By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
So, here we are.
The final review until Summer. I know how much these articles have brightened all your days. The endless laughs, the factual knowledge, the sarcasm… we have had a good time this window haven’t we. It has been fun.
When the window opened on January 1st, many of us thought we’d either sign Nabil Fekir or Christian Pulisic… needless to say that didn’t happen.
Throughout these last few weeks I have sifted through endless articles reading into and investigating some rumours revolving LFC transfers. I have also had the pleasure of having to sit through some absolute trashy articles to find some quite shocking links also.
In this final January Transfer Window edition, I will take you guys on a journey of some of the best bulls**t rumours of the window, and I’ll give my opinion on the deals that we completed.
Dominic Solanke – Bournemouth (£19m)
Don’t know about the rest of you but I for one would have loved to see lil’ Dom become a success at Anfield.
In my opinion, he had all the attributes to become a great striker in the Premier League and he offered us something different in the form of a striker. Unfortunately for Solanke, he had the likes of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi to compete with, therefore, his game time was always going to be numbered.
When the deal went through, Klopp himself said that the moment was never right for the young Englishmen at Anfield, and on the odd occasion when he could have stepped in, he was hampered by injury.
Regarding the transfer itself, the fee was pretty much impossible to turn down. £19million for a player who hasn’t seen a minute of competitive football all season is pretty much a steal for Liverpool.
With this being said, Bournemouth have just signed one of English footballs hottest prospects, and should Solanke reach the potential we all think he’s capable of, then the Cherries could see a mighty return on their investment.
In terms of the player, it was a no-brainer to switch Anfield for the Vitality. At Bournemouth he gets more game time (in theory), links up with a young English manager and young hungry players, and he gets a chance to prove himself in the Premier League – which is the whole reason why he joined Liverpool from Chelsea in the first place.
I for one would have rather he joined Bournemouth on loan as opposed to permanently, but I can’t argue against his decision and I wish him the best of luck – just don’t score against us please.
Nathaniel Clyne – Bournemouth (Loan)
Clouded in controversy thanks to Neil Warnock’s little outburst. Clyne moving to Bournemouth on loan came as a bit of a shock to everyone.
It is no secret that the former England International was unhappy playing second (at times third) fiddle at right-back behind Trent Alexander-Arnold (and even Joe Gomez from time to time). What is surprising is that a deal involving Clyne went through in January as opposed to the end of the season.
For the player, this move makes complete sense. He didn’t stand a chance of regaining his starting spot from Trent and he wanted game-time. Cardiff City were in for him and that seemed to be going through, last minute Bournemouth come in (and they will almost certainly be in the Premier League next season) so he went there.
The European Championships are around the corner and obviously Clyne would love to be a part of that for England. He certainly won’t get into the squad sat on Liverpool’s bench, so you can imagine that the move is solely to try and force himself back into the national setup.
In my opinion though, it doesn’t make sense from a Liverpool point of view. The Reds are flying high five points clear at the top of the Premier League and have a realistic chance of actually winning it. When Clyne’s transfer went through, Jürgen Klopp was in the middle of somewhat of an injury crisis, having Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren on the injury table.
Flashforward a few weeks and although Matip and Lovren are now clear, both Trent and Gomez are unfit to play which has seen Liverpool play their last two league games with both James Milner and Jordan Henderson at right-back.
In these situations, Clyne could have come into the first team seemingly without a problem and possibly even impressed enough to regain his place. The decision to allow him to leave was met with confusion and fear amongst Liverpool fans, and it still is now – I think we’re all hoping that both Trent and Gomez get back quickly so this decision stops haunting us.
Pedro Chirivella – Extremadura UD (Loan)
Some of you will know who this kid is, but assuming many of you don’t.
The story of the 21-year-old Spaniard is a strange one. Signed in 2013 from Valencia, the youngster has only made on senior competitive appearance for the Reds and that was back in 2016.
Chirivella is a midfielder with good potential and is held in very high regard around the Liverpool youth setup. This season, he has racked up the most appearance in the U23’s and now heads off on his third loan since coming to Anfield.
His previous loan spells have seen him head to the Eredivise twice, with Go ahead Eagles in 2017, and with Willem II for the following 17/18 campaign.
The young Spaniard is now reaching the age where regular first team football is a must for his development, therefore a loan to the Spanish second tier seems to be perfect for him at the moment. As with Solanke, I would love to see him succeed at Liverpool, but as of yet I haven’t seen enough of him to warrant a first team chance.
