the week for Liverpool fans, whom after a window of rumours and unfulfilled promise would’ve been forgiven for accepting, or, rather, remaining hopeful-given the lingering situation surrounding wantaway midfielder Phillipe Coutinho- that the Reds’ involvement in the final days of what is left of the transfer window would be minimal. In true Liverpool style, however, Anfield chiefs have seemingly called our bluff and, instead, sent the rumour mill into overdrive. I think it’s fair to say one thing Liverpool could never be accused of is being boring.
Following months of speculation and a plethora of self-proclaimed ‘ITK’ accounts declaring a deal to bring Naby Keita to the club to be complete, the Guinean’s deal was indeed finalised on Monday to the surprise of even the most dedicated anoraks of Liverpool’s summer transfer activity.
Not content with giving the aforementioned ‘ITKs’ the run-around over Keita, it seems as though Liverpool have now entered negotiations with Monaco, Arsenal and Southampton over the services of Thomas Lemar, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk, respectively, which is sure to keep every ITK in the country busy for the time being. I remain confident was very much the intention of Reds CEO Peter Moore.
In order to bring some order to the chaos, therefore, here are the things to expect from Liverpool this deadline day.
In surely the most protracted transfer saga involving Liverpool in living memory, the Reds have been made to wait to the final day of the window, it seems, to get their man. The Reds are prepared to let this deal go down to the wire if Paul Joyce of the Times is to be believed. Anfield chiefs have indicated that they would be willing to match the Saints’ asking price for the highly rated Dutchman and a deal would seem to be the best option for all parties after Van Dijk reiterated his desire to depart the South Coast this summer in the form of a written transfer request. Southampton have seemingly been reticent to allowing their prized asset to depart the club all summer and clearly the animosity towards Liverpool following the now infamous tapping-up incident earlier this summer still lingers in the minds of the powers that be down on the South Coast. Liverpool’s patience may very well pay off, however, with Van Dijk unwilling to join anybody else apart from Klopp’s side after spurning the advances of both Chelsea and Juventus this summer. The 25 year old clearly has his heart set on a switch to Anfield and this will, undoubtedly prove the ace in Jurgen Klopp’s pack if the German is to get his man. The lack of noise in the past few days over a prospective move may prove telling but the signing of Naby Keita on Monday caught even the most observant amongst us out so there is, perhaps still a lot of cause to remain optimistic.
In perhaps the most pleasant surprise we have been greeted with in the past week, links with Monaco’s Thomas Lemar will have been roundly welcomed by much of the Anfield faithful. Indications, or at least suggestions that Lemar will prove a replacement for £160m rated Phillipe Coutinho have been rebutted by Chris Bascombe in the past day and Anfield chiefs are reported to have travelled to France in order to attempt to force through a deal. This said, suggestions have been made that the deal in question would need to be completed tonight. Reds fans will be encouraged by Liverpool’s clear desire to bring what is clearly a top quality reinforcement to Merseyside. Questions do, however, linger regarding whether Lemar would arrive to complement, or, rather, replace Phillipe Coutinho. The Reds may have, however, just left this deal a bit too late despite their clear interest in the Frenchman. Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, according to some appears to be the alternative if the Reds are unable to secure the winger’s services, but the arrival of both is not at all out of the question.
In an odd development, the first most heard of ‘interest’ in Oxlade-Chamberlian this week was in the form of his rejection of a move to champions Chelsea who reportedly successfully bid £40m for the England midfielder, the 24 year old instead preferring a move to Liverpool according to Paul Joyce and Chris Bascombe. The Reds have reportedly registered an interest in the midfielder, who’s contract at the Emirates is due to expire next year. Jurgen Klopp seemingly has sniffed out an opportunity to grab a bargain and a player that would add some much needed utility to his squad. Some reports, including from the BBC, have suggested that Oxlade-Chamberlain remains an alternative to Lemar but it is not beyond the question that both could arrive at Anfield before the end of the window. Arsenal seem resigned to losing the midfielder and have seemingly realised their attempts to keep the England international in North London have been to little success. One could imagine that Arsene Wenger’s side have conceded that a deal would probably suit all parties, which means Liverpool, it appears, have a real chance in their attempts to secure the former Southampton starlet’s signature.
This is the real elephant in the room when it comes to this deadline day. The wantaway midfielder has made clear his desire to depart Anfield for Barcelona and one would imagine that if the Reds were to at long last submit to the Catalans’ advances, the deal would be completed fairly swiftly. This said, the comments of Liverpool CEO Peter Moore on twitter yesterday seemed to put pains to any suggestion that the Reds had changed their tact over the Brailian’s future. The official line that the diminutive playmaker will stay at Anfield beyond the deadline seemingly remains, something that Chris Bascombe again reiterated earlier today. This said conflicting reports from those such as Oliver Bond have suggested that Liverpool chiefs have particularly taken issue in the past week with Coutinho’s seemingly false insistence that he has been injured over the past few weeks, as confirmed by Brazil’s medical staff on Monday. Whether this has left the midfielder’s position at Anfield untenable remains to be seen but it seems unlikely that he will depart Anfield this summer as the Reds have insisted all along. Still, doubts do remain, however despite the insistences of the club and journalists close to the club. Perhaps the Reds will bite the bullet and take the handsome sum the Reds have been offered for a player that manager Jurgen Klopp, it appears does not want at the club
The Frenchman’s future has been a subject of debate for more than a year now and clearly the Reds outcast’s stint at the club is dead in the water. Unlike Coutinho, one senses that there is no way back for the former PSG man with former club Crystal Palace, who he joined on loan last year, seemingly his most likely suitors. The Eagles have already had three bids rejected for the France international and a fourth bid may well prove successful if they are to meet the defender’s £30m asking price. Frank de Boer’s side reportedly offered an initial £22m for Sakho yesterday and one would expect another bid will emerge before the end of the window for the out of favour centre-half.
Markovic, who spent last season on loan, latterly at relegated Hull, has saw his career spiral on a downward trajectory while on Liverpool’s books and a succession of Reds bosses have now deemed him surplus to requirements. The Serbian’s time on Merseyside has proved a disappointment given his clear potential and it appears his future lies beyond Anfield. According to Paul Joyce, Watford are weighing up a loan move for the 23 year old winger and it would come as no surprise if the former Benfica man duly departs Anfield on deadline day
By Tom Beattie