Liverpool are preparing for life after Luis Suarez after initial talks with Barcelona were described as “productive” – the question now becoming whether or not Alexis Sanchez will move in the opposite direction.
A Liverpool ‘source’ is quoted exactly the same by BBC, the broadsheets and The Liverpool Echo commenting on Wednesday’s talks: “There are sensible expectations on both sides. Further talks and discussions will take place but no deal has yet been finalised.”
In other words, we’ve agreed the deal, but Liverpool don’t want that to be known yet as it isn’t good PR and don’t want other clubs to know they have a rather large lump of cash to spend.
The sticking point is that Liverpool want Alexis Sanchez as part of the deal. Whether Sanchez is open to a move differs depending on whether you read a report written by a London based journalist.
The London journos, with links to Arsenal, are claiming Sanchez prefers a move to the capital. Merseyside reporters say that Liverpool certainly haven’t been informed as such.
Regardless, Liverpool want Sanchez, they scouted him heavily last season, and were in Chile before the World Cup to watch him and talk with his representatives (Sanchez assisted two in a friendly against Egypt).
It’s clear to see why Liverpool want the 25-year-old. Tactically, he’s about as good a replacement as Brendan Rodgers is likely to get.
Sanchez is predominantly a right-sided attacker and mostly used on the right of a front three at Barcelona. Using him there for Liverpool would be perfect, allowing Rodgers to return to his ideal 4-3-3 formation and playing Daniel Sturridge central.
Last season Rodgers sought a way to keep both Sturridge and Suarez in central roles, with neither really enjoying or playing at their best from one of the wide forward roles. With Sanchez this wouldn’t be an issue.
However, Sanchez is also capable of playing more centrally and has lined up alongside Eduardo Vargas for Chile at the World Cup. Meaning that Sanchez could do similarly for Liverpool alongside Sturridge if/when Rodgers prefers to use the midfield diamond should that proved so effective towards the end of last season.
Sanchez suits both of Rodgers’ preferred formations perfectly.
Sanchez is also a player, who at age 25, is approaching his prime years. He’s not been the main man at Barcelona so perhaps he will thrive even more at a club like Liverpool with a system that is built to get the best from him.
Furthermore, Sanchez’s strengths include his ability to press opponents, another important attribute for Liverpool and Rodgers. He can score from distance, spot a pass, and interchange with teammates in the final third.
19 goals and 10 assists in 34 games for Barcelona last season is certainly impressive.
Sanchez would suit Liverpool’s style of play, can operate in both Rodgers’ preferred systems and is a player entering his prime. It’s crucial that Liverpool seek to sign him as part of the Suarez deal.