As England started off their Euro 2016 campaign in ultimately disappointing fashion, there was some good news for Liverpool fans, as Adam Lallana put in a fabulous display, particularly in the first half. Of the five Reds out in France for The Three Lions, he was the only one to start, perhaps indicating to Jurgen Klopp that an injection of quality is required in his squad, something which can be fixed in the summer transfer window.
One name which has been linked with Liverpool; ever since their proposed move for Mario Götze seemed to fall through a couple of weeks ago, is Sadio Mane. The Senegalese international has been a hit for Southampton ever since his arrival in the Premier League, and it is clear to see why other clubs would be hankering for his services. Exceptional pace, terrific dribbling ability, determination, and an eye for goal are all traits which are valued for attackers throughout the land, and Jurgen Klopp seems to love these kinds of assets more than most.
Reported in The Sun on Sunday, the German manager is prepared to use young winger Jordon Ibe as a make-weight in the deal, surely hoping that the presence of an immediate replacement will help to encourage the South Coast club to part ways with their prize asset. The former Wycombe youngster had a disappointing 2015/16 campaign in most regards, unable to establish himself on the first team as many would have hoped following his initial breakthrough season in the previous year, but is still apparently valued at around £10 million.
Sadio Mane has displayed his versatility to play all across the front line during his time with Southampton and is certainly much more of a goal threat than Jordon Ibe, making him a far more attractive proposition. With the Saints forward not having come out to declare his desire to remain at St. Mary’s it seems that the primary stumbling block will be the transfer fee in question, rumoured to be approaching the £40 million mark!
The inclusion of an up-and-coming prospect in the deal, who still has the potential to be a real star of the future in the Premier League, might be enough to test their resolve, allowing Mane to link up with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge in a red shirt next season.
Another fairly long-running transfer saga is that of Joe Allen’s rumoured move back to his former club Swansea City. The Welsh international enjoyed a great start to his nation’s Euro 2016 campaign, putting in a typically energetic and well-crafted display in the heart of midfield as Wales defeated Slovakia 2-1.
It is not as if this level of performance from Allen is surprising, for Liverpool fans have seen it at close quarters on a number of occasions, but what makes this transfer back to Swansea increasingly likely is the wealth of other options in Klopp’s midfield, most of whom are seen as a better fit in his current system.
Emre Can is apparently in the process of negotiating a new long-term deal, while captain Jordan Henderson and James Milner form the English core of the side, and new signing Marko Grujic is a highly promising youngster – all of whom should find themselves above Allen in the pecking order come the start of 2016/17.
With only 12 months left to run on his current deal at Anfield, if Allen is indeed not thought to be part of the long-term plans on Merseyside, they should look to negotiate a deal now, such that he is not able to leave for nothing in six months’ time. According to the Sunday Mirror, The Reds would accept a £10 million offer for their number 24, a figure that would provide a nice boost to their transfer kitty as they look to strengthen the squad in other areas.
Swansea City’s chairman, Huw Jenkins, has already declared his admiration for the club’s former midfielder, saying:
“I think it’s been well documented that Joe is going to look at his future when he is finished out at Euro 2016.
“Naturally, we are interested in good players like Joe who may be available this summer given that he has a year left on his contract.
“Obviously we will keep tabs on his situation and see what happens later in the summer.”
A move that appears to suit all concerned, it seems that this one is destined to be completed sooner rather than later, perhaps only delayed until Wales’ Euro 2016 journey comes to an end.
Liverpool’s quest to bring Piotr Zielinski to Anfield shows no signs of nearing completion, nor in fact being dead in the water, as the dealings seemingly become increasingly murky by the day. He has reportedly been a name on Jurgen Klopp’s shopping list for some months now, but while the saga has been rumoured to be close to completion at some stages, we are still no closer to finding out the Polish international’s eventual destination.
Conflicting reports seem to suggest that Liverpool have received both a significant boost in recent times, in addition to a crushing blow – so you can decide who to believe, I suppose. As reported in The Mirror, Napoli have apparently agreed a £12 million figure with Udinese that will involve Juan Camilio Zuniga moving the other way. However, Football Italia have included a quote from Napoli’s President, Aurelio De Laurentiis, with a highly frustrated tone clear in his words:
“I negotiated for Zielinski with the Pozzo family and we finalised every detail,” De Laurentiis told the Corriere dello Sport.
“Instead it now seems as if the player is doing everything possible to resist the move and not come here. He wants Liverpool.”
For Liverpool supporters, it is pleasing to see that a player in such demand is exceptionally keen to come to Anfield, despite negotiations already progressing with other clubs. The Reds’ board must now match his levels of commitment in order to bring the Pole to Merseyside.
Jurgen Klopp’s apparent determination to get this deal over the line is strange, given the riches in midfield that Liverpool already possess. Either the former Dortmund manager anticipates one or more of these current players leaving over the summer, or Piotr Zielinski possesses enough quality to displace them from the first team picture as it is. His creative ability is certainly valued, and with nine goals and assists combined during 2015/16, the presence of superior players around him should only encourage rapid growth into an even better player.
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