By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
We are now at the half-way point of our eight-part rumour review, and the first one of 2019. At this point in the season, we lead the Premier League by four points, despite falling to a first league defeat at the hands of defending champions Manchester City.
We are also challenging on the European front, with Bayern Munich to come in February in the UEFA Champions League last 16. Add this to the FA Cup schedule which begins in the New Year, and it all starts to look very hectic and jam-packed.
At the start of the season, no-one would have believed that Liverpool would have been in this position – but now that we are, experts and fans alike, are calling for some January reinforcements to ensure that the season ends with silverware in the Anfield trophy cabinet.
As in previous weeks, there are some popular names being continuously linked with the club – as has been the case so far, I will look to keep informed with how I believe the situation is unfolding.
This being said, the January transfer window is literally days away, which means that this week there have also been brand new links, both regarding incomings and outgoings at Anfield.
Nabil Fékir – Lyon
I thought I’d start this week with the most repetitive rumour of the lot – and the most confusing. This transfer is literally more “Will they? Wont they?” than Ross and Rachel (If you don’t get the reference seek help IMMEDIATELY).
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I need not go into this lads’ stats again because he’s still a good player with world class potential. What I do need to touch on however is this continuous and unclear rumour saga that has surrounded us and the Lyon captain.
It’s still very much up in the air regarding what caused the deal to fall through in the Summer – But that’s old news. What is new however, is the apparent link between Fékir, and Christian Pulisic’s recent transfer to Chelsea.
According to multiple sources, Pulisic to Liverpool was a done deal, however, apparently in the last minute the Reds pulled the plug, allowing the American to sign elsewhere. It is now being reported that the reason Liverpool didn’t complete the transfer was due to Fékir becoming available for purchase again.
We will never know if this is in fact the case, however, it does make sense and has reignited the Fékir to Liverpool rumour.
Adrien Rabiot – PSG
Although also a repetitive transfer, I feel there is significantly less to see about this link than there is for Fekir.
Rabiot was featured in our first rumour review, and although not heavily linked throughout these last few weeks, there has been the odd snippet of news which continues to link the Parisian midfielder to Anfield – With this being said I’m still unchanged in my opinion that this is highly unlikely, and now even more so.
My praise for the player remains, but my previous points of it making no sense for PSG to allow a seemingly important regular starting XI player to leave on a free has now changed – reports have come out of the Parisian side which state that the player is refusing to sign a deal and will definitely leave the club on a free in the Summer.
With this being said, I still highly doubt that the French international will be joining us – despite him being continue to be linked with us and with a host of Premier League clubs including Manchester City.
As mentioned above, I never really saw this happening in the first place anyways, but now, Barcelona has reportedly stated their interest in the player meaning that there is even less chance of this happening – in fact there’s pretty much no chance of it happening, the player himself seems to have his heart set on the Nou Camp.
Isco – Real Madrid
Here’s one we’ve all heard before, but it’s the Spaniards first inclusion on this rumour series. Isco’s pedigree is unquestionable, with the midfielder being widely considered as one of the best players in the world. With this being said, he has fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu, starting in only five of Real Madrid’s La Liga games this season.
The lack of involvement for the playmaker this season could prove beneficial to Liverpool as they may be able to get him cheaper than what was originally thought.
Real Madrid are supposedly asking for a fee in the region of €70million for the former Malaga man’s services – money which I think is worth it, considering the player netted 20 and assisted 20 in his previous two campaign with Los Blancos.
I think it’s a fair fee considering the players undoubted talent and because of what he would bring to this Liverpool team – creativity and flair from the midfield – AKA the Coutinho role. With this being said, Liverpool of late seem to be managing just fine, with players like Gini Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri impressing with the dominating performances.
Ultimately due to the commanding fee, the likelihood of the transfer actually happening comes down to one question – Would Klopp start him? And at the moment I’m not sure he would.
I’d love to sign the player, if it was up to me this would be done already, throw the bank at him for all I care. However, it’s unlikely FSG are going to give Kloppo £70million for a bench/impact player.
Kasper Dolberg – Ajax
This rumour was born in the same way that Pascal Gross’s was, Jürgen Klopp praised the player a few months back and now, his praises for the youngster are being used as fuel for a supposed move to Anfield – But let’s pretend there is some meat to this barebones rumour.
Dolberg is a 21-year-old striker, and a graduate from Ajax’s academy – one of the most famed set-ups for nurturing the stars of tomorrow. The Danish attacker burst onto the scene during the 16/17 season, scoring sixteen goals in 29 games in the Eredivise.
Last season the striker admittedly struggled only mustering six goal in 23, however, this season he’s seemed to find his form again – racking up seven goals and three assists in 11 league games for the Amsterdam outfit.
