‘Marquee signings’ is a phrase that has continually plagued Brendan Rodgers throughout his three years as Liverpool manager.
Despite a total spend of £210million on transfers in that time period, Rodgers is yet to land an acquisition of the genuine ‘marquee’ variety – an experienced, high-quality player who instantly improves the starting Xi and forms a statement of obvious intent.
It’s not for the want of trying; Henrik Mkhitaryan, Radamel Falcao, Willian, Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez are just a few who’ve found themselves in Liverpool’s transfer crosshairs over the last few summers, but all have joined divisional and continental rivals instead.
Rodgers is determined in his mission to source one, however, insisting earlier this season that the board will back him in the search for such an acquisition – as reported by Sky Sports.
But considering his failed efforts so far, Football Fancast feel compelled to lend a hand. We’ve listed FIVE ‘marquee’ signings the Reds could realistically make this summer.
Last week The Express claimed Manchester United had agreed a deal to sign Roberto Firmino. But seeing as neither club have officially confirmed the transfer yet, let’s assume the Hoffenheim star is still available.
The attacking midfielder has been in sensational form over the last two campaigns, bagging 23 goals and 21 assists in 66 Bundesliga outings, whilst proving equally proficient in a variety of roles, spanning both wings, central midfield and centre-forward.
He’s generating a bit of a reputation on the international scene too, with three goals in his first six outings for Brazil, suggesting Firmino can more than handle the high quality of the Premier League.
But perhaps most importantly, at just 23 years of age, Firmino is a marquee acquisition befitting of the FSG model – youthful, ambitious and capable of adding vast sums to their transfer value by further developing at Anfield.
The Express mooted a fee of £13million – which is an absolute steal for one of the most impressive young talents in the Bundesliga. But along with Manchester United, Manchester City are known admirers of the former Figueirense youngster.
Over the weekend, reports emerged of Monaco reportedly preparing to cash-in on star midfielder Joao Moutinho, a former target for the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
No doubt, the Portugal international is a sensational talent, a playmaking extraordinaire equally comfortable in central, defensive and attacking midfield. This season he claimed four goals and six assists in 37 Ligue 1 outings, whilst averaging 2.1 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 1.9 created chances per match.
Set to turn 29 in September, however, some of Moutinho’s prior suitors might be a little put off by his age and although Monaco are looking to raise funds, they won’t be letting the 78-cap international leave on the cheap.
That leaves Liverpool in a rather niche position. And although The Daily Star claim Moutinho would cost £28million, he could well be the trendy, modern Steven Gerrard replacement Liverpool are searching for this summer.
A speculative suggestion but certainly not one beyond the realms of possibility. Juventus are yet to extend Claudio Marchisio’s contract past the end of next season and his agent has admitted to some offers from abroad.
The Italy international may not be as dynamic Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba, or as eye-catching as Andrea Pirlo, but he’s a true midfield all-rounder, with great athleticism, tenacity, technical quality creativity – as he demonstrated with his beautiful flick on in the Champions League final.
He’s spanned both flanks, defensive midfield, central midfield and No.10 for Juve this term and offers Liverpool a mountain of experience, with 52 caps, 54 outings in Europe and four Serie A titles under his belt already.
At 29 years of age, he might be yet another Europe’s top clubs will feel reluctant to invest too heavily in. But Marchisio would certainly bring huge improvements and experience to Liverpool’s midfield – and Italians have a knack of not retiring until their very, very late 30s.
Transfermarkt rate him at around £25million, however, which seems a little steep.
Theo Walcott may be just outside the world’s winger-forward elite but he’s certainly not too far behind in terms of output, boasting 58 goals in his last 166 appearances for Arsenal.
Furthermore, his lethal pace on the break suits Liverpool’s counter-attacking style perfectly, and unlike the other suggestions on this list the 26 year-old comes with the added benefit of proven compatibility with the Premier League.
The England international represents another ambiguous contract situation the Reds could take advantage of, with his current deal set to expire in 2016.
Arsene Wenger is keen for Walcott to pen extended terms, but the longer we wait for negotiations to conclude the more likely a move away from the Emirates becomes.
A swap deal that would see Liverpool’s very own contract rebel Raheem Sterling go the other way has been continuously speculated by the tabloids over the last few months.
Carlos Tevez may be 31 years of age but he’s still proving himself to be one of the best in the business, firing Juventus to consecutive Serie A titles and this season’s Champions League final with 50 goals in 95 appearances for the Old Lady.
With his contract entering its final year and Juve linked with a host of centre-forwards alongside confirmed signing Paulo Dybala, it looks as if the Argentina international’s short but successful Turin tenure will be coming to an end this summer.
There’s been talk of a move to the MLS, Boca Juniors or Atletico Madrid. But through his typically South American blend of flair and tenacity, he could well be the replacement to Luis Suarez Liverpool failed to source in the transfer market last summer.
Furthermore, the 5 foot 8 forward boasts a fantastic track record in English football, amassing 84 goals in 202 appearances and winning two league titles, the 2008 Champions League title and one FA Cup throughout his spells with West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City.
According to The Metro, Juve are prepared to sell for just £10million. But Tevez’ potential wage demands and his knack of making enemies in the dressing room are lingering concerns.