Happy New Year folks and welcome to the January transfer window, a magical place where price-tags mean absolutely nothing and credible reporting is strictly prohibited.
Indeed, a £2million teenager can be worth £20million by the end of the week, whilst even the most loyal of stars who have just signed five-year contracts could abruptly decide to jump ship to the middle east because their manager didn’t shake their hand for long enough after being substituted back in September.
The January transfer window is undoubtedly a very silly place, but the dangers are nonetheless very real. In comparison to its summer counterpart, the winter window is thwarted with booby-traps; big money flops in disguise as superstars, mercurial starlets primed to become panic buys and trusted veterans who secretly only have eyes for a final pay day.
It’s something Liverpool supporters are only too aware off – lest we forget, the Reds’ club-record signing is still £35million January 2011 addition Andy Carroll.
So with that in mind and the winter window firmly upon us, here’s FIVE rumoured targets Liverpool should avoid at all costs this month…
Former Barcelona starlet Bojan has certainly impressed since moving to the Britannia Stadium in summer 2014 and rumour has it his contract includes a £10million release clause – with Liverpool one of the clubs looking to take him off Stoke City’s hands.
No doubt, the Reds will struggle to find better value-for-money for an attacker of proven Premier League quality during the January transfer window.
Yet, No.10s are a rather deceptive bunch; the fact is, they all look incredibly talented when enjoying decent form because their role in the side insists upon an entertaining style of play.
The real litmus test is comparing to other No.10s and although Bojan has been in good knick this term, bagging five goals in 15 Premier League appearances, he’s not exactly superior to Liverpool’s current options – namely Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool’s squad an lacks an out-and-out wide-man and acquiring one will likely be amongst Jurgen Klopp’s leading priorities this month, but I’m not so convinced rumoured target Lucas Moura is the right man for the job.
Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign him for Manchester United in summer 2012 and the 23-year-old is notorious for his blistering pace, so he certainly seems suitable to counter-attacking manner of the English top flight.
Yet, the Brazil international’s limited impact at PSG casts serious doubts over his credentials. After all, the Parisians have completely dominated Ligue 1 during Moura’s three-and-a-half terms at Parc de Princes but he’s never been a guaranteed starter under Laurent Blanc or scored more than eight times during a single campaign.
That poses huge question marks, especially considering PSG allegedly want £22million for the South American.
Controversial, perhaps, considering no player involved in Europe’s five leading top flights has scored more goals than Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this season, who boasts a whopping 18 from just 17 Bundesliga appearances.
But should Liverpool really be on the lookout for another front-man this month? Despite Christian Benteke apparently not fitting Jurgen Klopp’s style of play, the Belgium international has still scored six goals in twelve Premier League starts this season, including two in his last three outings, and although Daniel Sturridge has missed much of the campaign through injury, he averages almost a goal per game when fully fit.
Likewise, Divock Origi is decent enough cover and showed his potential with a Capital One Cup hat-trick against Southampton in December, whilst even versatile forward Roberto Firmino proved a tactically useful option when deployed as an emergency front-man during shock wins over Chelsea and Manchester City.
Furthermore, front-man No.5,1 Danny Ings, who scored twice in five Premier League outings, will return from injury in time for next season. So do the Reds really have room for another centre-forward – one that will reportedly cost them a club-record £42million? The money could be better spent elsewhere.
The same applies to Alexandre Pato, although the former Brazil international is embroiled in even more doubts than the aforementioned Aubameyang.
The 26-year-old is best famed for his spell as AC Milan’s free-scoring teenager, netting 51 times in 117 Serie A appearances for the San Siro outfit before enduring a spate of injury problems and returning to Brazilian domestic football in January 2013.
The stats suggest Pato has since revived his career, notching up 26 goals across all competitions during the 2015 campaign, with the tabloids resultantly billing him as one of the best deals of the January transfer window.
But Brazilian goal tallies are incredibly deceptive, because so many games are played at regional level rather than in the national league. Eight of Pato’s goals in 2015, for example, were in the Campeonato Paulista – also known as the top flight for the state of Sao Paulo.
His actual return in Brazil’s Serie A was ten in 30 – hardly exemplary for a striker who has previously spent the best part of six years in European football.
The vast majority of Liverpool fans are desperate to see Jurgen Klopp sign a goalkeeper who can usurp the hap-hazard Simon Mignolet from between the Anfield sticks and Stoke City’s Jack Butland has understandably been billed as one of the leading candidates.
The 22-year-old has been in exceptional form this season, making the second-most saves and keeping the third-most clean sheets of any Premier League goalkeeper, and has rapidly emerged as a genuine competitor for Joe Hart’s No.1 jersey in the England fold.
Yet, this is unquestionably a transfer window too soon for the Potters prodigy. We’ve certainly seen Butland at his best but we’re yet to see him at his worst which, if Simon Mignolet has taught us anything, is arguably more important when considering goalkeeper additions.
Likewise, convincing Mark Hughes’ side to sell after having the former Birmingham youngster in their starting Xi for just six months would require a monolithic premium – especially considering he’s home-grown.