Anthony Gordon ticks a lot of boxes for Liverpool – transfer should still happen

Liverpool’s links to Anthony Gordon may have been reported as brief and unsuccessful, but there are signs that a deal for the Newcastle winger is not off the table.

While this week will see Liverpool’s pre-season preparations finally click into gear, it has been a deliberately – and for the fans, frustratingly – quiet summer so far.

After the exodus of staff and players following Jurgen Klopp‘s departure, the club took the opportunity to launch a full-scale rebuild, including a new structure off the pitch.

The return of Michael Edwards in an overarching role at Fenway Sports Group was followed by the appointment of sporting director Richard Hughes and his assistant David Woodfine.

In a mark of respect to his predecessor – and a desire to enjoy his last holiday since taking up one of the most high-profile jobs in football – new head coach Arne Slot stayed silent for the first weeks of his reign.

Arne Slot (Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

But that is not to say that things have not been bubbling over in the background, with Hughes in regular contact with Slot as they aim to bolster the Dutchman’s squad.

Under this new regime, fans can expect more of the discretion in the transfer market they grew accustomed to when Edwards – and later Julian Ward – was sporting director himself.

That jarred with the weekend’s reports that Liverpool had held talks with Newcastle over a possible last-minute deal for Anthony Gordon.

In short, Newcastle needed to sell players in order to fall under the Premier League‘s PSR threshold and Liverpool were known to hold an interest in the England winger.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon looks dejected during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was widely reported on Saturday, however, that the Reds rejected the chance to sign Gordon, with Newcastle‘s request to include Jarell Quansah in the deal one of their sticking points.

Since then, sources on Tyneside have insisted the opposite: that Liverpool were the opportunistic negotiators, eager to land a bargain when Newcastle were most vulnerable.

Whichever way you slice it, the subsequent sales of Elliot Anderson to Nottingham Forest and Yankuba Minteh to Brighton for a frankly unbelievable combined fee of £68 million effectively solved the issue for Newcastle.

They also finally negotiated a compensation package with Man United for sporting director Dan Ashworth, with those departures likely ensuring Newcastle avoid sanctions and a mooted punishment of 10 points deducted.

Case closed when it comes to Gordon, they could hope.

Enquiries and long-term interest

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 27, 2023: Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon applauds the away supporters during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Newcastle United FC at Goodison Park. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Only the same Newcastle sources have now shed light on the club’s concerns over their No. 10’s head being turned by a proposed switch to Merseyside.

The optics of the weekend’s reports indicated that not only would Newcastle be willing to sell Gordon, but his boyhood club would be open to signing him under the right conditions.

Those conditions are obviously varied.

Put simply, any deal would not include Quansah going the other way, while the briefing that they feel they are already well-stocked in Gordon’s position on the left flank suggests any signing would hinge on one of those options leaving.

Liverpool are known to hold a long-term interest in Gordon and it has been claimed that an initial, tentative enquiry had been made into his availability at Newcastle.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 18, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz reacts after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That would hint that background work is in motion in the event that one of their left wingers pushes for the exit – which is where Luis Diaz could come in.

Diaz, who is currently with Colombia at Copa America, has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and most notably Barcelona.

And though the club have positioned themselves as unwilling to sell, that The Athletic‘s James Pearce has reported that “only offers above £50 million could make Liverpool reconsider” is a major sign to the contrary.

If Diaz were to depart that would leave Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez as Slot’s de facto options on the left flank – only one of whom, Gakpo, could be described as a natural left winger.

With Nunez expected to be first-choice striker and Jota a prolific, if frequently injured, secondary option, any deal for Diaz could open up a spot in the squad.

Diaz out, Gordon in?

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - Sunday, June 16, 2024: England's Anthony Gordon during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke. England won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gordon, who was Newcastle‘s Player of the Season in his first campaign since joining from Everton for £45 million, would represent the ideal replacement.

At 23, he has already played 116 times in the Premier League, with his most recent season seeing him score 11 goals and assist 10 in 35 league outings.

He would be eligible as a homegrown player in the league and a valuable association-trained player in the Champions League, allowing for more wiggle room for signings in other areas.

His full-throttle brand of wide play, full of pace and direction, would likely suit the system Slot will employ at Liverpool, while he is flexible enough to fill in as a No. 10, up front and on the right flank.

There would be no reservations over his work off the ball, either, with Gordon in the 80th percentile for tackles (1.76 per 90) among wingers in Europe’s top five leagues, per FBref.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A boyhood Liverpool supporter – born in the city and on the club’s books until his release at 11 – who counts Curtis Jones among his best friends in football, he would require little to no adjustment period off the pitch.

And having already admitted Anfield boasts the best atmosphere in the Premier League “by far,” and revealed Mohamed Salah as a role model, he could join under no illusions as to the demands of life as a Liverpool player.

“Some footballers like to think less and just turn up and play and trust their instincts, but I just love the mindset of just getting in that place before I’m already there,” he told Gary Neville on The Overlap.

“Actually, I heard Salah talk about it. And that’s where I took even more interest because I see him as an absolute machine, a winner.

“People like that, you’re not going to go far wrong following what they do.”

Even if, in years gone by, the fact that Gordon first broke through as as a Everton player would be seen as an issue by fans, any toxicity has calmed in recent years – Rafa Benitez and Conor Coady could both attest to that.

That is not to say that joining Liverpool is a formality, of course, with there a number of hurdles to jump before that could be considered.

Another explanation for the club’s quiet start to the summer is that many of their moving parts are currently on duty at either the European Championship and Copa America.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 27, 2022: England's Anthony Gordon lines-up before the International friendly between England Under-21’s and Germany Under-21’s at Bramall Lane. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Both Gordon and Diaz are among that number, and with their focus on success with England and Colombia respectively, it is no surprise that negotiations would be put on the back-burner.

But despite the noise and excitement of an unofficial, PSR-enforced deadline day over the weekend, it would be wrong to rule Gordon out from becoming a Liverpool player before the summer is out.

He ticks too many boxes not to be considered a viable target – and Newcastle have already shown their hand as prospective sellers.