By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
Due to a rather crowded Christmas period, not only has Liverpool been busy on the pitch, but this particular Kopite author has been busy off the field too. Although this third edition of our little transfer review is a bit late, I assure you the rumours have still been flowing.
Weirdly enough, unlike in the last two editions, there haven’t been any ridiculous ones per say this week.
Unlikely rumours? Yes, of course – there are always unlikely links being made in the build up to a transfer window. But, nothing as ridiculous as Virgil van Dijk’s apparent sale which was mentioned in our first review.
Anyway, let’s Scooby Dooby Do this.
Lorenzo Insigne – Napoli
Thought I’d start this week’s with the most unlikely of the lot.
Is little Lorenzo a little beast? Indeed he is. Would he make a better side? Klopping hell yes he would. But, he is to Napoli what Steven Gerrard was to us.
Insigne is Napoli’s home-grown shining light of a talisman – he’s one of their own, a born and bred “Partenopei”. He’s made no mention of wanting to leave, even if he did, it’s unlikely Napoli would allow it. With this being said, let’s indulge and see how he would fit in.
Firstly, he would cost a bomb. Reports coming out of Naples state the club wouldn’t sell for anything less than €200million. I think it’s safe to say we won’t pay that fee for a player who plays in a position in which we are pretty stacked – Messers Mané and Salah seem to have the wings locked down.
However, if we play in the ever more popular 4-2-3-1 with Salah up top, then the little Italian could slot in nicely in the advanced midfield roles next to Bobby and Sadio.
In the Reds last league outing (A 4-0 victory over Newcastle), Jürgy opted for the 4-2-3-1 formation – with Shaq, Bobby, Mané and Mo making up the attacking quartet. Compared to these four, Insigne is putting up impressive numbers that seem to make him a perfect candidate to join the fluid attacking system.
This season, the Italian has 10 goals and 5 assists in all competitions for Napoli. This puts him ahead of Mané, Firmino and Shaq in both stats, only coming second to Salah who finds himself on 15 goals and seven assists (despite him having an apparent ‘poor’ season).
Insigne primarily plays behind the striker or on the left wing, and in this system there is no doubt that his speed, high work rate and eye for goal could see him thrive in England.
I’d love it if we broke the bank on this lad, but I just can’t see it happening.
Timo Werner – RB Leipzig
Next on the unlikely list is the heir to Miroslav Klose, Leipzig’s rapid hitman himself. Although I can’t see the German outfit being in any rush to move him on, this rumour is one that I believe has some legs to it.
This is solely due to the fact that it’s been reported for a while now, and has been an ever-present rumour in the last two transfer windows.
Werner ended his Bundesliga campaign last year on 13 goals from 32 games and looks set to blitz that this season – already racking up an 11 goal league tally from only 17 appearances.
This form has put the German on everyone’s shortlist, and I mean everyone – there is reported interest from Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United.
This form has also lead to his club asking for a hefty £100million fee for the 22-year-old… but we seem to be leading the race, apparently – to avoid disappointment, take that with a pinch of salt.
Werner is an out and out striker. He has bags of potential, pace to burn and is a lethal finisher. Looking at him now, it’s clear to see that he is an improvement on our current back-up strikers (Sturridge, Origi and Solanke). The question we need to ask is, where would he fit in?
In our 4-3-3, it is unlikely that the German would start ahead of Bobby. Our Brazilian No.9 is not your conventional striker, he plays in the system as more of a ‘false 9’, scoring the odd goal but primarily being the catalyst for Mané and Mo to rip up the opposition.
In our 4-2-3-1, however, he could be a rather important asset in what has so far been a title challenging season for the Reds. Currently, the single striker role in this formation seems to be taken up primarily by Mo, with Shaq being brought in to play in the advanced midfield/wing role.
Shaqiri has been a revelation since joining (especially considering his meagre fee). However in theory, Liverpool could be a more dangerous outfit should Mo drop back down to the wing, with Werner taking up the striking role.
With this being said, Werner could also prove to an amazing player to be able to bring off the bench. However, whether he would be happy with that role is another question altogether.
