Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet claims to be unconcerned by speculation the club are striving to recruit a replacement, with links to former Barcelona shot-stopper Victor Valdes, still a free agent, persisting.
Mignolet was a notable acquisition for Liverpool in the summer transfer window of last year, but the performances of the Belgian have come in for increasing criticism as the club endure a poor start to the current campaign.
Phil Jagielka’s last minute goal for Everton at Anfield on Saturday prevented Liverpool from clinching a much needed win and, despite the quality of the strike from the defender, it was claimed by Gary Neville that Mignolet ought to have kept it out. He can’t catch a break, or a cold it would seem.
Mignolet’s poor form and the availability of Valdes, still without a club since leaving the Camp Nou, has led to renewed reports that Liverpool could move to sign the Spain international, but the Reds incumbent is not allowing this to affect his concentration.
“If I had to look into all the players who are linked with Liverpool, then there would be another team on the pitch! Every week there would be a different 11 playing,” Mignolet told the Liverpool Echo.
“If you play for a big club, you have to accept that is the way it is, but I don’t read anything into that.
"I am here to play my game and to do my best every week. I can only work hard in training, be positive and make sure I play well.”
The 26-year-old was signed by Brendan Rodgers from Sunderland for £9 million little over a year ago, and his arrival on Merseyside resulted in the departure of Pepe Reina, who had been the club’s first choice gloveman for the best part of a decade.
Reina’s permanent exit this summer, leaving Liverpool for Bayern Munich, led the club into the market for further reinforcements in this position, and it had initially been expected that Valdes could sign in order to provide competition for Mignolet.
But now, it would appear, the 32-year-old could be recruited as a direct replacement. Given his credentials, it would be fair to assume that Valdes would only consider a move to Liverpool were he to earn a starting spot.
Valdes is a vastly experienced ‘keeper having made over 500 appearances for Barcelona, during which he won six league titles and the Champions League on three occasions. His know-how at European level could ensure he is a vital addition for Liverpool, who are back in top level continental competition for the first time in five years.
Valdes was expected to join Monaco in a deal worth a massive €12 million-per-season, but a serious knee injury he sustained towards the end of the least campaign put paid to the proposed move. He would now have to prove his fitness if he is to join Liverpool.