Despite Jurgen Klopp’s concerns over Liverpool’s financial capabilities in the January winter window, it’s understood that the Reds will have in the region of £200-250m to spend this summer.
That approximation has been confirmed by BILD’s Christian Falk (speaking to Caught Offside) amid ongoing links between the club and Jude Bellingham who is expected to take up a significant portion of the funds in question.
With the midfield still struggling to deliver, despite attempts to finetune performance levels in the warm weather training camp in Dubai, however, reinforcements beyond Cody Gakpo remain a must.
Here are a handful of names Empire of the Kop considered as potential additions.
Jude Bellingham (region of £130m)
Liverpool’s main target this summer will have a selection of top clubs positively foaming at the mouth to sign him, should an exit from Germany be desired.
Real Madrid, Klopp’s outfit and Manchester City are understood to be the main contenders, though we possibly can’t rule out dark horses in Manchester United and Chelsea.
James Pearce (The Athletic) has already reported that the Englishman will set back an interested party in the region of £130m.
Manu Kone (was valued at £30m – HITC)
The Gladbach midfielder has been billed as a potential alternative to Bellingham should the Reds miss out on their top target.
At 21 years of age, the Bundesliga star would still fit the preferred age profile generally favoured by our recruitment team.
Football Transfers’ Jacque Talbot has revealed that Liverpool are currently in talks with both the player and Nice’s Kephren Thuram, presumably with a view to signing one of the highly-rated pair in January to help solve the club’s midfield woes.
Matheus Nunes (reportedly available for £44m)
Matheus Nunes was a name heavily linked with the Merseysiders last summer and now the Premier League-based outfit are said to have readied a £44m move for the Portuguese star for the summer.
The former Sporting star impressed in his FA Cup cameo at Anfield, showcasing his ability to add control to the middle of the park as Klopp’s midfield demonstrated a comparative lack of.
It’s understood that we won’t be able to land the Wolves star in January, however, in light of FIFA’s regulations, which stipulate that a player can’t represent more than two clubs in a single season.
Yunus Musah (availble for north of £17.2m)
The United States international caught the eye at the World Cup despite his side’s Round of 16 exit, courtesy of a 3-1 defeat to Holland, from the competition.
Liverpool and Chelsea, according 90Min (via the Daily Mail), are said to be keeping tabs on the battling midfielder who’s registered some impressive stats this season for Valencia.
Khephren Thuram (around £26.6m)
Another name the Reds are allegedly in talks with during a January transfer window in which many a fan is not so patiently waiting for a new signing.
A player credited with being particularly press resistant (a feature inspiring memories of the perhaps underappreciated Gini Wijnaldum) and more than competent when it comes to ball recovery, the Nice star could be the ideal fit for Liverpool at the moment.
Moises Caicedo (excess of £65m likely)
Yet another shining example of the increasing superiority of Brighton and Hove Albion’s phenomenal recruitment team, the Ecuadorian international’s value has skyrocketed since his move from Independiente del Valle.
The Seagulls’ CEO, Paul Barber, has already laughed off the prospect of Caicedo departing for £42m, though, which may mean a figure beyond even the £65m reported by the Mirror will be necessary to prise the midfielder away from the Amex.
Who should Liverpool buy?
Assuming that Liverpool manage to land Jude Bellingham for £130m, we’ll have in the region of £70-120m left to splash on any further additions to the squad – potentially less if we’ve already managed to sign one midfielder in the winter window.
Should a further £44m go on Wolves’ Nunes, a move in excess of the £30-40m mark is probably unlikely, so we’d be far from surprised to see our recruitment team focusing their efforts on the likes of Musah, Thuram and Kone.
Our prior experience with the Bundesliga has been largely positive, so a move for the latter of the three options mentioned might seem the most viable initially.
Most interesting, perhaps, is the Gladbach man’s defensive contributions with FBRef‘s stats showing that the 21-year-old dominates the trio for tackles in the defensive third per 90 minutes:
Manu Kone: 1.25
Khephren Thuram: 0.83
Yunus Musah: 0.64
This compares quite favourably to our current perceived best midfield three:
Thiago Alcantara: 1.41
Jordan Henderson: 0.33
It’s unclear, at the moment, whether our financial capabilities in the summer will be hit hard by the absence of Champions League football, though it’s probably safe to assume that we’ll be less flexible in the market without it.
Overlooking the potentially far-reaching consequences of failing to secure a top four spot in 2022/23, there’s no telling either what kind of calibre of target we’ll be able to sign, nor the impact on our hopes of acquiring Borussia Dortmund’s prize talent.
With that in mind, there’s every reason to suggest we’ll push hard for at least one midfielder in January to assuage some of the ongoing concerns in the middle of the park.