It was a day of goodbyes for Liverpool in their last Premier League game. Roberto Firmino ‘read the script’ and popped up with his final ever strike at Anfield, but unfortunately, this was not enough to seal all three points against a well-drilled Aston Villa side.
The home faithful also said goodbye to James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita. The Reds have been linked with a slew of midfielders to replace the three, with Chelsea’s Mason Mount emerging as one of the most likely signings.
That momentum took a knock yesterday, with the Athletic’s David Ornstein reporting that north-west rivals Manchester United were now favourites to sign the 24-year-old, who is on the radar of a variety of top clubs.
On the latest episode of our Journo Insight Show, we asked goal.com’s Neil Jones for his take on the Mount story.
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“I think it’s a worrying development for Liverpool because it would lay waste to the theory that that’s it doesn’t matter if you miss out on the Champions League for one season.
“Liverpool have been able… to sign players that you think would have made Manchester United stronger – Cody Gakpo in January was an example, Darwin Núñez was last summer.
“They’re [Man Utd] going to make an offer; it still sounds like the price tag is pretty high. I think I saw an initial £55million, but that wouldn’t be enough. That’s a lot for a player with one year on his contract who hasn’t had a great season as well.
“I think it’s quite a negative development in this story. I don’t see much good if Liverpool doesn’t get something like this done. I think Liverpool thought they had a pretty good chance of getting him.
“Why is he good enough for Manchester United at that price, when Manchester United are in the Champions League and above Liverpool? How are Liverpool going to close the gap on them? They’re not just behind them, they’re also unable to compete with them for players that they want.”
Mason Mount has been amongst the strongest-linked of the Reds’ numerous midfield targets. It is easy to imagine Jürgen Klopp raving about the England midfielder – he is known for his hard work and his ability to closely follow his manager’s instructions. Some onlookers may feel Mount moving to Old Trafford would be a blessing in disguise – he is a divisive player amongst England and Chelsea fans. However, Neil is right to point out a possible worrying sea change if Manchester United are reestablishing themselves as the preferred destination to Anfield. Nothing has been finalised at this stage, but Liverpool will find overhauling their old rivals even more challenging if they lose a major transfer target to them. The mooted fee seems high considering Chelsea’s need to sell and Mount’s contract situation – perhaps the money would be better spent elsewhere in the squad?
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