Here we are and the day we all didn’t want to happen as Reds has come and gone: Philippe Coutinho is no longer a Liverpool player.
Now the question we are all asking is who can replace him? And at what cost in today’s ridiculous transfer market?
Thomas Lemar, Riyad Mahrez, reborn Adam Lallana and pretty much any player who has an inclination of leaving this window have all been mooted in the past few days in the press and on various fan forums.
But for me the real shining light and leading transfer target not even in January but in the summer has to be Lyon’s No. 18 and captain, Nabil Fekir.
A product of the famed Lyon academy he is a player I feel is ready to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Karim Benzema, Corentin Tolisso and Alexandre Lacazette in making the move to a bigger European club.
Reportedly a target for Arsenal in this window and not fancying a move to PSG as he is a boyhood Lyon fan, the time should be now for the Reds to make their move and grab Fekir while the rest of Europe’s elite plots when they should try to coax him away from Lyon.
Why He Is Worth It
Thirteen goals and four assists in his breakout season with the club in 2014/15 saw him named as the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and earned a spot in the Team of the Year.
After a promising start to 2015/16 injury robbed Lyon of his skills for most of the season, although he did receive his first callup for the French national team.
Last season saw him to go on to score 14 goals as Lyon finished fourth and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League.
But it is this season, with 13 goals in 16 league appearances already and two in six in Europe, that he is beginning to really shine.
If Jurgen Klopp’s intention is to keep Firmino up top then the assists and goalscoring abilities of Coutinho, while they can’t be matched, can surely be made up for somewhat with the addition of a creative, goalscoring midfielder.
At 24, Fekir is only going to improve and get better, and already a French international he undoubtedly has a bright future in front of him.
The only question is not if Lyon would sell but how much they would charge any buyer.
I would imagine it would take more than the £50 million that Arsenal shelled out for Lacazette last summer.
They will not want their prize asset and hometown hero to go for cheap, especially given how much money there is in the Premier League.
Personally, I don’t see the fuss with Thomas Lemar, in my view he is no better than Salah or Mane.
And with money to burn, Fekir is someone who could soften the blow of Coutinho’s sale whilst also bringing something new to the side.
His ability to play the No. 10 role or across the forward line would only benefit the current squad and add even more firepower to an already very talented attack.
With the World Cup around the corner, his value can only rise and rise, therefore a deal should be done now.
Coutinho is now the past, Fekir could well be part of the future.
* This is a guest article for This Is Anfield. If you’d like to contribute a piece for consideration please see here.