With the value of free agents possibly soaring as the market shifts this summer, Liverpool would be wise to assess the pool of Bosman signings who could be available.
It has been widely claimed in the Merseyside press that the Reds could preside over another quiet transfer window, with no major deals expected.
This comes due to the uncertainty of the club’s financial situation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, having lost a significant source of revenue in the absence of matchday spending and with no return to normalcy in sight.
Timo Werner remains the main source of speculation at Anfield, and there is a chance Jurgen Klopp is still able to call upon the German striker in the near future.
But overall, the Bosman signing is anticipated to be in vogue in the next transfer window, as though both wages and signing-on fees still need to be factored in, these are typically cheaper due to the absence of another club in the transaction.
Adam Lallana could, therefore, be one of the most sought-after players ahead of 2020/21—and it is no surprise that Klopp is eager to retain him beyond the expiry of his deal—while other clubs have already been linked with soon-to-be free agents.
So who could Liverpool consider from the Bosman market? Here are five possibilities.
Speculation over Willian making the move to Anfield emerged in April, and it is a deal not out of the realms of possibility, not least due to Liverpool’s interest in the Brazilian back in 2013.
Years later, Willian alluded to complications in negotiations between his agent and a host of clubs, including the Reds, before a £30 million deal was struck with Chelsea.
There he has established himself as a Premier League staple, adjusting well to the demands of English football and scoring 59 goals, laying on a further 59, in 329 appearances for the Blues.
Willian has expressed a desire to remain in England upon the expiry of his contract, and while he would not command a first-choice role under Klopp he would be a valuable alternate in attack.
His wages may be high, as would his signing-on fee, but that would be negated by the lack of a transfer fee.
Another to have been linked with Liverpool already this season, Fraser has endured a difficult season as an injury-plagued Bournemouth suffer in the relegation zone.
After recording eight goals and 15 assists in 42 games last term, the Scot has only managed one goal and four assists in 32 this time out; but his previous form and the circumstances at Dean Court suggest this is an outlier.
On a free transfer, Fraser would be particularly inexpensive as a player who should require a lower wage than Willian, for example, and would flesh out Klopp’s squad ranks as a hungry, versatile attacker likely yet to reach his prime.
That may make him one of the most attractive free agents on the market, given the current uncertainty.
Most comfortable on the left, the 26-year-old can also play on the right, and could effectively serve as a more industrious replacement for Xherdan Shaqiri, if the Swiss ends up leaving.
There is a humility to Fraser that would appeal to Klopp, and his pace, creativity and unpredictability would make him a strong addition.
It is roundly accepted that Liverpool will soon need to establish a backup for Andy Robertson at left-back.
In an ideal world, either Yasser Larouci or Adam Lewis will be deemed worthy of the spot—as Neco Williams has as deputy to Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back—allowing the academy pathway to remain unblocked.
But if not, an interesting option on the free agent market would be Kurzawa, who has reached something of a crossroads in his career.
Once a team-mate of Fabinho‘s, Kurzawa left Monaco for PSG before the remarkable title-winning season of 2016/17, and has never fully commanded a first-choice role in Paris; in five seasons with the club, he has played 123 games.
Injuries, such as the hernia that kept him out of the 3-2 loss to Liverpool in 2018, have not helped his situation, but more so competition from the likes of Maxwell and Juan Bernat have kept him sidelined.
Kurzawa needs a new start, and joining a squad as ambitious as the Reds may revive his fortunes, as though he will be behind Robertson in the pecking order, his brand of front-footed full-back play could suit Klopp’s system.
Much of Liverpool’s business ahead of next season will depend on outgoings—not necessarily due to the funds they will bring in, but more so the spaces they would free up in the squad.
If Dejan Lovren departs as expected, a new centre-back could required if neither Ki-Jana Hoever or Sepp van den Berg are considered ready; but if the market dictates that he stays and sees out the final year of his contract, so be it.
As with left-back, the best solution would be promoting from within, but if a new fourth-choice centre-back is needed then a low-key gem could be found in Ligue 1.
Sarr made his debut for Nice—his boyhood club—as a 17-year-old in 2016, and immediately caught the eye with the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Rennes, though then-manager Lucien Favre attempted to downplay the hype by insisting there was “work to be done.”
Since then, Sarr has made 119 appearances for Nice, predominantly at centre-back but also at times as a left-back, which could suit Klopp, who prefers flexible players—particularly when serving as covering options.
A modern centre-back comfortable with the ball at his feet, Sarr is attracting interest from the likes of Lazio, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and Newcastle but has stressed he has “no preference” at this stage.
Guaranteed game time may be an issue, but the French youth international would be a strong signing for Liverpool.
Could Klopp really be tempted?
It is almost unbelievable that Gotze will head into next season as still only a 28-year-old, given how long he has been a staple of top-level German football, and how he scored the winner in the World Cup final six years ago.
But after an 11-year stretch that has taken in spells with Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Dortmund again, the diminutive Bavarian will be parting ways with the Westfalenstadion for the second time.
A prime-age Mario Gotze available on a free transfer would have been a no-brainer four years ago, but a battle with myopathy and a series of subsequent injuries has altered his value significantly.
Once Klopp’s prodigy and a prolific No. 10, Gotze has been forced to adapt his game to become more of a functional centre-forward, lacking the speed he relied upon in his former role.
Whether this would suit Liverpool’s system is therefore questionable, but he is certainly well-versed in Klopp’s style and would be working under a manager with whom for a long time he shared an implicit trust.
It would be a punt, but perhaps Gotze could slot in an a supplemental midfielder at Anfield, or perhaps as backup to Roberto Firmino if a deal for Werner is delayed?