Another factor that may attract Liverpool to secure his signature would be his eligibility on all fronts. Unlike Insigne, who is cup tied in the UCL due to his involvement with Napoli, Werner has represented Leipzig in the Europa League, thus making him available to take part in the rest of Klopp’s Champions League run should he sign.
Kai Havertz – Bayer Leverkusen
19-years-old, regular starter in the Bundesliga, fully fledged German international and a guy that seems to rip it up every time he steps on a pitch… yes please.
Havertz is an advanced midfielder whose creativity and ability on the ball is currently drawing comparisons with Mesut Ozil – not a half bad player in his own right.
Despite his short career so far, Havertz has made waves by breaking three records since graduating from Leverkusen’s academy – being his clubs youngest debutant, youngest goal-scorer and also being the youngest player in Bundesliga history to rack up 50 league appearances.
The young German has an eye for a pass and the ability to net a goal every now and again. He would also add some creativity to the Liverpool midfield, as doesn’t fit the mould of any other current Red midfielder – currently racking up 9 goals and 6 assists this season, stats which are only better by Salah.
Naturally, the young star is garnering much attention across Europe. However, one thing working in Liverpool’s favour is that he is no stranger to Melwood – having been invited to the training ground following interest from the Reds in 2017.
Havertz won’t be cheap, but he’d defiantly provide that spark the midfield seems to need. The purchase would therefore be a wise and justified one.
Jack Clarke – Leeds United
I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know much about this kid because quite frankly I don’t – you’re probably better off asking a Leeds fan as the young attacker has made eight appearances for Marcelo Bielsa this season as Leeds push for promotion to the Prem.
The 18-year-old starlet has played 239 minutes so far this season, both scoring and assisting once in his time on the pitch. He’s also reportedly signed a professional contract with Leeds until 2021 therefore he won’t come cheap. However, of late, money doesn’t seem to be an issue for the mighty Reds.
Should the young star join, it’s likely he would be used in the same vein as Dom Solanke or even be loaned out to get much needed experience.
Dominic Solanke – Rangers
As was mentioned in the first iteration of our rumour review, Solanke is yet to feature for the first team this season, but has impressed nonetheless at international level for the England U21’s.
The young Englishman is being touted for a loan move away from the club in order to get some game time and goals under his belt and, to be fair, Liverpool fans themselves have been calling for this.
Solanke already seems to be a special talent, with his hold up play and natural goalscoring ability getting Kopites excited for the future. He just need the game time to grow and develop what seems to be bags of raw potential.
In the last few weeks, the news surrounding Solanke’s potential loan has been heating up, with a move to Ibrox looking more and more likely, as Stevie G’s Rangers side seem to be leading the race for his signature.
The move seems to make sense for both parties as the striker need game time, and the Scottish outfit are lacking a clinical finisher this season.
Simon Mignolet – Southampton
It was made very clear by the Belgian in the Summer that he didn’t want to stay at Anfield. Five months later and with only one appearance to his name, it’s unlikely his stance has shifted.
His apparent suitors are Southampton, who seem to already be planning for the departure of current shot stopper Alex McCarthy, with Spurs reportedly circling for the English goalkeeper.
Mignolet’s move to Saint Mary’s would see Southampton sign their second Liverpool player of the season, having acquired Danny Ings on loan in the Summer.
The deal seems to make sense should McCarthy seek pastures new. However, the one thing that could prove difficult would be Liverpool’s lack of a senior recognised backup goalkeeper should the Belgian leave.
With this being said, Klopp is renowned for bringing through young talent, therefore it would not be out of character for the German to promote youngster Kamil Grabara to be Alisson’s backup. However, this could have Liverpool fans slightly concerned.
Currently, Liverpool sit atop the Premier League and in the last 16 of the UCL. So far, Alisson has been brilliant and with a bit of luck will remain 100% healthy for the rest of the campaign. Although Mignolet has very much lost the confidence of Kopites, I think it’s safe to say we would rather he step into the fray should it be required, than an untested youngster – just my opinion.
I think Mignolet leaving is quite a realistic possibility. However, I for one would feel more at ease if we signed another backup to fill the void he would leave, as opposed to promoting young Grabara just yet.