Where, and to whom, do Liverpool turn next after Loic Remy’s move to Anfield fell through at the last hurdle? Danny Gallagher discusses.
Loic Remy’s move to Liverpool, we were lead to believe, was a nailed on certainty.
Many journalists, pundits and fans alike had accepted the Frenchman as a Liverpool player and were already cycling through the thought processes of where the 27-year-old would fit in to Brendan Rodgers’ squad.
A trip to Boston, agreed personal terms and an accepted transfer fee later, the move was to fall through.
With the plug pulled and Liverpool officials yet to explain exactly why, it remains widespread speculation that a minor heart complaint stood as the stumbling block between the Frenchman realising his Anfield ambition.
Alas, the preseason preparation waits for no man, and, as the age old cliché goes, there’s no point crying over spilt milk. Where Brendan Rodgers and co turn their attention to now however is a large and interesting point of discussion.
It is beyond apparent that more striking reinforcements are needed at Anfield, with Daniel Sturridge now seen as the pivotal figure in filling the quite formidable boots left by the departed Luis Suárez.
Is it hopeful that in the coming days the signing of promising young Belgian Divock Origi will be announced to the world.
Yet, despite flashes of brilliance in the recent World Cup, Origi is very much a work-in-progress and thus should see next season with his current club Lille, as a loanee from the Reds.
Here therefore, are just some players of which Rodgers and his scouting networking may divert their eyes back towards in order to keep the goals flowing at Anfield.
The Swansea hitman has been linked with the Reds quite aggressively during this window, with figures of £20 million being bandied around at will.
After an impressive 2013/14 season notching 16 goals and creating 25 chances, the big Ivorian appears to have successfully used Swansea as a much needed spring-board towards a European-competing club.
Nevertheless, the Swans’ board and boss Garry Monk are said to be resolute in not parting with their prized asset, thus leaning the conclusion of any possible transfer to arrive as a result of an unthinkable Andy Carroll-esque bid.
No sooner have Southampton shut up shop than to find their loyal customer Liverpool FC banging on the window once more.
Surely not another pillaging of the Saints, many ask. It’s an outside shot, but many media sources have been covering alleged interest from the Reds regarding the 24 year old, who, until sustaining a season-ending rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, featured heavily in the Saints’ fine Premier League form.
As per Squawka, Rodriguez’s 2013/14 statistics came in remarkably similar to that of Wilfried Bony, the Englishman scoring only one goal less than the Swansea forward, with total shot accuracy of 43% as opposed to the 44% of Bony.
Rodriguez could be a sound option for Brendan Rodgers, containing all the necessary experience and credentials to cut it in the Premier League. Whether Southampton would will be willing to let another one of their key personnel walk through the doors however is another question entirely. Should this transfer materialise, the opening fixture of the Premier League campaign will certainly be a nostalgic affair for Ronald Koeman’s men.
Another striker falling in the bracket of 15 goals scored during the previous season, Olympique Lyonnais forward Lacazette stands at a similar stature to Loic Remy, boasting pace, power and deft finishing as traits within his arsenal.
The compatibility between the two French strikers is such that it is reported that Newcastle United were sounding out Lacazette as a direct replacement for the departing Remy. Should Rodgers decide to pursue the 23 year old however, not much change should be expected to be received from £20million, with Lyon standing firm on their stance of retaining the in-form striker as a vital component in their planned rise back to the summit of domestic French football.
Perhaps one of the boldest of considerations, Lukaku was tentatively linked with Liverpool via the close connection and working friendship of Brendan Rodgers and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. It comes as a shock to many that ‘the chosen one’ quite openly appears not to rate Belgian powerhouse Lukaku, despite an abundance of statistics suggesting his right to the accolade of number one striker at Stamford Bridge.
With the recent acquisition of Diego Costa and the temporary return of Didier Drogba, it appears the door is being shut in the face of 21 year old Lukaku. A move to Anfield would surely work wonders for both the player and the Reds, yet such a transaction would undoubtedly be steeped in a battle of loyalties – Chelsea on one side of the table with Everton glaring scornfully across on the other.
Lukaku’s time spent on Merseyside with the Toffees saw a return of 15 goals and a total of 32 chances created. Likewise the shot accuracy of the Belgian, standing at 63%, considerably eclipses that of fellow Premier League options Jay Rodriguez and Wilfried Bony.
Lukaku may well be the desired choice of many if only for the fact that at 21 years old, time is aplenty for the youngster to blossom into one of the most prolific and consistent strikers in European football. Daniel Sturridge’s move from Southwest London to Anfield set the precedent that transfers could occur between the two clubs.
Nevertheless, after witnessing the rise that can occur when strikers are afforded the time and effort invested into them at Anfield, perhaps the Chelsea hierarchy will think twice before risking getting their fingers burnt once more.
A final and somewhat divergent addition to the list is our very own Fabio Borini.
Rumoured to be the subject of a seemingly generous £14 million bid from Sunderland, the young Italian appeared to not only be vacating a position in the Liverpool strike-force for Loic Remy, but additionally directly bankrolling the transfer via his own move simultaneously.
Word on the Borini front however has since hushed, with the Italian’s eagerness to travel to the USA as part of the Red’s tour perceived as a snub to the Wearside club in favour of staking a claim for a full-time Liverpool jersey.
Black Cats’ fans certainly had much to revere Borini for following the 2013/2014 season, with the striker registering 7 goals and 26 chance creations in a campaign that saw Gus Poyet’s men claw themselves back from what, at one point, looked like imminent relegation.
A rejuvenated Borini’s stay at Liverpool may just be the trump card that Brendan Rodgers never really knew he had. The Italian proved efficiently enough during the previous campaign his adequacy to compete in the Premier League, thus indicating that the Reds could potentially spend the money elsewhere, perhaps on the much speculated full-back positions.
As recently stated – and the recipient of much debate in my previous article – I projected that fans should not be expecting the ‘big’ names to be arriving at Anfield this summer. The Remy scenario, if anything, indicates that this is the case.
The offering of the iconic number 7 shirt to Remy, as was reported by the Telegraph and various other sources such as BBC Football, bodes indicative of the idea that no other marquee names, considered of a higher standing, will be passing through the doors of Anfield to inherit the relinquished shirt of Luis Suárez.
Rodgers and FSG clearly have a meticulously calculated battle-plan for the coming season; the refusal to take up the option of Remy after slight medical issues, even for such a lowly transfer fee, strongly highlights this.
Patience now needs to be kept as we manoeuvre the market once more. Strap yourself in for the ride, it’s going to be an eventful one.