You have to love some of the stuff the national press come out with, all bannered under the name of ‘transfer gossip’. Let’s be honest, what that essentially means is that they’ve made it up, particularly if you’re reading a tabloid.
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Nonetheless, we all still read it, we all still have our hopes built up only to be shot down when, like in January, we end up signing nobody.
That’s not to say there’s not a need for new signings. I don’t think there can be any debating the fact that we need a striker this summer. Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert, all linked with potential summer exits by the Daily Mirror, have managed just eight goals between them this season, while Daniel Sturridge’s ongoing injury problems have restricted him to just seven Premier League starts.
The press have capitalised on this overwhelming desire for news by printing a wide variety of ‘rumours’ linking us with potential strikers. There have been some truly brilliant ones – Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Radamel Falcao, via the Daily Express and The Independent respectively, probably being our favourites thus far, at least in terms of amusement.
There was more of it this morning, with Mario Mandzukic mysteriously set to leave Atletico Madrid, despite having scored 20 goals already this season, and move to Anfield. Thanks for that one Metro…
Unfortunately, due to the massive amount of money spent (or wasted, depending on how you view it) last summer, our budget must be used sparingly. We can’t afford to be throwing around the £20m or £30m fees that are being suggested on multiple players, especially when our number one priority should still be finding an adequate replacement for Steven Gerrard in midfield.
So what should we do?
I’d make the most of the assets we already have and save the money that we do have to improve the other areas of the team. As has already been mentioned, we have three strikers in Balotelli, Borini and Lambert who probably need to go. Realistically, what could we get? Perhaps £20m for the trio?
Sampdoria are reportedly ready to offer us at least some return on the £16m we spend on Balotelli last summer (via the Liverpool Echo), while Borini was worth £10m to Queens Park Rangers just 12 months ago (via the Daily Mail). Throw in a £5m fee for Lambert and we’re half-way to a world class striker.
Sturridge needs the help of a top quality player. His issues this season have proved that he can’t be trusted to be our new main man or the next Luis Suarez quite yet.
While our potential lack of Champions League football might be detrimental to us landing one of the European elite, there’s no reason why you couldn’t convince Lyon hitman Alexandre Lacazette, who’s yet to play for a Euro behemoth.
The Frenchman is incredibly quick and a great finisher, proven by his 25 Ligue 1 goals this term.
He’s likely attainable, too.
Working under the assumption that you need four regular strikers at your disposal, here’s how I’d fill the last two slots with a simple and cost-free solution.
For one, you have Divock Origi. The kid needs game-time. He might only be 20, but he’s a Belgian international who was preferred to Romelu Lukaku for much of the World Cup last summer. He’s only scored eight goals for a struggling Lille side so far this season, but we need to keep faith with the fact that he’ll do better with a greater quality of player behind him, something that Philippe Coutinho will ensure.
As for the fourth and final slot, why not give one of the academy players a go? We keep hearing about well they’re doing and Jordon Ibe has already proved that it’s possible to make the step up from a Championship loan.
Jerome Sinclair is on loan at Wigan right now, but deserves another crack at the Liverpool first-team three years on from his League Cup debut against West Brom. I’d also mention Samed Yesil, who has endured a hideous run of injuries in recent years, but has made an immediate impact on his return to the youth team set-up. What’s the point of having these players if the endgame is not to get them playing?
Daniel Sturridge, Alexandre Lacazete, Divock Origi, and Jerome Sinclair / Samed Yesil. Easier said than done we know, but this could be the strikeforce that helps us finally put Suarez and the SAS behind us…