If reports are to be believed, Liverpool are interested in both Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani, two players who would greatly lift morale at Anfield ahead of the new season.
In the wake of Luis Suarez’s departure to Barcelona, Liverpool have spent just shy of £100 million, but have yet to replace the inspiration of the Uruguayan. It’s no easy task, of course. But the signings made by the club thus far fall well short of the wow-factor that would be generated by similarly world-class reputations.
Liverpool’s efforts to move on from the sale of Suarez were complicated when problems arose during Loic Remy’s medical ahead of a switch from QPR. Being unable to add the French international to the squad – and for a reasonable sum of £8 million – the attack at Anfield remains particularly light of numbers.
It means that we’re now in the final month of the transfer period, with some leagues getting underway this weekend, and Brendan Rodgers is still in need of adding further firepower to his squad; not necessarily as a like-for-like replacement for Suarez, but someone who is good enough to be a regular contributor in front of goal. A little extra star power would be no bad thing either.
And a little under a month until the window closes may sound like plenty of time with which to work, but the selling club also has to be taken into account. Those who sell this late in the day are doing themselves no favours. By getting major sales done early, clubs allow for enough time to find suitable replacements.
Liverpool’s interest in both Falcao and Cavani makes sense, but both are not without their complications.
Falcao may have just returned from a long-term injury layoff, but that isn’t the only problem Liverpool will face if they’re serious about landing the Colombian. Real Madrid’s interest in the striker is long standing; many were of the opinion that Monaco were acting as a bridge between Atletico Madrid and Real, with the former unwilling to sell to their city rivals. If Florentino Perez is tempted this summer, Liverpool stand little to no chance of landing the striker.
There’s a similar case with Cavani too. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are said to be tracking the Paris Saint-Germain forward, with the Parisians keen to move on one or two of their high earners this summer.
Cavani may not have had the best of times in front of goal in 2014, but he’d make plenty of teams around Europe better – including Liverpool.
The problem is that if he is to move, there will surely be plenty of intrigue by what’s going on at both United and Arsenal before the Uruguayan commits. What Liverpool can offer, certainly ahead of United, is an assurance that Cavani will see most of his games through the middle as a centre-forward, which won’t be guaranteed at Old Trafford, and which wasn’t the case last season at PSG.
Nevertheless, a move on Cavani, or someone of his reputation, is unlikely to go unchallenged, especially at the tail end of the window.
Liverpool’s problem in adding another forward is heightened further by their desperation as the transfer period winds to a close. Daniel Sturridge is one of only two options Rodgers has at centre-forward, and he’s already picked up an injury. As for Rickie Lambert, using him, a 32-year-old, as anything beyond a backup striker would not go down well, both at Anfield and in the team’s participation in the Premier League title race.
But there is also a sense that Liverpool haven’t really moved forward this summer, despite spending as much as they have. Even Tottenham, with whom the comparisons are clear as day, looked like they had done far better last summer than Liverpool have this. And yes, maybe it is advisable to hold fire on Liverpool’s transfer business until we’re well into the season, but reaction and morale is important. Where Tottenham were impressive, Liverpool have been underwhelming. Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado look much better, on paper at least, than Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert.
Liverpool may yet land the striker they need to help them through the rigours of a Premier League and Champions League-combined schedule. But with so many pieces said to be in play over the coming weeks, it’s possible that Rodgers may have missed the boat on signing a forward, of sufficient quality, who was available and willing to move to Anfield ahead of rival destinations.