“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!
Open for Business
The summer is here, and with it comes the long-awaited transfer window! The window opened June 9, the pie is cooling on the sill, and some bald-headed Dennis the Menace is sneaking up about to feast – I am talking about you, Pep Guardiola!
Our fellow top four finishers – the Manchester brothers and Chelski – have all been linked with expensive mega-signings this summer. It is not a big surprise to hear that Liverpool are not, again claiming there is not a great deal of money for transfers this summer. My only hope is the hope that United will eventually piss off Borussia Dortmund again with their low ball bids for Jadon Sancho, or that City/Chelsea’s reckless spending sprees during a pandemic will force UEFA to finally enforce some Financial Fair Play restrictions. I know, it’s unlikely… but a Red can dream!
Liverpool have put a number of fringe players up for sale in hopes to raise some funds. It is always sad to see some fan favorites move on but you just have to convince yourself the player will be happier with more first team opportunities somewhere else. Also extra money in the coffers potentially gives us the opportunity to bring in new players to love.
Doin’ the Raphinha Rap
According to Sportitalia TV transfer insider Gianluigi Longari, Liverpool are interested in signing Leeds United star Raphinha. Recent rumors go as far as claiming that Liverpool have submitted a $45 million bid for the Brazilian.
Before I talk business, allow me to give you a brief footballing resume for the talented winger. Raphinha started his career in Brazil with Avai in 2014 at the age of 17. In 2016, he was signed by Portuguese team Vitoria Guimaraes. During the 2017-2018 season Raphinha was named Breakthrough Player of the Year for the team, having scored 18 goals in 43 matches in all competitions.
The following year, he was picked up by Portuguese heavy weights Sporting CP, where he played alongside “Penalty King” Bruno Fernanades. In 41 total appearances for Sporting, he scored nine goals and assisted five more. Raphina was part of the team that won both domestic Portuguese cups in 2018-19, and even scored the game-winning penalty in the finals shootout with Porto.
In 2019, Raphinha signed for French side Rennes for a club-record fee around $23.1 million. He scored eight goals and provided seven assists in all competitions that season. Unfortunately, Rennes was hit hard by the financial impact of the pandemic, and were forced to sell him to Leeds in November 2020 for $20.4 million. A little over a month later, Raphinha went on to score his first Leeds and Premier League goal, and 85th-mintue winner against Everton.
The 24-year-old went on to collect six goals and nine assists in 30 Premier League appearances during his debut season with Leeds. His market value is now almost double that which he was signed for, estimated at about $33 million.
The Daily Express says that despite both Manchester United and Manchester City retaining interest in the player, Liverpool are the favorites to sign him. When recently asked about interest from teams like Manchester United or Liverpool Raphinha was quoted saying:
At United there’s Alex Telles. I did not even know how many times against him, a hard scorer, but always with respect. There’s Fred, who’s from the South too. But in Liverpool there is Alisson who is from the South too, so everything stays the same. There is still Fabinho, who is from the same place as Firmino and I. In fact, did you know that Firmino was the first guy who texted me when I came here? He’s a great friend.
It sounds like “Agent Bobby Firmino” may have already been putting in some work to lure his countryman to the Reds. As much as I would love Liverpool to sign Raphinha, I believe it would take a large bid to get Leeds to consider selling him.
It is my understanding that Leeds have no current interest in selling Raphinha. Although he has many friends at Liverpool, so does Richarlison… and I cannot see him signing for Liverpool. Realistically, Leeds are really under no pressure to sell, and I just do not see this realistically going forward unless Liverpool are able to unload a few players to raise funds. Even with the funds, it is hard for me to imagine Liverpool spending a large fee on one player this summer.
Who wants Harry?
Harry Wilson has spent many years at Liverpool, yet has never really broken into the first team. He has had some promising loan spells but it seems as though Klopp just does not fancy him. In 2019-20, Wilson spent the season on loan with Bournemouth. The team ended up being relegated, but Wilson still scored seven goals and provided two assists in 35 appearances in all competitions. At the start of the 2020-2021 season last year, Wilson was told he would no get regular minutes with the Reds. As such, he was worried he would miss out on playing for Wales during the Euros, and looked to find game time elsewhere. In the end the attacker joined Cardiff City on loan.
During his time with Cardiff Wilson, scored seven goals and provided 12 assists in 37 appearances in the Championship. Cardiff would love to bring the winger back next season, and although they may be priced out of a move, it has not yet been ruled out.
Towards the end of the season, Leeds were another team being linked with an interest in signing Wilson. There was even talk about Liverpool using Wilson in a player-plus-cash deal to sign Raphinha. With Leeds veteran Pablo Hernandez leaving, Marcelo Bielsa is in the market for a new attacker. Leeds are rumored to be keen on signing a winger and several have been linked, including Wilson as well as Manchester United winger Daniel James.
Unfortunately the latest reports are suggesting Leeds are no longer interested in signing the Wales international, citing Liverpool’s asking price as too high.
According to The Athletic, the Reds have valued Wilson at $24 million, which in my opinion does not sound like an outrageous price. Leeds are allegedly on a strict budget after spending over $100 million last summer upon promotion to the Premier League. Their main priorities will be holding on to their key players. One of Leeds’ main men of the last season, Jack Harrison, was actually on loan from Manchester City, and the Peacocks are keen to sign him permanently. It is looking like Kalvin Phillips might have a few suitors by the end of the Euros and will likely want a new contract to stay put.
My gut tells me to keep an eye on this transfer. Leeds may just be playing hard ball to drive down Wilson’s asking price, because Liverpool seem almost desperate to get him off their books. Perhaps Liverpool are waiting until after the Euros, hoping a decent performance in the tournament will justify their valuation. As always my friends, I will keep you informed.
