“The name’s Gerrard, Jordan Gerrard,” also known as “The American Gerrard!” You know about the “Welsh Pirlo”, you’ve seen the “Egyptian Messi”, but you never knew about the American Gerrard! When the American Scouser needed a transfer expert I was there to smash it in from long range with an absolute belter. What a hit son, what a hit!
This week the Reds finally returned to action in a preseason friendly against German opposition and Bundesliga Promotion winner Stuttgart. After what seemed like an eternity (less then a month) waiting for the antidote to our lack of Liverpool Football Club, the match provided a much-needed replenishment to die hard Liverpool fans seeking to satisfy their Mane Mania, Shaqiri Shakes or Wijnaldum Withdrawals. All very serious afflictions by the way!
Of course the Reds put on a decent performance, with Klopp selecting two different XIs – one for each half. This allowed a number of youngsters and fringe players a chance to stake their claim in moving up the pecking order. Curtis “Cujo” Jones was one player that really stood out for me. For me, he is looking like a first team contender more and more in each match he plays. If club captain Jordan Henderson is not fit enough to start the season, I dare say Jones might get the nod.
We have had some new rumors cropping up this week, and I have done my best to gather the details and descriptions to provide you the facts and fictions. New reports and a potential reason why Gini hasn’t signed a new contract have emerged. Could Klopp be set to manage Barcelona in the future? Could a Liverpool player end up facing Liverpool on opening day? This week’s article has the skinny!
Koeman Comes Calling
After Barcelona’s humiliating defeat in the Champions League to Bayern Munich, the Catalan club decided to part ways with under-pressure manager Quique Setien. They were quick to replace Setien with former Barcelona legend Ronald Koeman in a deal believed to be in the works behind the scenes for months.
Reports emerged this week that Koeman would be making underrated Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum his priority transfer target. Catalan publication Sport claim Gini is waiting for Barcelona to make an offer for him, as he allegedly wants to play for his former Netherlands national team manger. Sport also claim (foolishly I may add) that Wijnaldum might be available for as little as $24 million…
Dutch news outlet AD have claimed Koeman has persuaded Wijnaldum not to sign a new contract with Liverpool, which would allow Barcelona to sign him on a free transfer as early as January for next summer.
My belief is that if this rumor is true and Barcelona do want to sign Wijnaldum, they will refrain from making a move this summer. This is mainly due to the clause in the Coutinho deal, which would compel the Spanish club to fork over an additional $130 million in fees on top of any agreed transfer deal for a Liverpool player. Barcelona will likely wait until the clause expires, in an attempt to sign Gini mid-season for a lower fee in January, or more likely join for free in the summer when his contract with Liverpool expires.
Any long-term plans to sign Wijnaldum in a sneaky manner would be assuming former Everton reject manager Koeman lasts that long as manager. Some believe Koeman is simply a short term solution while the club attempts to pursue former player Xavi Hernandez to take the job. Xavi is currently manager at Al-Sadd in Qatar and does not believe he is ready for the Barcelona job – nor does he want to show disrespect to the Qatar side who gave him his first job as a manager by forcing a move away so early in his career.
The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend
Recently-promoted Premier League side Leeds United have already been busy this summer securing deals to keep many of their on loan players from last season either as signings or extending loans. Leeds manager and known training ground spy, Marcelo Bielsa is known to be looking to improve his attacking options this summer. The Express claims Leeds hold interest in both Divock Origi and Rhian Brewster.
As many older fans know Leeds United enjoys a fierce rivalry with Liverpool’s most hated enemy, Manchester United. Although Liverpool have enjoyed their own moments against Leeds in the past, would Liverpool potentially do business with Leeds to spite Manchester United? After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend…
Opting for Origi
Leed’s primary transfer target this summer was believed to be Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard, who had scored 28 goals for the Scottish side last season. However, Celtic have apparently informed all suitors that the French striker is not for sale. As such, Leeds are believed to have earmarked Divock Origi as their back up option.
According to new reports by the Mirror, Origi would consider leaving Liverpool for regular first team football and a move to Leeds might suit his desires. Aston Villa are also believed to be interested in signing Origi as well, and may have money to spend if they end up selling star man Jack Grealish.
Personally, I think stories about Origi wanting to leave Liverpool are bullshit. Origi recently confirmed his desire to continue to improve under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp, and reaffirmed his wishes to stay at Liverpool despite limited game time. It is worth mentioning Origi’s exclusion from the match day squad during Liverpool’s match with Stuttgart: Origi did not feature in either half, nor was he on included on the bench to be included as a substitute. Most likely Klopp is just rotating his players during these friendlies, and I believe we will see Origi in the match against Salzburg on Tuesday.
