Liverpool Transfer Targets
Wednesday 7 June 09:53 Tweet
Jurgen Klopp's aim at the start of the season was to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League, that was sealed on the last day of the season with a victory over Middlesbrough. However, in January they were closing down Chelsea for the league title but dropped off after a horrendous run of form. We look at Liverpool's transfer targets in their aim to push on in the Premier League and Champions League under Klopp.
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool have been locked in a battle with Manchester City for several weeks to sign Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk it looked like they had won the race to sign the defender until recent developments between the club and Southampton. According to reports, the Dutch defender and his representatives were impressed by Klopp's enthusiasm to sign the defender and in Liverpool's project, with Klopp making van Dijk his main transfer target this summer.
Southampton wants at least £50 million for the 25-year-old, an incredible amount of money but considering his performances for the Saints for the last past two seasons, it indicates he may be worth it. He was voted as Southampton's Player of the Year in 2015/16 in an excellent season where they finished 6th in the league under Ronald Koeman but his 2016/17 campaign was ravaged by injuries as he made just 21 league starts, missing the last four months of the season.
Liverpool can spend big after qualification for next season's Champions League but are still have to reach an agreement with Southampton. Liverpool has dealt with the Saints for the last three summers taking Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane from the South Coast club but things have turned sour between the two clubs. Southampton have reported Liverpool to the Premier League for tapping up Virgil van Dijk over an alleged illegal approach. According to BBC Sport, Liverpool are yet to formally approach Saints to ask for permission to speak to the Southampton defender but it seems that Jurgen Klopp has had conversations with Virgil van Dijk.
Centre-back has been a problem position for Liverpool, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are a decent pairing when fit for Liverpool but signing van Dijk would be a huge upgrade. Virgil van Dijk is quick, strong, incredible in aerial duels and is excellent with the ball at his feet if Liverpool can pull this signing off, it will be a masterstroke from Jurgen Klopp.
Probable Transfer Fee: £50-60M
RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita is another priority for Jurgen Klopp as they look to provide some steel to their midfield ahead of a grueling Premier League and Champions League campaign. The 22-year-old played an integral role in Leipzig's surprise challenge for the German title, with the club finishing in second place behind Bayern Munich.
Keita made 31 league appearances for RB Leipzig in 2016/17, netting an impressive eight goals while adding seven assists from his position in central midfield. The Guinea international joined from RB Leipzig\s sister club RB Salzburg, in his final season for the club he scored 12 goals and provided eight assists in 29 league games. While his goal and assist tallies have been impressive in the last two seasons, it's Keita's all-action midfield performances which have caught the eye.
Naby Keita has imposed himself on the RB Leipzig midfield to make himself almost irreplaceable and his stats back this up, averaging 2.6 tackles per game, 2.7 dribbles per game and 2.6 interceptions per game and an 81.8% pass completion; add that to his goals and assists and you've got yourself an all-action midfielder which Liverpool desperately need.
It won't be plain sailing for Liverpool to sign Keita, though. RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hassenhuttl and director of football Ralf Rangnick are both adamant the midfielder will stay with Leipzig, stating they are a super exciting club, they've invested big in the midfielder and are keen to keep the core of their squad together ahead of the new campaign. If Liverpool can secure the signing of Naby Keita, they'll be able to challenge for honours next season.
Probable Transfer Fee: £35-40M
According to most bookmakers odds, Mohamed Salah to Liverpool seems to be a done deal. Liverpool look set to make the Egyptian winger their first major transfer of the summer for around £35m. Premier League fans will remember him for his brief stint at Chelsea, although he didn't get much game time under Jose Mourinho for the Blues. He's impressed in Serie A, firstly at Fiorentina on loan where he netted nine goals in 26 apps in 2014/15 which brought interest from Roma in 2015/16. Roma bought Salah from Chelsea after a one-year loan spell for £15m.
Salah has influenced Roma since his loan move and signing on a permanent basis, he was voted as the Player of the Year in his first season and impressed in 2016/17, with ex-manager Luciano Spaletti stating Salah was 'irreplaceable' to the squad. The 24-year-old has had a superb season, netting 19 in all comps, of which 15 were league goals while he added 11 assists to Roma's cause as they finished 2nd in Serie A.
Liverpool struggled when Sadio Mane went to the Africa Cup of Nations and when missing through injury for the last two months of the season. Liverpool have looked much more effective with Sadio Mane in the side, winning 19 of their 28 games, losing just three but winning just eight of 19 without him, losing six. Adding another pacy creative winger to their attack alongside Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino will affect Liverpool's ability on the counter-attack. Salah's output has greatly improved in terms of assists and goals in Serie A but he'll be needed to step up to the biggest stage in the Champions League and Premier League if his move goes ahead.
Adding another pacy creative winger to their attack alongside Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino will affect Liverpool's ability on the counter-attack. Salah's output has greatly improved in terms of assists and goals in Serie A but he'll be needed to step up to the biggest stage in the Champions League and Premier League if his move goes ahead. If Liverpool can bring in Salah for £35m, he'll add another dimension to an already exciting attack.
Probable Transfer Fee: £35-40M
Alexandre Lacazette to Liverpool is a bit of a longshot but he's admitted that a move to the Premier League would be of interest to the Frenchman. Liverpool are in need of a striker that can score at least 20 league goals, a player they've missed since the 2013/14 season when Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge each scored 20+ goals as they went close to the Premier League title.
There would be no need to sign another striker if they could keep Daniel Sturridge fit but that hasn't been the case since Jurgen Klopp was appointed as Liverpool manager in October 2015. Klopp doesn't trust the England international which is why Roberto Firmino has played mostly as the number 9 while Divock Origi has started just 14 league games for the Reds, with 20 appearances coming off the bench.
Lacazette netted an incredible 37 goals in 45 apps in all comps for Lyon last season, 28 of which came in Ligue 1. The 26-year-old is Mr. Reliable for Lyon in Ligue 1 in terms of goalscoring, netting 100 goals in 203 Ligue 1 games. This move may be more feasible now that Atletico Madrid have a transfer ban until January 2018, it's been reported that Lacazette is still keen on a move to the La Liga side but hasn't ruled out a move to the Premier League.
Is the Champions League a dealbreaker for my choice? No, but it is important. In making my choice, I will look at my position, if there are not too many players, so I won't be benched and I will be able to play. The Premier League is interesting. That does not mean I will go, and that does not mean I will refuse to go.
His quotes have perked the interest of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United with £50m expected to be the fee that Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas will find acceptable, he stated back in February that the club won't stand in the way if a player wants to leave and the offer is acceptable. Lyon will be without Champions League football next season, Lacazette will want to play at the highest level if he is to gain a place in France's 2018 World Cup squad. If Liverpool can persuade Lacazette to join the club, it will be one of the signings of the summer.
Probable Transfer Fee: £50-60M
Note: Odds are subject to change