By Tony Samboras
If Liverpool is to regain their lost glory in English as well as European football, a radical surgery to their current squad is inevitable. After a rather impressive season, the next has proven quite wanting, contrary to many faithful’s expectations.
With the curtains close to coming down on the current campaign, the Red’s enthusiasts will wait with baited breath to see who joins the Merseyside outfit during the summer transfer window. The signings should be especially so after the expected departure of some key players.
Steven Gerrard’s exit will undoubtedly leave a large void in the midfield. This void will see the red’s fall short of the bite and aggressiveness almost synonymous with the outgoing skipper.
With the only available replacement from the bench being previous world cup hopeful Brazilian Lucas, another experienced signing should be on Brendan Rodgers’ cards. Speculations on PSG’s Javier Pastore have recently hit the sports headlines though it remains to be seen whether or not this player who previously played for Argentina in the 2014 world cup in Brazil has the merit to be a successful heir to Gerrard’s colossal role at Anfield.
Perhaps fed up of playing second fiddle to Simon Mignolet in goal, second-choice custodian Brad Jones has expressed his desire to exit Anfield. In an open letter to the fans, Jones has stated his times at Liverpool as the “best and worst” of his career. Mignolet was used to playing second fiddle himself as he was the backup goalkeeper for Belgium during their 2014 world cup campaign.
Striker Rickie Lambert has for long failed to showcase the brilliance reminiscent of his days at St. Mary’s, where he scored for fun. His paltry tally of goals for Liverpool further lessens his chances of extending his Anfield stay.
Newly promoted side Bournemouth are said to be licking their lips in the prospect of signing Lambert in a quest to bolster their squad in readiness for the much demanding top-flight, making the Dean Court his most likely destination.
Lambert’s growing speculation of joining the Cherries has sparked reports from Spain suggesting that the goal-shy striker could be replaced by Real Madrid’s unsettled striker Asier Illarramendi.
Mario Balotelli’s stint at Merseyside also seems to be coming to a likely but disappointing end. The controversial Italian has failed to resurrect his career at Anfield and could join Italian side Sampdoria in the summer.
Interestingly, the former Manchester City star could be replaced by yet another in the form of Stevan Jovetic. Jovetic has endured a rather quiet season with the Citizens and Liverpool’s interest could trigger his move in search of first team football.
Kolo Toure’s imminent departure in the summer as a free agent, as well as Glen Johnson’s likely move, would leave the Red’s defensively short, therefore sparking rumours on Southampton’s Jose Fonte.
The south coast club is willing to listen to offers for the Portuguese whose contract runs down to 2017. Such a move would see Fonte’s reunion with former defensive partner Dejan Lovren.
Several other names have also been linked with a move to Merseyside in recent weeks. Burnley striker, Dan Ings’ impressive goal tally for the Clarets, has made him subject to many managers interests, with Rodgers being no exception.
Also on the cards could be a surprise change of loyalties for Manchester City workhorse James Milner. The midfielder has for long been unhappy with his bit-part role in Pellegrini’s squad and is likely to join the Reds as a free agent in the summer.
Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez is also reportedly on Liverpool’s radar as much remains to be seen. If realised, such signings would be a major shot in the arm for a club that has of late been criticised for signing average players.