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Contrary to common belief amongst supporters, Liverpool do often target the right players.
It’s just getting the exciting deals over the line which has caused problems.
In summer 2013, we went after Willian, Diego Costa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. We ended up Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas.
In summer 2014 we thought we’d got Alexis Sanchez upon Luis Suarez’s exit. We signed Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert instead.
And today, another transfer saga is born. And like those excellent players already mentioned, this one could go up in flames too.
But it’s imperative that it doesn’t.
Tony Barrett broke the news this morning that Liverpool had bid roughly £24m for Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Alex Teixeira. It was soon supported by James Pearce in the Echo and eventually BBC Sport – which silenced those keen to cry ‘bullshit’ when failing to differentiate between a real transfer link and tabloid nonsense.
Like most of Shakhtar’s best players in recent years, Alex Teixeira is the real deal. At 26-years-old, he’s taken his time to fulfil his potential and is bizarrely uncapped by Brazil – but a quick glance at his statistics from attacking midfield show genuine class.
22 league goals in 15 games in the Ukrainian league so far this term. Three in six in the Champions League, including a beauty against Real Madrid. And all from attacking midfield. Liverpool fans will be surprised to read Teixeira’s not a centre-forward, nor has he ever been, or ever even played there. He’s a feisty, stocky, rapid, skilful goalscoring attacking midfielder – capable of playing off a forward or cutting in from the left.
As previously mentioned, it’s not the first time we’ve turned our attention to the perennial Ukrainian champions for transfer targets. Chelsea famously pipped us to Willian, and the playmaker’s been the one shining light of the Blues’ miserable season. Teixeira possesses all Willian’s wonderful technical skills, but he scores bundles of goals too.
That same summer we desperately went in for unpronounceable Armenian Mkhitaryan. Our interest was public, noisy and ultimately embarrassing. Ironically, Jurgen Klopp signed him for Borussia Dortmund instead.
Shakhtar is a breeding ground for top, top talent. Willian and Mkhitaryan would’ve been outstanding signings, but the likes of Fernandinho and the sublime Douglas Costa are also strutting their stuff for Manchester City and Bayern Munich respectively – via Ukraine. Luiz Adriano is at AC Milan after top scoring in the Champions League last season for Shakhtar. Expect Taison, Fred and Bernard to eventually make big moves as well.
The Donbass Arena side acquire potentially world-class talent from South America and hone it ready for action in better European leagues. They earn a tidy profit for the effort, and reinvest it back into the never ending pool of Brazilian starlets.
Crucially, Alex Teixeira has actually shone brighter than Mkhitaryan, Willian, Fernandinho or even Douglas Costa ever did at Shakhtar. He’s currently performing at a level that makes him too good for the Ukrainian League.
Fans are right to be excited.
There are of course stumbling blocks, however. The reports claim Shakhtar want closer to £38m, with Ian Ayre over in Florida looking to barter a fee. The Independent are quick to name Teixeira a Chelsea transfer target too, meaning we’d be producing a reversal of the failed Willian saga if we finalised the signing.
The summer just gone should give Liverpool fans hope in the transfer market. Even if we didn’t sign the right player in Benteke – we didn’t let a sizeable fee get in the way of the forward the manager wanted.
Teixeira’s scored just three fewer league goals than Liverpool this season, and in seven less games. It’s probably time to do so again.