In a busy day for Liverpool transfer news, several stories have progressed significantly, potentially closer to a conclusion than ever before. Firstly, The Reds have apparently made strides towards securing a long-standing target in the form of Sadio Mane, with the Southampton forward now certainly the club’s most prized asset, after his only rival for the accolade; Victor Wanyama, joined Spurs on Thursday.
It is reported that Liverpool are hopeful that a figure in the region of £30 million would be enough for the south coast club to at least begin negotiations, although a fee is understood to not yet have been agreed, with Southampton potentially looking to receive something closer to the £40 million mark. While the two clubs remain this far apart in their valuation of the Senegalese international, a finalised move is unlikely to be imminent, but it is a piece of positive news for the Anfield faithful nonetheless.
In his time in the Premier League, Mane has notched 21 goals in 67 appearances – impressive going for someone who does not always operate as an out-and-out striker, and has occasionally been embroiled in fairly public bust-ups with the previous manager. While Liverpool’s defence remains an area of concern for Jurgen Klopp, scoring more goals would also aid their progression enormously, and Mane is likely to hit the back of the net much more frequently than any of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino or Adam Lallana.
The 24-year-old could also prove to be a useful foil for Daniel Sturridge in Liverpool’s attack, stretching the opposition’s defence with his pace and determination to get in behind at every opportunity. Perhaps a value that splits the difference – £35 million – would be acceptable for both parties, and Jurgen Klopp would have secured an exceptional talent for next season.
Liverpool’s hunt for a new left-back has been no secret this summer, with several targets having already emerged over the last month or so. Raphael Guerreiro opted to join Klopp’s former side, Dortmund, The Reds have stubbornly refused to exceed their valuation of Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, while speculation surrounding Jonas Hector has died down but not evaporated completely. Away from all of these though, the latest rumour to fill that position is the promising left-back from Hull City – Andy Robertson.
The 22-year-old Scot has enjoyed a successful time with The Tigers under Steve Bruce, rising rapidly to become one of the first names on the team sheet. In Championship football, he has become famed for his marauding runs on the left flank and delivering terrific balls into the penalty box from wide areas – all aspects of Alberto Moreno’s game which Liverpool fans hoped that they would harness. The former Sevilla man has failed to meet these expectations in most people’s opinion, leaving the Anfield outfit in this search for a replacement.
Andy Robertson is not only a potent attacking force, but is also learning the art of defending at an impressive rate. The presence of Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies alongside him at the K.C. Stadium will undoubtedly have aided his progression, leading the Scot to become one of the most highly rated left-backs in the country. A fee of £12 million is apparently what would be required to prise the youngster away from Hull City – more than the value demanded by The Foxes for Ben Chilwell – but the Anfield hierarchy must feel that Robertson presents a more complete option at this stage.
Finally, we turn to the latest developments in the Joe Allen saga which; if most are honest, was expected to have been finalised by now. While reports emerged yesterday of interest from Sevilla, The Reds’ price-tag of £10 million remains firm, and the Spanish side may continue to rival Allen’s other suitors.
It has recently been revealed that Swansea City; the Welshman’s former side before he came to Merseyside, have had an £8 million bid rejected, with this clearly falling short of Liverpool’s target sale value. After enjoying a superb start to Euro 2016, earning praise from the media and fans alike in the process, The Reds may be in position to even demand more than they had originally hoped.
The fact remains that Joe Allen; despite all of his obvious gifts and technical attributes which he brings to his side, will surely be surplus to requirements at Anfield in 2016/17. The Merseyside giants have a vast number of central midfielders on their pay-roll, almost all of which conform to Klopp’s gegenpressing approach more than the ball-playing Allen. It would be a shame to see the brilliantly dubbed ‘Welsh Xavi’ leave, but would also be pleasing to see him flourish at a club where he was deployed to his full potential.
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