I think it’s got to the point that Chirivella needs to seek out pastures new if he wants to have a worthwhile career at senior level. Therefore, a high performing second half of the season with Extremadura may see him impress enough to warrant a permanent move in the summer.
Lazar Markovic – Fulham (Free)
After picking up roughly £19.8million in wages since his last senior competitive appearance for Liverpool, Lazar Markovic – the Serbian ‘wonderkid’ – has moved on.
How desperate do Fulham need to be to call upon the Serbian. I’m not saying this because of Markovic’s ability, I’m saying this due to the fact that he hasn’t featured in the Premier League since a loan move to Hull in 2017 that ended in relegation – he’s kind of short on practice.
Now to be fair to the kid (he’s older than me but we’ll scoot over that) he joined Liverpool surrounded by loads of hype and was played kind of out of position by the character driven manager that was Brendan Rodgers – therefore there is no surprise to me, that he didn’t hit the heights expected of him.
If we can cast our minds back to his loan spell with Hull, we have to admit that he did do okay to be honest. Marco Silva played him in the correct position and it almost worked, he played 12 times and scored twice – hardly amazing numbers but not the worst I’ve seen.
Since then he’s kind of been the forgotten man on Merseyside, being completely frozen out of the first team and sent on loan to Anderlecht last January. This is where it gets tricky because according to multiple sources, the Serbian had a chance to make his loan to Anderlecht permanent but elected not to, instead picking up a hefty pay cheque at Liverpool.
Fulham currently sit in 19th place and six points from safety. It is no surprise that they are scrambling to find a way to stave off relegation, and again, if we’re being honest, a free Lazar Markovic does seem like a risk worth taking, especially when your side is in need of creativity.
For all we know Markovic could absolutely explode at Craven Cottage and finally come good on his apparent bags of potential.
Divock Origi – Everyone, apparently
No exaggeration, but I feel like I had to debunk Origi’s potential departure every week.
He was being linked with a move everywhere, from Turkey to the Premier League – it got to the point where if a team needed a striker then Divock was linked. Case and point, Harry Kane gets crocked and the next hour Spurs are linked with a loan move for our Belgian hero.
If you’ve read the other editions of these highly popular and world-class rumour reviews, then you will know that I completely ridiculed the idea of Origi leaving in this window – I for one am so relieved that I was proved right – I would have looked like such a twat if he left.
Realistically though, it was never going to happen was it. In his first season, Origi was one of Klopp’s favourites, and unfortunately for the Belgian he’s picked up a few injuries in the last two years. Now that he’s fit again, many (myself included) see him as our first back-up striker ahead of Sturridge.
The 23-year-old is still very young considering how long he’s been at Anfield, and the fact that it’s unlikely that Sturridge will get a contract extension in the Summer means that Liverpool will not need to buy a replacement striker due to the fact that they’ve got the Belgian.
Origi still has amazing potential and seems happy enough at the moment to wait for his opportunity – He scored the winner in the Derby therefore he needs a five-year extension right now. All jokes aside, I think it was a good bit of business by the club keeping hold of him and I still think he has a part to play this season.
Kostas Manolas, James Tarkowski and Kalidou Koulibably – CB’s, CB’s, CB’s!!
These are what I call circumstantial rumours – no substance about them, but they made sense.
Prior to December, we weren’t getting linked with any defenders. Then, all of a sudden, we go through somewhat of an injury crisis which sees four of our senior defenders injured and BOOM – we start to get linked with every defender on the planet.
With Manolas, it seemed as if the train of thought for those creating the rumour was: “they signed Salah and then they signed Alisson… hmmm Manolas is definitely next”. Rumour has it, Roma is the new Southampton… madness and completely unfounded.
In the case of Koulibaly, he has been being linked with a move away from Napoli for a few seasons now, and it’s widely expected that he will leave in the Summer. Due to the contentious nature and speculation surrounding his future, a link to Liverpool made sense, especially when you consider both the injury crisis and the fan calling for the Senegalese defender.
Unfortunately for Reds fans, the rumour again had no substance about it, and no official contact from Liverpool was ever made.
Now we come to Tarkowski. This one is probably the weirdest one due to the fact that reports suggested the supposed deal was a loan until the end of the season.
Apart from Tarkowski being Burnley’s best defender (meaning a loan was never going to happen), the Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, publicly reacted to the links citing them as “strange”.
A loan move for the English defender would have been perfect for Liverpool, but given his importance in Burnley’s relegation battle, it was clear (at least to me) that it would have taken a massive fee in order for the move to have even the slightest chance of completion.