Ever since Jürgen Klopp became the manager of Liverpool, numerous quality players have been constantly linked to the Anfield club in order to help achieve some long awaited silverware. The Liverpool manager has shown a preference of not signing players midway through a season though, with Virgil Van Dijk being the only notable exception. Liverpool were thwarted in signing the player in the summer of 2017, after Southampton complained about Liverpool approaching Van Dijk without the Saints’s permission, but the deal was eventually agreed just prior to the opening of the January window. Will we see any similar signings in a month?
This Fekir Again?
Despite the collapse of a £53 million move before the World Cup, the Nabil Fekir rumours refuse to go away. The 25 year old Lyon playmaker has scored six goals in 12 appearances for the French club this season. Fekir’s contract is up in June 2020 and, despite the fact that Liverpool’s interest cooled following a medical examination saw concern over an old knee ligament injury, it’s possible we go back in for him, especially given our current playmaking struggles. This is one deal I don’t think will be resurrected however, given Klopp has barely shown any interest since back then. Then again, he barely mentioned Van Dijk last autumn either…
Rabiot, From Paris With Love.
Fekir is not the only Frenchman we’ve been linked to – 23 year old Adrien Rabiot has also got more than a few gossip column inches. Though his quality is unquestionable, the Paris Saint-Germain central midfielder has a reputation of being difficult to deal with – having been left of of the provisional squad for the World Cup in Russia by French national manager Didier Deschamps he refused to be considered for the standby list, thus missing out on the opportunity to participate in the World Cup. He’s also fallen foul with PSG turning down a multi-million contract to remain with the club, even dropping from the starting XI in our most recent group game against them after an argument with Thomas Tuchel before kick-off. He will be able to start contract negotiations in January, ready for his contract ending in the summer, but it’s highly unlikely Klopp would consider bringing a player this disruptive into our tightly knit squad. In my opinion he isn’t the right fit – a club like Barcelona looks a more likely destination for Rabiot.
Christian Pulisic is a name that’s been heard a lot around Anfield, a potential signing that excites a great number of Liverpool fans. The 20 year old American international is well known to Klopp, who had the player at Borussia Dortmund as a youth, giving him his first professional training session with the senior team. Klopp did try to buy Pulisic in his first season in charge with an €11 million bid, but failed. The chatter is loud and consistent on this potential signing, the club’s appetite for the player whetted by his two goals in preseason against Liverpool. His contract is up in 2020 and a waiting game may be played out on this one. He is currently valued at €70 million by Dortmund though – even Edwards would baulk at this price tag.
However FSG may see this as a worthy investment given his potential both on the pitch and as a marketing and merchandising dream – Liverpool fanclubs are mushrooming in the American market and they have become the most watched team in America, so having the poster boy for the American game in a Liverpool shirt would be huge. Definitely could be a future signing, but most likely not in this January Transfer Window.
Another player who’s grabbing my attention this year is Hakim Ziyech. The 25 year old Moroccan international plays for Ajax Amsterdam and is widely linked to a host of top European clubs. This attacking midfielder boasts some pretty impressive statistics in the Eredivisie. In the seasons 2016/17 and 2017/18 for Ajax he played 62 games, scoring 16 goals and 26 assists. Pretty good going by any standard of any league. In Ajax’s current season he’s on seven goals and four assists after a mere 12 matches. Neither Klopp nor Liverpool have made much noise over this talented young player, however I think he’d be a great addition in strengthening the squad. He did earn the Dutch Footballer of the Year award and the Golden Boot in 2018 after all. With a valuation of £30 million this could be a smart investment, but again it would be a summer signing if it ever happened. If ever there was a player was to be considered by Liverpool using the ‘Moneyball’ technique, Hakim Ziyech would be that man.
Understandably Klopp has a policy of signing players in the summer – it gives them a whole preseason to work tactics, develop the extra fitness for our pressing game and they have plenty of time to settle in with the rest of the squad. Unless special circumstances like heavy injuries force Klopp to buy a player in January, he’s unlikely to unsettle the squad midway through the season, especially as there’s no must-have marquee signing like Van Dijk this year – the Liverpool manager will likely wait until the summer to sign new players instead. My prediction: I’d be very surprised if anyone is signed in January.