The January transfer window is always a time for speculation and great excitement, not just for the presenters of Sky Sports News (I think Jim White will actually explode one of these days, as the struggle to contain himself when there is ‘breaking news’ seems increasingly too much for him to bear), but also for the fans of every team up and down the land.
‘Who will we sign? How many new players will we get? Will we manage to offload so and so, who has underperformed for two seasons?’ These are just a few of the questions currently uppermost in the minds of many of us.
There are always rumours flying about, wild and not so wild, and sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between ‘paper talk’ and serious transfer manoeuvres being conducted by your club. I have been thinking about Liverpool; who we are (probably!) after, who we should be looking to sign, and who we maybe should attempt to sell.
I, and many other fans I have spoken to, believe there are three crucial signings that the club should make if it wants to improve to such an extent that it can challenge for major honours again. The first is the necessity of acquiring another forward to support Fernando Torres, and/or to provide cover for him when he is injured.
The second is to obtain a quality winger to provide the width that the team has been in desperate need of for too long to remember. Finally, defensive cover, specifically perhaps, another left-back,would not go amiss, as Paul Konchesky has failed to impress.
Lack of support for Torres has been a long-standing and frustrating problem. Since Robbie Keane was sold back to Spurs in January 2009, he has not been replaced. In the summer of 2009, what did we do? Sign Glen Johnson for £18 million, when we were, and still are, crying out for another quality forward. Instead, we have persisted with David Ngog, who is still young, still developing and is not ready to partner, or stand in for, Torres.
Finally, it looks as if Kenny Dalglish and New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the new wealthy owners, are about to remedy this, since the most high-profile player Liverpool have been linked with this January has been Uruguay forward, Luis Suarez.
The talks between Liverpool director of strategy, Damien Comolli, and Suarez’s current club, Ajax, have been protracted and seemed to have broken down after the Dutch side rejected a £12.7 million bid and Ryan Babel’s move from Liverpool to German club Hoffenheim, seemed to have collapsed.
However, Comolli has now returned to Amsterdam in an attempt to resurrect a deal, following Ajax’s request to approach them with a more ‘respectful’ offer for the player. Ajax reportedly want around £25 million for Suarez, so Liverpool may have to offer at least £18 million before the Amsterdam club will even consider letting their top goal scorer leave.
Liverpool may be helped in finding the necessary funds though, in that in a u-turn, Babel has agreed his own transfer to Hoffenheim after all, and is off to Germany to finalise the deal, thought to be worth £5.8 million. Furthermore, it has been reported that another German club, Wolfsburg, have offered Liverpool £6 million for Milan Jovanovich to replace Edin Dzeko, who recently joined Manchester City.
Suarez would be a great addition to the Liverpool squad. He has been the top scorer for Ajax for the last three years, as well as contributing a high number of assists, and was one of Uruguay’s leading lights as the side finished third in the World Cup last year. If Liverpool don’t land Suarez, what other options are there?
Last summer, amongst other players, Roy Hodgson tried and failed to sign Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez and West Ham's Carlton Cole.
It is possible that Liverpool may resurrect interest in Gomez, a 25-year old German international who came close to joining the Anfield club on a season-long loan last summer. Another possibility is Sweden’s Ola Toivonen, who currently plays for PSV Eindhoven, although he may be pricey.
I’ll also just say ‘re-sign Peter Crouch’ and then just leave that one there. As for Carlton Cole though, I would be happy if we did not pursue him any further. He has failed to do the business for West Ham this season, and has rarely been on the score sheet.
There's no question that Liverpool lack pace and width in midfield. I know this may be regarded as heresy, but I would have loved it if Liverpool could have signed Steven Pienaar from Everton. With him now Spurs-bound, of course that is no longer possible.
There are those around Anfield who are said to be admirers of Aston Villa winger Ashley Young, and I think he would give great balance to the side, as well as injection of pace. Comolli has said of Young: “If he is available then he will be of interest for us.”
However, there have been rumours that Manchester United have also been sniffing around Young, and the price tag, which could be over £15 million, could also pose a problem, as well as the fact the Gerard Houllier will be desperate to keep the player.
A cheaper option for Liverpool would be Charles N'Zogbia, who has already expressed a wish to leave Wigan. There has been speculation that Liverpool have been in talks with Wigan over a possible deal for the Frenchman, but Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed such talk as “a lie”, and has insisted that Wigan do not have to sell before the transfer window closes next week.
Staying in midfield, there has also been much talk surrounding Liverpool’s interest in Blackpool’s Charlie Adam. The Scottish international handed in a transfer request to the Seasiders, which was rejected, as, reportedly, was a £4 million bid for the player from Liverpool.
Adam has been impressive at Bloomfield Road since joining from Rangers in 2009, and his manager, Ian Holloway, has hinted that he would be allowed to leave for the right price. With Liverpool reportedly now being prepared to pay £6 million for the player, let’s hope that this represents an acceptable fee in Holloway’s eyes.
Defensively, there are several names potentially in the frame. Some reports have suggested that Dalglish is set to move for Benfica left back Fabio Coentrao. The 22-year old impressed as a left-back at the World Cup, but is equally capable of playing in a more advanced position.
Again, his price may be a problem, but if Dalglish is set on acquiring him then he may be able to persuade NESV to part with the necessary cash. Liverpool have also reportedly been monitoring Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill, although if they decide to make a move may lose out to Chelsea, who are also interested. One more player I’d like to suggest Liverpool go for is Fulham’s Brede Hangeland, who I believe would give Liverpool the power in the air that they have lacked since Sami Hyypia left.
It has been suggested in the media that Liverpool would fail to attract any big name signings while being managed by Roy Hodgson. Hopefully that situation has now changed now that Kenny Dalglish is at the helm, and his presence will help to make Liverpool a quality attraction once more.
A final thought: Alberto Aquilani – should we bring him back?
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.