Ramirez’s Rumour Roundup: French talent the theme for Liverpool while squad players move toward exit

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By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez

Transfer window around the corner fa-lalalalala-lala-lala

It’s the time for rubbish rumours fa-lalalalala-lala-lala

I report them, you laugh at them fa-lala-lalala-lalala

Now we’re gonna critique journo’s fa-lalalala-lala-la-laaaaa

It’s that festive time of year, the January transfer window is now less than a month away and the rumours are coming thick and fast. As per usual there a rumour’s surrounding every player and every club imaginable, so here at the Kopite we thought we’d give you a weekly report on everything we’ve seen regarding our beloved LFC.

This article will be the first in an eight-part series in which we give you our take on the rumours circulating round Anfield. Spoiler alert be prepared for a load of nonsense as the window progresses and don’t worry, that song at the start will not be published in our future editions. With that out the way, let’s begin.

Transfer In:

Nabil Fekir – Lyon – This persistent old gem comes courtesy of the Liverpool Echo. As is common now, Fekir was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in the Summer and got as far as having a medical with the club as Jürgen Klopp looked keen to make him the latest midfield edition to the squad.

A fee was agreed as were personal terms, however the transfer hit a snag when reports were published detailing that the French international had failed his medical due to a persistent knee problem.

It is here when details start to get a bit hazy, some reports say that Liverpool pulled out the deal due to concerns surrounding his knee (which Fekir himself disputed), whilst others say that Lyon pulled out last minute demanding a higher fee.

The whole situation stinks of Deja-vu as it is pretty much an exact replica of the situation Liverpool found themselves in last year in their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk – who they inevitably (and thankfully) signed in January.

Fekir has been in relatively decent form this campaign for Lyon, he’s featured in 14 matches in which he has registered four goals and four assists. Reports linking him to Liverpool have never really gone away since the breakdown in Summer and whether or not we sign him in January solely depends on one thing – What is the real reason for the Summer breakdown?

If Fekir did in fact fail his medical and we pulled out of the deal due to injury concerns, then the transfer is as good as dead. There is no way Klopp and FSG are going to spend millions of pounds on a player who they fear could pull up with a career ending injury at any time.

However, if Lyon pulled out of the deal due to the fact that they want more money, then it’s almost a nailed-on guarantee that this deal will go through, and quite early on I would assume.

Let’s look at the facts, Klopp is a fan, the player wants the move, Liverpool are looking for that creative Coutinho-like midfield spark and we have now become a ruthless team during transfer windows.

If Klopp wants a player, FSG have proven they will back him to the hilt, it happened with Salah, Alisson, Keïta and van Dijk. Their persistence in acquiring the Dutchman gives important insight into Liverpool’s mindset in particular as they were forced to wait and increase their offer for the CB across two transfer windows, but they didn’t falter, and they got their man.

Verdict:
If Fekir has a knee problem – 0/5
If Fekir is healthy and it was Lyon who pulled out in Summer – 4/5

Adrien Rabiot – PSG – The Mirror is reporting that not only are Liverpool interested in PSG’s playmaker, but that The Reds have made contact with the player and a package is currently being negotiated to bring the Frenchman to Anfield on a free transfer in the Summer.

There isn’t much to this story in my opinion, he’s a great player and I would love to have him at the club but it’s not going to happen – at least not on a free in this window.

PSG are loaded, they have megabucks and the ability to offer any player any wage. Add to that the fact that Rabiot has started in all but four of their games this season, and it seems rather unlikely that the Parisians will not renew his contract.

Verdict:

0/5

Jean-Clair Todibo – Toulouse – Joe Gomez gets injured and the next day The Daily Express is reporting that Liverpool will be signing this relatively unknown 18-year-old French centre back to replace the stricken Englishman. Sounds like rubbish, and technically it is, but there is some truth to it.

Todibo is not being courted by Liverpool in order to replace Gomez. The Toulouse defender is 18, he’s featured 10 times this season but hasn’t been in the matchday squad for his club in any of their last four games. If we sign him it would be for him to feature in the future, not to be thrown right into the first team.

Liverpool are thought to be quite heavily interested along with a host of other clubs including Juventus and Bayern Munich, and have been told that the defender will decide his future some time this month.

Verdict:
2/5

Christian Pulisic – Borussia Dortmund – The wonderkid to end all wonderkid’s, Pulisic has been on Liverpool’s radar for what appears to be years, and now Sky sources are reporting that the American winger is angling for a move to Anfield in January.

Pulisic worked under Klopp at Dortmund which make a nice little link and gives Liverpool what I believe to be the advantage in signing him. His contract negotiations with BVB have apparently stalled, with the Bundesliga outfit apparently telling the winger that he should move on in January.

The American international is very talented, and with this talent he has attracted multiple suitors, including bitter transfer rivals Chelsea. If reports are to be believed, the London side have already made an offer for the winger but have seen it rejected due to Dortmund wanting their valuation of £70 million to be met – this is what I think makes it unlikely for him to come to Anfield.

In his position The Reds already have Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah, Pulisic would make a great addition to our speedy wingers, he would add competition but would under no circumstances be guaranteed to start.

It seems that BVB are unlikely to budge on their £70 million valuation, and therefore it doesn’t seem feasible that we will be willing to pay that fee for someone who would likely be playing back up to Mané and Mo.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if we signed him. He’s already absolute quality, has bags of potential, he knows what is required to work under Klopp, he’d would be a great addition, would show real intent, and could give us that extra push to go win the title. I’m just not sure if Liverpool would pay that money for a squad player.

