Liverpool’s pre-season is now officially over, ending with a 4-0 defeat to Mainz after a victory by the same score-line over Barcelona less than 24 hours earlier, but their business in the transfer market is far from over, with several names expected to arrive and depart before the end of the window.
One name almost certain to depart is striker Christian Benteke. The Belgian disappointed following his £32.5 million move from Aston Villa last summer, scoring just ten times in the Premier League, and failing to adapt to the systems of either Jurgen Klopp or his predecessor Brendan Rodgers.
Now it appears there may be a way out of the club for Benteke, with Turkish champions Besiktas declaring their interest in the forward. The Istanbul-based side are looking for a new centre forward for their upcoming Champions League campaign after Mario Gomez stated his desire to leave the fractious political situation in Turkey behind him.
However a potential snag on the deal is price, with Besiktas currently only willing to spend £21 million on the deal, way short of Liverpool’s £30 million valuation. Bearing in mind that a £27 million bid from Crystal Palace has already been turned down, Besiktas; who have also expressed interest in a loan move, will really need to up their value if they are to get their hands on Benteke.
For Liverpool, whilst they don’t want to be hanging onto Benteke and wasting his career, sending him to a Champions League club in a different league is preferable than sending him to Crystal Palace or West Ham, but they do not want to be taken for mugs and must hold out for their stated asking price. If they cannot get that, then a loan move must be the way to move on from their Benteke nightmare.
Elsewhere, the Reds have continued to be linked with the loan signing of 17-year-old Real Madrid winger Martin Odegaard, but face competition from West Ham United.
The Norwegian interested Liverpool before his transfer to the Bernabeu last January, but it is currently more likely that he will move to the Olympic Stadium after the Irons lost Manuel Lanzini to a knee injury. With Real Madrid keen for Odegaard more first team football, a loan move to Anfield simply makes no sense.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum and Lazar Markovic, as well as a plethora of youngsters including Sheyi Ojo are all currently competing for a very limited number of spots in attacking midfield, and there is simply no space for a player from another club coming in and adding to the stockpile.
Although supremely talented, he is yet to produce anything outside of Norway that would suggest that he is good enough to play regularly for Liverpool, which is why they should not go for the move. If they were short of talent in his position, it would be a different story, but signing Odegaard would be pointless for both club and player.
Finally, Liverpool’s long standing pursuit of Köln left-back Jonas Hector may be set to continue, with Sky Sports suggesting that the Reds are preparing a £20 million offer.
After an excellent Euros for Germany, as well as consistently solid performances for his club, who are one of the stingiest in the Bundesliga, Hector has become hot property on the transfer market this summer.
£20 million may seem like a lot of money to spend on a left-back, but with Alberto Moreno struggling and midfielder James Milner seemingly Klopp’s first choice, it may be worth investing heavily in the 26-year-old. Hector is a stable defender and a competent attacker. He may not have the thrills of Moreno going forward, but he scored and assisted just as many goals as the Spaniard last season and doesn’t carry the baggage of being incapable of defending.
He would be an expensive fit, but he is the right player for their problem. Liverpool should go ahead and sign Hector if they can.
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