It’s hard to believe that the transfer window is not yet open! Every day new rumours are cropping up and Liverpool themselves are heavily involved – after all, they’ve already tied up the additions of three players in the shape of James Milner, Adam Bogdan and Danny Ings, albeit the latter’s compensation fee is dragging a little.
And if reports are to be believed, the Reds are now chasing Roberto Firmino of Hoffenheim, putting them in direct competition with Manchester United…. The Merseysiders have already lost Memphis Depay to their old enemies this summer – ‘secret talks’ with the Dutchman were clearly insufficient – and there is a real worry among fans that this one may have a feeling of déjà vu.
At FFC Towers we believe that Liverpool cannot risk losing out again, and here are FIVE reasons we think they must go all out for Firmino…
Liverpool’s big issue last season was goals, or rather a lack of. The exit of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge’s injury woes knocked 49 from their 2013/14 tally of 101, which left them floundering behind the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal in the Champions League qualification tussle. Although a traditional striker would appear to be the best remedy, Firmino’s record in terms of both chance creation and putting the ball in the back of the net is staggering.
Over the last two full league seasons the 23-year-old has weighed in with 23 goals and 21 assists for Hoffenheim – a midtable side – illustrating his danger from an attacking midfield role. When compared to the players he’d be in direct competition with at Anfield, his numbers last term are impressive, too. Raheem Sterling matched his goal output with seven – albeit he played more minutes and was used as a centre-forward for large chunks of time – while his 10 assists are double that of Liverpool’s key playmaker, Philippe Coutinho, and in excess of Sterling’s tally of seven.
Firmino spent much of last season (as shown above) floating around the final third of the pitch. Although a ‘No.10’ primarily, he’s comfortable on the left flank or as a striker, which could be of use to Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman is known to appreciate tactically and positionally diverse players, and the ability to use Firmino in basically any role along the front three could afford him more options as he plots a top four push.
It may be time to face reality, Sterling looks to be on his way out. Manchester City’s reported increased bid of £35m plus £5m in add-ons suggests that they’re determined to land the 20-year-old, even though the Reds are set to dig in. Should his £50m valuation be met, or a fee close to that received, the Merseysiders may well find it’s time to part ways, but a replacement will be needed. Firmino appears in terms of position and playing style a good like-for-like signing, and the increased interest amid the Sterling saga cannot be just a coincidence…
The sale of Suarez, the exit of Steven Gerrard and some underwhelming, Milner aside, additions have left Liverpool looking like a side regressing towards midtable. But, a big name addition could be the remedy and send out a message to rivals and fans that the Merseysiders mean business. Beating Manchester United to the player in itself would be a huge, while possessing one of Europe’s most highly-rated emerging playmakers would boost levels of optimism.
Depending on the reports, Firmino appears to be valued between £13.1m and £18m, with Hoffenheim’s lack of European football, perhaps, a big factor in his relatively affordable valuation. With three players in – Milner, Ings and Bogdan – on Bosman deals, Liverpool surely have cash to spent, with the Premier League’s bumper TV deal having boosted coffers up and down the division. Money for Firmino, then…