Despite a promising start to his career on Merseyside at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, it is only becoming more and more clear that Adrián is just not good enough.
When Liverpool signed the out-of-contract Spaniard, the expectation was that he would play very few games, and that they would likely be of little importance in the big picture – deputising in the Carabao Cup at very most.
But Alisson’s worrying trend of injuries has afforded Adrián far more time on the pitch in the Premier League than anticipated. All it has done is highlight the importance of having a capable deputy to your first-choice goalkeeper, and sadly the former West Ham man just isn’t up to the job.
As superb as our main man Alisson is, he has had a few too many injury layoffs for comfort. It’s important that these unfortunate occurrences don’t derail Liverpool’s chances of winning trophies, and so a more able deputy is required to come in and step up to the plate when required.
The transfer deadline came and went, meaning that Adrián – along with youngster Caoimhín Kelleher – will remain as deputy for now, standing in for Alisson while he recovers from his current shoulder injury and whenever needed between now and the next transfer window.
There is every chance that this may be the case until the end of the season, when the Spaniard’s contract at Anfield expires. In either case, Liverpool will no doubt already be on the hunt for their next backup shot-stopper.
Liverpool coach John Achterberg told The Kopite last summer that he has “about 5,000 reports on goalkeepers”, while the Reds’ transfer business over the last few years has been meticulously planned rather than rushed. With that in mind, it’s highly likely that the powers-that-be have already finalised a shortlist of targets for next summer.
But who could be on that list? Let’s take a look at a dream option, a realistic target and a potential wildcard.
Dream – André OnanaEmbed from Getty Images
If you were to put together a list of the goalkeepers who will be next to earn a move to a huge, elite European club, Onana would probably be at the top of the list. In truth, I thought he would be Chelsea’s top target as a Kepa replacement, but Edouard Mendy was the man to make the move to Stamford Bridge.
When I mention a huge, elite club, I mean that with no disrespect whatsoever towards Ajax. They’re a behemoth of European football, with a glorious history and a football ethic to adore.
But in reality, a club which plays in the Eredivisie can never really compete with the Premier League or La Liga when it comes to players wanting to fulfil their ambition at the pinnacle of the game. Ajax showed what they can do when they came within seconds of the Champions League final 18 months ago, but since then they have lost Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech, among others, and don’t look as strong as they did then.
A player like Onana, whose stock is higher than ever, will recognise that. If he is to get the most out of his career, then he will need to play somewhere where he has an opportunity of domestic glory in a major league, as well as a realistic chance of further silverware in Europe.
As a club which has won both trophies in the last two years, Liverpool is a good option for the Cameroonian. No doubt he would play second fiddle to Alisson to begin with, but there’s every chance Onana could push for a regular starting spot in the future. The idea of this could appease a player who would certainly have doubts about being No.2 to anyone.
The financial side of the deal could be the major sticking point, with Liverpool likely to be reluctant to splash the kind of cash Ajax would want on a player who wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter.
But if the stars aligned, having Alisson Becker and André Onana as goalkeeper choices, would turn a long-term problem position into one of the Reds’ strongest areas.
Realistic – Paulo GazzanigaEmbed from Getty Images
There were rumours that the Argentine could make a Deadline Day move to Anfield after he declared his desire to leave Tottenham for a new challenge, but a transfer never materialised and the rumour was proven to be nothing more than that.
According to The Express, Gazzaniga was offered to Liverpool on Deadline Day, but the Reds chose not to pursue a deal. But, again, that’s according to The Express, so I leave it to you to decide the veracity of that particular rumour.
But a move for the 28-year-old isn’t really so far-fetched. He’s now third in the pecking order at Tottenham, behind first choice Hugo Lloris and recent arrival Joe Hart, who has replaced Gazzaniga as the Lilywhites’ cup ‘keeper under José Mourinho. He wouldn’t be top dog at Anfield, but he would see more action.
Ability wise, he’s a big step up from Adrián. While Spurs endured a tough season in 2019/20, the Argentine was a shining light during the campaign when he stepped in after Lloris’ long-term injury which saw the Frenchman miss several months of action.
Spurs would likely sell cheap, and Liverpool would get a very able deputy to Alisson. Don’t discount the viability of this deal, even if it didn’t happen in this window.
Wildcard – Sergio RomeroEmbed from Getty Images
Yep, he’s a Manchester United player. Some Liverpool fans won’t be able to get past that, and that’s fine. That’s understandable.
But while no United player has made the switch to Anfield since Phil Chisnall’s £25,000 move in 1964, Romero making the move to Merseyside could be an ideal outcome for all parties.
With David de Gea and Dean Henderson on the books, United don’t need him. And it’s no secret that the player is unhappy with his current situation. His wife seems pretty annoyed about it too.
The way he’s feeling, he would have no problem in joining Liverpool, even as a deputy to Alisson. He would see more action, and would feel much more appreciated by an employer who would value him more than where he currently works.
The only thing that could possibly get in the way is United’s clear spite. They wouldn’t allow the Argentine to join Everton on Deadline Day, and they’d likely do their best to block any potential move to the Red part of Merseyside too. But his contract expires next summer, so there isn’t much they could do if Romero decided to travel west along the M62.
Again, if you’re against a United player moving to Liverpool, that’s entirely understandable. But if you’re able to get past that, then you might agree that it could be a shrewd move.
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