Not a day goes by it seems without a different player seemingly being linked to joining the club or departing it. Here is an at the glance overview of some of the names that ave been mentioned in various quarters of the media over the last week and at varying levels of credibility.
Rafael Van Der Vaart (Real Madrid)
The attacking Dutchman has been linked with Liverpool for several seasons now and at present that shows no sign of slowing down. The player currently on World Cup duty has been deemed to be surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu following the arrival of Mourinho and is believed to have been offered to Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City and most recently Arsense Wenger at Arsenal. Despite a good finish to the previous season it doesnt look at present as though the former Hamburg man is going to get the chance of another. Van Der Vaart has been mentioned also in a swap deal format alongside the likes of other unwanted players Drenthe and Gago as Madrid continue to voice their interst in Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
Joe Cole (no club)
The former Chelsea wide man is currently clubless but high on the agenda of a number of a clubs, as they try to lure in the 28 year old that has a point to prove. Cole has been credited with saying that he is not looking to move outside of the Premier League despite interest from AC Milan to name but a few. Man Utd are believed to have lost interest in the player and the driving seat for his signature seems to be a two horse race between Arsenal and Spurs, with the player already London based and Redknapp a former and admiring manager of his. Liverpool continue to be linked to the player in many quarters and what may be a popular choice amongst the fans also. With both Spurs and Arsenal able to provide Champions League football, Liverpool are always going to have to work alot harder than the rest to convince the player Anfield is the place for him, if there is any interst in his signature at all. Roy Hodgson has declared his interst to sign British based players in recent days though, which will no doubt keep the Cole story going for a little longer yet.
Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
The villa wide man never made it in to the England squad for the recent disastrous World Cup campaign and Hodgson is believed to be a long term admirer of the player. O’Neill has previously stated with other interest that the player is not for sale at any price. Liverpool would not only struggle to meet and justify spending the amount Villa would want for the player but given previous failed and well documented problems between Rafa Benitez, Christian Purslow and Villa’s Martin O’Neill over the Gareth Barry saga, even if Hodgson does have belief in the player then this is something that might not even get off the starting line unless his relationship is a considerably more agreeable one.
Brede Hangeland (Fulham)
Centre-half Hangeland was linked with the club, the moment that Roy Hodgson as new LFC manager was deemed to be a certainty. Hangeland has just come off the back of an excellent season with Hogson at his former club and he is an avid fan of the player. Brede is presently valued around the £8m mark but a £15m price tag was slapped in place in the latter part of last season following continued interest from Arsenal. Hodgson brought the player in from FC Copenhagen in 2008, the Scandanavian market being one of his favoured ones and has gone from strength to strength since his arrival. Hodgson stated in his opening press conference as Liverpool manager that he was not looking to be disrespectful and start enquiring about his former players but this has done little to dampen this story so far. With Liverpool’s minimal transfer kitty, even a player value of this level is going to be a tough ask without a number of player sales as other positions are also a priority.
Stephen Ireland (Man City)
Despite some good form at City, the midfielder found himself spending alot of time on the bench as the big name arrivals continued to flow through the door at Eastlands with ever growing pace. With Barry, de Jong, Kompany and even Viera ahead of him in the queue, the player is expected to look for pastures new in the coming weeks, further accelerated by the big name signing of Yaya Toure.
Scott Parker (West Ham)
The Hammers player of the season for last season continues to get mentioned despite the club saying that he was the only player that they would not consider a bid for. An energetic defensive midfielder, several slots behind Gareth Barry in the England side has seen his promising career plateau out since his move to Chelsea in the early days of the Abramovich takeover. Parker stories continue to infrequently rear their head as Liverpool fans wait for news on whether Javier Mascherano will be plying his trade elsewhere next season, or continue in the Red of Liverpool.
Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich)
The German front man, finds himself in a rich vein of form at International level alongside Meuller and Podolski, as he sits one goal behind Spain’s David Villa in the Golden Boot table. A big turn around of form as the player comes into the World Cup after a very disappointing season with Munich, where since 2007 he has only managed to find the net on 23 occassions against 78 appearances. His present form has seen Liverpool, alongside some other PL sides and a host of Eastern European clubs associated with his signature for the coming year.
Other names mentioned with less coverage are Man City trio Wayne Bridge, Micah Richards and Shaun Wright-Phillips as reports continue to fly round that they will raid the market for two new full backs. SWP found himself spending more time on the bench than he would have liked last season due to the form of Adam Johnson and now David Silva has arrived on the scene from Valencia, a fomer LFC target himself prior to the financial decline of the club under H&G alongside Barcelona bound David Villa.
A swap deal for Valencia’s other starlet Juan Mata for Benitez banished Albert Riera gained some column space after the player annonced his interest in the PL, with Liverpool being one of the clubs that he favoured. Valencia have cashed in on the sales of Villa & Silva to stabilise their financial situation and the sale of Mata may no longer need to be such a necessity. At present Juventus are the only side to table a bid for Riera in recent weeks but the £5m offer was instantly rejected.
Further mentioned are Sampdoria’s converted left back Reto Ziegler and Roma strikers Julio Baptista and Stefano Okaka to name but a few.
Should the Liverpool board honour their word that funds from players sales will be given in full back to Hodgson then the new man in could find himself with in the region of £40m+ to spend this summer if Mascherano and Riera depart alongside the now Chelsea player Yossi Benayoun. It would of course be significantly more if Torres and/or Gerrard sales were also sanctioned as the players wishes and Hodgson’s powers of persuasion did not prevail but in the event of that, Liverpool’s rebuilding strategy would be a far more complex one. At present the duo of Mascherano and Riera are considered to be the most likely to leave but Im sure that another fortnight of transfer rumours will again try to paint a very different story.
Hodgson at present still retains the strong spine of a side capable of challenging the top end PL clubs on their day but he will need to spend wisely and quickly to both provide stability to the existing squad as well as show intent moving forward and encourage further signings that may well be looking higher than Liverpool can offer at present. The squad depth needs to be improved for the new campaign and more cover on call should either of LFC’s leading lights Gerrard & his partner in crime Torres end up spending any more time on the physio’s table next season.
Its over to you Roy.