The Dane stands at 6”1 which in theory, sees him physically perfectly suited to the Premier League. Furthermore, like the old football cliché states, ‘he’s got good feet for a big lad’, and that he does. Dolberg is not simply a target man, but he can play in that role.
Although nowhere near the quality of Roberto Firmino, the Ajax youngster shows glimpses of what the Brazilian currently does for Liverpool – not so much the flicks and tricks, but in his link up play with the rest of the front line.
The signing of Dolberg wouldn’t be cheap, as he is held in very high regard in the Dutch capital, but it would be worth it in my opinion, as a signing for the future. His development so far has been brilliant, and the young lad looks like set to continue his progress, therefore should he sign in January, it would make sense for him to be loaned out straight away – possibly back to Ajax.
In my opinion this would be a great signing and a smart one, however, the rumours linking him to the club are far from concrete. Due to this, I don’t think that it’s going to happen, however, given Klopp’s praise of the player it’s not out of the question for the German to try and pounce for the front man.
Eder Militao – FC Porto
First things first. I don’t watch any Portuguese football so my knowledge of this Brazilian centre-back is minimal at best.
What I do know however is that he has risen to prominence quite rapidly, only signing for Porto in the Summer from Sao Paolo. Since then he has gone on to earn an international cap for Brazil and is now being touted for a move away from the Estadio do Dragao, with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea and ourselves all interested.
The player himself seems solid, quick, powerful and full of potential. He’s hardly the finished article but from what I’ve seen I would quite happily see him line-up next to big Virgil at the back.
The links between us and the player have only just started, so at this moment it does not seem as if there is any genuine interest there. All I’m saying for now is to watch this space, as if the interest is genuine then the signing could be completed rather soon.
Adam Lallana – Fenerbahce
This is a weird one, not so much due to the player seeking out pastures new, but more so the deal that is being reported.
There is no secret than when fit and firing on all cylinders Adam Lallana is a quality player, more so, he’s very much a favourite of Jürgen Klopp, being a consistent starter for the German in his first couple of seasons at Anfield.
Unfortunately for the Englishmen, his last two seasons have been very much injury-hit and he’s struggled for time on the pitch. Finally getting back to full fitness, Lallana is beginning to make appearances off the bench for the Reds, but there are doubts surrounding his ability to reclaim his starting spot – this has of course caused speculation regarding his future with the Merseyside club.
The latest rumour linking the playmaker with a move away links him to Turkey, with Fenerbahce apparently keen to take the 30 year-old on loan until the end of the season. The Turkish giants are having a shocking season and currently sit second from bottom with only three wins out of 17 league games. The move seems to make sense for all concerned:
– Fener will get themselves an attacking playmaker with good international and European pedigree.
– Lallana will get some much needed game time as he fights for match fitness.
– Liverpool will be able to rehabilitate their midfield player on a more regular basis, as it is assumed he will get more game-time in Turkey than for the Reds.
Everything seems to make sense regarding the transfer, however, some of the details coming out of Turkey suggest that the move will be more complicated than initially expected.
Fenerbahce currently have two players on loan (Islam Slimani and Yassine Benzia), meaning that due to UEFA regulations (clubs may not register more than two players on loan at any one time), the Turkish club won’t be able to sign Lallana unless either Benzia or Slimani are sent back to their parent clubs.
At this moment in time it is believed that Fener are trying to terminate the loan of Benzia, with the Turkish club now thought to be in talks with his parent club Lille over potential compensation for the early return.
Should Benzia be allowed to return to France, then the possibility of this transfer coming to fruition will be a lot more likely than in its current state.
Rafael Camacho – Sporting Lisbon
Rafa Camacho had a very impressive pre-season with the Reds squad leading to high praise from Jürgen Klopp since then. Unfortunately for the youngster, that’s the only bit of on-field involvement he has had with the senior squad all season.
He has no doubt impressed both the management and the fans, and is now being linked with a loan move back to his native Portugal, with Sporting Lisbon being the destination of choice.
The loan deal does make sense as the player will receive some much-needed game time, and the Portuguese outfit will receive a young exciting talent who is eager to show off his ability and prove himself in senior competition.
With this being said, there is a rumour floating around that the loan move will see Sporting have the option to buy the youngster for around £13.5million in the Summer. This. Does. Not. Make. Sense.
Camacho is a wonderfully talented youngster who has already impressed at Liverpool. By all means, I agree the youngster needs game time and a loan would give him that, but selling him would be a big mistake.
Fortunately, a recent report from GOAL states that there is no mention of a permanent move in the loan agreement, and that Liverpool are looking to tie down the youngster with a long-term contract before he travels out to Portugal – GOOD IDEA.
Regardless of what happens in Summer, right now a loan move makes sense for all involved, and hopefully we will see Camacho back in a Liverpool shirt soon, and with senior experience to call upon.
It could, however, be complicated by the recent departure of Nathaniel Clyne to Bournemouth on loan.