Personally, I would like to see Origi move on, at the very least on loan, but I think we are stuck with him for the time being. I would actually love to see Origi go to Leeds on loan. He could play in their big rival match and score a goal to punish our mutual enemy Manchester United. He could write a new chapter in his Liverpool legend by scoring important goals while not even playing for the Reds!
Brewing for Brewster
Leeds have also made their interest known in taking Rhian Brewster on a season long loan. He was linked with Leeds last January before instead moving to Swansea, where he scored an impressive 11 goals in 22 appearances. Leeds are keen not to make the same mistake twice, and have allegedly pounced on the opportunity for Brewster.
Spurs are also believed to be interested in signing Brewster either on a permanent basis or on loan as a backup to Harry Kane. Jose Mourinho has added his name to the list of admirers for Brewster, and it appears Liverpool have a future star on their hands. I believe the jury is still out on whether Klopp will allow Rhian Brewster to leave on loan this season, but he definitely will not be sold. After scoring during Liverpool’s preseason match against Stuttgart, Brewster may be knocking on Origi’s door in the LFC pecking order, putting more pressure on the Beligian’s quest for playing time.
I did not think I would need to seriously address this one, but I’ll make a bold statement: Liverpool will not loan or sell Brewster to Spurs. Jose Mourinho is a toxic manager. He does not have a good reputation for his development of young players, having instead opted regularly to spend on ready-made stars instead of his youth teams. Brewster playing back up to Kane (who starts every match for which he is fit) is seen as a move that may stall Brewster’s progression.
I would like to see Brewster get a chance at Liverpool, but would playing a backup role to Bobby Firmino have a similar stalling effect on Brewster’s progression?
Back by popular demand (and not by own my preference) – I will update you on the Thiago situation, and risk sounding like a broken record. I first want to reiterate that all my most reliable sources still believe Thiago Alacantara is not an active target for Liverpool Football Club at this time. Liverpool insiders say we are not interested in Thiago this summer. Recent reports of personal terms being agreed and Thiago house hunting in England have been debunked by those in the know.
Allow me to pose a scenario: Imagine you were a world class player looking for what will most likely be your last good move to a top team in Europe. You are facing your last potential big money contract. If you wanted to generate interest and force admirers into striking a deal early on, one obvious move might be to release fake news linking you to Liverpool, arguably the best team in Europe at the moment. Could Thiago’s agent or someone in his camp be spreading these rumors for this end?
The majority of the stories linking Liverpool with Thiago are originating from Germany and not locally in Liverpool. I am not accusing Thiago’s camp of creating these stories to help facilitate a move elsewhere – after all, I have not seen any evidence of that – but I am just saying we should consider all possibilities.
Diario Sport reported this week that one of the Barcelona Presidential candidates, Jordi Farre, claimed he has held talks with Jurgen Klopp about the potential of taking over the manager job at Barcelona in the future.
For many years Barcelona have employed a democratic system for electing their club President with club members all casting their votes. With recent shortcomings and the potential exit of aging talisman Lionel Messi, the next election stands to be significant. Jurgen Klopp is arguably the best manager in the world of football at the moment. He may not be as decorated as other managers as far as trophies go but right now he’s clearly the most wanted manager – and for good reasons. In my opinion, Farre is basically using the promise of a potential future move for a great manager like Jurgen Klopp to entice voters to his side. When I looked into this story even closer, it is worth noting that Farre never revealed the details of Klopp’s response to Barcelona’s interest… most likely because Klopp (or his representatives) turned it down.
Jurgen Klopp has also been linked with taking over the German national team. However, he has repeatedly said he is going to take a break from managing football after the expiration of his Liverpool contract, and may even retire for good (cue Liverpool fan’s hearts breaking everywhere across the world).
Barcelona does not seem like the type of team Klopp would want to work with, in my opinion. For one, Barcelona’s squad doesn’t fit the Klopp vision: he does not sign superstars or tolerate superstar attitudes. Klopp creates his own superstars. The Barcelona faithful demand instant results, and I do not anticipate patience similar to FSG if the Catalans have to experience a bad season or two while Klopp molds his squad to perfection. Klopp’s own passion might evem clash with his supporters’ lack of faith.
I do not see Klopp abandoning us anytime soon, and the good news is, when he does leave many years from now, we have a few potential replacements waiting in the wings – Pep Lijnders or even Steven Gerrard to name a few. Not too shabby!
I’m Jordan Gerrard and as always I thank you for reading!