Neuhaus in the House?
After the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool have already been, and will likely continue to be linked with a variety of class midfielders to replace him. One of the names making the rounds is Borussia Monchegladbach’s Florian Neuhaus. Liverpool scouts are supposedly keeping a close eye on the midfielder’s performances for Germany at Euro 2020.
Neuhaus is currently valued at around $40 million. He made 33 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, scoring six goals and assisting five. His progression over the past three seasons has led to a national team call up for the 24-year-old, scoring twice in six appearances for Germany.
Neuhaus began his career with TSV 1860 Munich, playing in their youth system. He made a name for himself when he scored the winning goal in a German Youth League semifinal match against Borussia Dortmund, scoring in dramatic fashion from the halfway line in the 89th minute.
This would not be his only long range goal… He is apparently quite adept at them…
In 2016 Neuhaus made his first team debut for 1860 Munich in the 2.Bundesliga, making several impressive performances. While attracting interest from a number of top teams, Borussia Mönchengladbach were the first to make a move, signing the future German international to a long-term contract.
Initially, he was loaned out to Fortuna Dusseldorf in the German second division. There, Neuhaus’s six goals and three assists in 27 appearances in the 2.Bundesliga helped Fortuna win the second division title and promotion to the Bundesliga. Returning to Mönchengladbach the following year, he became a first-team regular, scoring three goals and providing nine assists in his first Bundesliga season.
Neuhaus typically lines up as a central midfielder, but his true position and style has drawn comparisons with Thomas Muller. In Germany, Muller is known as “Raumdeuter” (roughly translated as “Space Interpreter”). He often plays without a true position on the pitch, utilizing his vision to find spaces between the lines. This is an instinctive or intuitive talent – not only to be in the right places at the right time, but also to pick out the perfect pass.
With all due respect, Neuhaus almost sounds a lot like an improved version of Wijnaldum: a midfielder who can occupy space like Wijnaldum, but who is more able to contribute goals and assists.
Florian Plettenberg, chief reporter at German outlet Sport1, has revealed that Neuhaus is keen to “make the next step.” However, Plettenberg notes that Neuhaus wants to ensure that it is the “right” step. That is, Neuhaus wants to come away from talks with potential suitors feeling comfortable – he wants to know not only that the next club is really interested in him, but that he would also be a good fit.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City are also being linked with moves for the German midfielder. According to Plettenberg (and many unofficial biographies), Neuhaus was born and grew up just outside Munich and his family are die hard Bayern fans, especially his father. When I first read this, I felt that there was only one likely outcome: that he would end up at Bayern Munich. However, I can provide my readers with a small bit of hope…
According to Plettenberg, Bayern cannot afford Neuhaus at the moment, even though they consider him as a potential long-term replacement for Muller in their current system. If Neuhaus is not keen on waiting for that opportunity, he may be attracted to a move to Liverpool. Additionally, it is worth noting that despite his father’s wishes, Neuhaus has already turned down a move to Bayern once, though this was to their academy when he was still a child.
We all know Klopp has a way of making players feel wanted, but are Liverpool actually interested in signing a Wijnaldum replacement?
Transfers of the Summer ©
This summer, there are many rumored front-page, big-name transfers that could rock the football landscape. Lionel Messi spent the majority of last summer (as he has in the past) publicly bitching for a move away from Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo has supposedly grown bored of Italy while Juventus have grown bored of his wages. Kylian Mbappe is stalling on a new contract with PSG, while Real Madrid allegedly cut wages and sell players to raise funds for the French forward. Tottenham fans went into panic mode when Harry Kane announced he wanted to leave Spurs.
To wrap up my article this week I have decided to write up some brief predictions on how some of this summer’s biggest transfer sagas could unfold in 2021 and beyond. This is pure fiction.. for now. Enjoy!
Messi stays put. I have not seen an official announcement yet from Barcelona or Messi, but majority of news outlets are reporting this is a done deal, with Messi signing a contract extension to 2023. Part of the contract will see Messi spend time in the MLS playing for Inter Miami before returning to Barcelona in a role as a club ambassador and spokesmen.
Six years from now in 2027, Messi runs for Barcelona President and wins. However, after a string of bad results for Barcelona in La Liga, Messi is exposed for shady dealings – and arrested for corruption.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid sell Hazard back to Chelsea for a fraction of the $127M they originally paid. They dump Ramos and his wages. Bale also retires, which frees up even more money. Real Madrid finally buy Mbappe. He does not play as well as everyone expected – because deep down, the French league is for farmers – and the Madrid fans boo him off the pitch after he fails to score on his debut. He instantly regrets not joining Liverpool instead.
With Mbappe leaving, PSG sign Ronaldo as a replacement. The then-37-year-old Ronaldo demands equal wages to Neymar – and the Qatari owners gladly open their wallets. In turn, Neymar demands more money then Ronaldo. They constantly fight over who gets to take (and miss) their free kicks. Ronaldo announces he is going to the MLS with the LA Galaxy at the end of the season, because he can not stand Neymar. He will attempt to make a career as a Hollywood actor in the offseason. He attempts furiously to win trophies before Messi joins the league a season later. The football world finally gets to witness Ronaldo and Messi play together during the MLS Allstar match. The stadium sells out of tickets and the match is televised world wide. Neither player shows up because it is a glorified friendly.
Harry Kane goes to Manchester City for $150 million. Spurs spend most fo the next year attempting to woo Bale back to London, before he decides to retire. Ultimately, Kane ends up being the worlds most expensive bench warmer when Pep Guardiola continues to play Kevin De Bruyne as a false nine. Sorry (not sorry), Harry!
I am Jordan Gerrard and as always I thank you for reading!