However, if we pay have a bid accepted by Dortmund, there is no doubt that he would sign – he’s made that much clear that Liverpool is where he wants to go. The transfer fee is the only stumbling block in the way.

Verdict:
3/5 (Could be 5/5 if FSG let Klopp go mental with money)

Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal – About a month ago it was reported that Arsenal would not be extending Aaron Ramsey’s contract and that the Welshman would be free to leave in the Summer. Since then, there have been reports linking him all over the Premier League, but Liverpool are a name that continues to be repeated.

I would love this signing, not only is he Premier League proven, but he’s a type of midfielder that we don’t have – he goes beyond the strikers and gets a fair few goals. He has flair, works hard, can pick out a pass and as previously mentioned he scores goals.

Now with this being said there are reports that Klopp has turned down the option to sign the Welshman, however, neither Liverpool or Ramsey’s agent have come out to confirm Klopp’s lack of interest.

Not much more is known about the current situation surrounding the Arsenal man, however I’m sure we’ll here more in the following weeks and as the window progresses.

Verdict:
4/5

Thorgan Hazard – Borussia Mönchengladbach – Reports earlier today by the Mirror have surfaced which claim Liverpool are in the driving seat to sign Hazard – not Eden, but his brother Thorgan.

The Belgian is in scintillating form this season, scoring 11 and assisting seven in 16 appearances for Gladbach. Like his brother Eden, Hazard primarily plays on the wing, but can be deployed behind the striker, and could give Liverpool great cover in those positions should we sign him.

Hazard would not only bolster Liverpool’s squad in the Premier League but would also be eligible to feature in the UEFA Champions League as Gladbach failed to qualify for the competition. Add to the fact that the Belgian’s release clause is set at a meagre £26million, and it becomes increasingly clearer that this is a deal Klopp should seriously be looking at completing.

Verdict:

3/5

Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona – It seems that ever since we lost Coutinho, it has been a never-ending rumour-roundabout linking us to Mr Dembele – in fact there were even reports this time last year that we were going to get the winger on loan…. Ludacris.

Now, however, there may just be some meat to this story. Dembele continues to somewhat anger the higher-ups at Barcelona due to his ‘questionable’ behaviour off the pitch – his latest being arriving two hours late to training.

Klopp has had an interest in Dembele now for a number of years and has been attempting to sign the £100+ million winger on the cheap, due to his off-field antics. However, reports circulating today from the Daily Star and the Express have revealed that Barcelona are in fact willing to sell the Frenchman, but only if a significant fee is paid.

Just like is the case for Pulisic, Dembele would not walk into the Liverpool first XI, therefore I don’t see Liverpool breaking the bank for him to play backup to Salah. Pulisic has gone on record to say he wants Liverpool, whereas with Dembele it seems that he just wants out of Barca.

Verdict:
1.5/5

Transfer Out:
Divock Origi – Wolverhampton Wanderers/AC Milan – Big Divock, he won the Derby and endeared himself to all of us yet again. He’s not getting much game time (though he did start against Burnley) and is not going to usurp Roberto Firmino anytime soon.

Klopp has come out backing the striker and seems to be a big fan of the Belgian, who many forget played a big part for Klopp in Liverpool’s run to the Europa League Final in 2016, and who has recently battled back from injury.

It seems unlikely that Liverpool would consider selling the striker, however, the Anfield side may be tempted to let Origi go out on loan in order to get him more game time which will only aid his recovery and improve his confidence.

In the instance of a loan deal, it seems that Wolves would be the ideal place to send the striker, as he would be plying his trade in the Premier League, however with this being said, Liverpool are still battling it out across three competitions (Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup) and may want to keep Origi for use later on in the season.

Verdict:
3/5

Dominic Solanke – Rangers/Celtic/Huddersfield/Wolves – Much like Origi, Klopp seems to be an avid fan of the young English striker, singing his praises after the 21-year-old came back from international duty with England U-21’s only a few weeks back.

Unlike Origi however, Solanke has yet to feature for the senior team this season, with his closest involvement being an appearance on the bench against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

Again, it seems unlikely that Klopp will allow the youngster to leave on a permanent deal, however, it is seeming very likely that the Reds will allow their young hitman to go on loan – and fans are delighted.

Due to the link through Steven Gerrard, it’s probable that Rangers will get first dibs on the striker should Klopp allow a loan move. At Ibrox, Solanke would almost be guaranteed a decent run in the first-team as well as European football should Rangers many to qualify from their group on Thursday.

With this being said, like is the case with Origi, Liverpool may benefit more if Solanke went on loan to a Premier League side. Both Wolves and Huddersfield are said to have a keen interest in Solanke, but given Klopp’s friendship with David Wagner, and Huddersfield’s need for a goal-scorer, it would make the most sense for the young striker to head to Yorkshire for the rest of the season.

Verdict:
4/5

Virgil van Dijk – Real Madrid/Barcelona – Can we all take a moment to just laugh at the Express and the Daily Star for publishing this please? There is actually more chance of Spain accepting that Gibraltar is British (little political joke for you all har har har), than there is of this transfer happening, especially not in January.

I firmly believe that neither Madrid or Barcelona could muster up a transfer fee that would make Klopp consider selling his imperious CB. It just isn’t going to happen, and more importantly, the player has made no mention of him wanting to leave, in fact he’s done the opposite and seems to always say how much he loves it at Anfield – plus he’s bezzie mates with Joe Gomez.

There literally are no words to describe how much I chuckled reading this rumour, this is classic transfer rumour rubbish at its finest. Don’t worry Liverpool fans, VVD isn’t going anywhere.

Verdict:
0/5!

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