Reading Transfer Tea Leaves
Having Liverpool back in action is great. But let’s be honest. With this particular season having as many downs, if not more, than ups, the transfer market in January and the summer is where our collective focus has shifted. Who’s coming in? Who’s leaving? When is each of those questions being answered? I’ll try to read the proverbial tea leaves a bit as to who is coming to Anfield in either the next month or after the season. Also, I’ll attempt to find new homes for some players on our squad that desperately need a change of scenery.
Already Over The Line
Cody Gakpo’s £40m+ move from PSV is all but complete. The first transfer of this window adds depth to a line with a dearth of healthy bodies at the moment. Gakpo showed at the World Cup what he could do with different responsibilities in attack. That versatility and effectiveness will obviously be welcome to the club with the injury list not getting any lighter any time soon.
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The amount FSG will allow Klopp and his team to spend in the coming months is up for debate. But we can at least agree that the Dutch forward’s arrival will not be the only entry on Transfermarkt for the club for 2023.
As expected, Jude Bellingham excelled at the World Cup in Qatar. It wasn’t just his play on the field that was exceptional. His composure, leadership, and sticktoitiveness at just 19 years old are unfathomable. Nobody really thought his price tag would go down after the world showcase, but that plus an already escalating asking price from Borussia Dortmund may have put the midfielder out of reach unless his team can be a true intermediary between the two sides and get him in with his mates in red. £130m (by several avenues as always) hopefully isn’t too rich for our owners’ blood. Jude Bellingham is a pure spend-money-to-make-money endeavor.
If that doesn’t come to pass though, picking up striker Youssoufa Moukoko on a free in the summer wouldn’t be the worst consolation prize. Realistically, a free transfer for a player of Moukoko’s youth and poise doesn’t happen. Dortmund is playing coy with the 18-year-old at the moment but they are too intelligent of an organization to flub this situation. They’ll reach a middle ground on contract negotiations or budge enough to get him signed. Even with a pay raise and a fee now in play, the youngster has shown Champions League mettle and should totally be on Liverpool’s radar.
World Cup Stars
The midfield has been a point of contention since the beginning of the campaign. I won’t even get into a rant about the Arthur Melo saga, but please don’t make that move permanent. Nevertheless, with departures and contract expirations, a refresh and upgrades are paramount. Two of the biggest names bantered about in that regard put themselves firmly towards the front of the shop window at the World Cup.
Argentina and Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez has become the eye of a potential spending hurricane between the better part of England’s top six teams. His play in Qatar put his fee in the neighborhood of Bellingham’s in the minds of some as well. I’ve personally been high on this kid after just seeing him play in a handful of games in Portugal after arriving from River Plate. He reasserted my faith by taking his opportunity in front of millions and seizing it. Plugging him into Klopp’s system would be fairly easy too with him being like Gakpo in terms of adaptability. This may just end up coming down to choosing. The young English starlet coming home or the Argentinian standout on a meteoric rise?
By no means should one take this next sentence as a slight on the player. However, if you wanted to save some money, maybe Morocco and Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat should be your target. He and Fernandez are totally different players I understand that. The defensive midfielder is also four years and change older. But if you want to sell a signing to your faithful off a tournament performance, Amrabat has plenty of great tape to compile. This man is a destroyer of tiki-taka out-of-the-back bullshit. His showing against Spain proved to me that he could easily be the cleaner next to a passer in a two-man pivot.
Quieter Transfer Noise
With anything, it is the moves you hear little about that sometimes make the most impact. One getting a lot of steam recently is Brighton’s Moises Caicedo. The Ecuadorian midfielder has been a staple in the side at the Amex even with Graham Potter’s departure. In regards to Liverpool, he could also be someone who fits both for system and price. He’s a player who you’ll never feel gave you less than everything he had to give. That ethic is Liverpool through and through. Whether Brighton lets him go while striving for Europe remains to be seen. My only hope is that this doesn’t end up being a needless saga as more important targets come off the board.
A second Eredivisie product arrival at Anfield could be in the cards. Mohammed Kudus from Ajax is the most talked about name in that regard. The Ghanaian is ultra-talented and can get goals in a variety of ways. But there is another name from that outfit I want to briefly discuss. Striker Brian Brobbey was one of few Ajax players to show any sense of urgency in our Champions League clash back in October. He’d be relatively inexpensive and it would make Erik ten Hag really mad if he was wearing our shade of red rather than Manchester United’s. That’s not the best reason but pettiness can be fun on occasion. Brobbey is skilled enough to make that pettiness meaningful additionally.
Out The Door
I am almost certainly downplaying the number of exits Liverpool will have over the next two windows. For some, it is I just don’t want to see them go. Even if it is time, separating oneself from that without actually being in the front office can be difficult. For others, a stunning bid or abrupt change in heart or philosophy could get transfer wheels turning that we didn’t even know had begun to turn.
We’ll just rip the band-aid off with Naby Keita. Not too hard though given the Guinean’s poor track record with injuries. It is a signing that has worked maybe 1-2% of his stay on Merseyside and it is best for all parties to have a clean break. Whether it be on a free in the summer or at a cut rate in January, a move back to Germany for Naby Keita makes the most sense. Save this garbage of “if he plays a couple of games we could bring him back.” Naby needs to leave and we need to facilitate that.
Similarly snake-bitten, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be given the chance to find first-team football. As much as that is going to pain Timucin on the Morning Coffee Show, getting something for Ox is best unless he wants to control his own destiny upon his contract’s expiration. The same can be said for Nat Phillips. If he wants to ride it out, that’s fine by me. Need a transfer in January? Let the backroom staffs discuss appropriate measures.
One player I would like to see stay through these transfer windows is Bobby Firmino. If there ever was a player that needed to sit atop a learning tree with this club, it’s the “Best In The World.” He’s a great South American ambassador for the club and is still a serviceable player. Even saying the word serviceable for Firmino feels insulting but at 31 he is not the Bobby of old. Yet still, I think he has plenty to offer the club both on the pitch and off it. Get this man a dotted line to sign on.
So who do you think will be coming and going from our beloved Reds in 2023? Let me know in the comments below and on any of our social media platforms!