Liverpool: West Brom join race for striker; Argentine midfielder linked; ex-England defender joins as scout
The new Premier League season is now just days away, and Liverpool have added seven brand new faces to their squad this summer ahead of their opener against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
However, there is still plenty of unresolved business in the transfer market for the Reds. No new left back has arrived, and there has been no resolution on the futures of unsettled strikers Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli.
The future of Benteke may be resolved fairly soon though, with Crystal Palace already known to be interested, but the striker may also be interesting West Bromwich Albion, who are expecting Saido Berahino to leave the club.
Liverpool are keen to recoup all of the £32.5 million they spent on signing Benteke from Aston Villa last season, which would mean West Brom smashing their transfer record. The Midlands side pulled the pug on a £15 million move to Diafra Sakho due to fitness concerns, but a move for Benteke would cost more than double that. A move for the Belgian would be a serious statement of intent from their new Chinese owners.
As for the striker, who despite his struggles still managed nine goals in 14 Liverpool starts, a move to Tony Pulis’ West Brom could be the ideal transfer. The big, bustling, Belgian’s physical style would fit in with Pulis’ robust tactics like a glove, and he would flourish with the kind of deliveries provided by the deep crosses the team specialise in.
He would succeed at both West Brom and Crystal Palace, but it is important to bear in mind that the Baggies already have a Benteke-esque player in the shape of Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon, who may be too similar to the Belgian to form a successful partnership. At Palace, Benteke would be unique, or at least a fairly large upgrade on Connor Wickham, Pardew’s current preferred target man.
Either would be a good fit for the striker, though, and if the Reds can get in excess of £30 million for their man, they won’t mind where he goes.
Elsewhere, Liverpool have been linked with Roma midfielder Leandro Paredes, who has been tipped to leave the Italian club this summer.
Paredes impressed on loan at Empoli last season, just like former Reds target Piotr Zielinski, and the Argentine midfielder has been tipped to leave in a £16 million deal. Liverpool are interested in the 22-year-old’s useful combination of tidy passing and tough tackling, which is something the squad really lacks at the moment in the centre of the park, which could make Paredes a very astute signing.
However, the Argentine has expressed his desire to remain in Italy, which makes Juventus the favourites for his signature. Monaco and Manchester City are reportedly also interested in the battle for Paredes, making this a tough signing for Liverpool to pull off, but if they can, it could be a very good deal indeed.
Finally, Liverpool have bolstered their backroom team with the capture of former England defender Jonathan Woodgate as a scout.
Woodgate, who was one of England’s most intelligent but injury plagued defenders, played for a number of clubs including Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid. His scouting duties are expected to be in Spain and Portugal, and his football intelligence should translate into helping him spot some good future talent. A good move for Liverpool.
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