Prior to Luis Suarez-gate, Liverpool looked to be in a rosy position in terms of transfers. A good season in which Brendan Rodgers had almost achieved the impossible meant that the Northern Irishman has £70m-ish at his disposal to build on, arguably, the most exciting squad in the Premier League.
Local lad Rickie Lambert was the first arrival to be announced, before news broke that a deal had been reached for Emre Can – one of German football’s most promising midfielders. Then the Adam Lallana saga reached its climax as a £23m deal was agreed with Southampton, guaranteeing that one of England’s most talented playmakers would be seen in a red shirt next season. Imagine these three with Suarez. Wow.
Oh. Barcelona want Luis? The Uruguayan has bitten someone? He wants out? Oh dear! After a whirlwind few weeks it’s clear that the Reds now face their first season back in European football’s biggest competition without the man that was largely responsible for getting them there. For all his cries of loyalty and happiness, ‘El Pistolero’ found the lure of Barca too great. Who can blame him? Football is a fickle business.
Liverpool have got themselves a good deal as well. Suarez will be 29 in around 18 months time. A figure north of £60m for a player whose value will only decline from now on is shrewd to say the least.
However, it will only be a wise sale if the Merseysiders re-invest to at least stay at the same level. Alexis Sanchez was the man they wanted, but the bright lights of London attracted the Chilean like a moth to the Arsenal flame, leaving Anfield awaiting Wilfried Bony…
No disrespect to the powerful Ivorian, but he is not of the same calibre as Suarez or the Chilean that got away. He may have hit 26 goals in his debut season for Swansea, but will he have enough about him to unlock top European defences? Or take Liverpool that one step further to league glory? I’ve consulted my magic 8-ball, and the outlook is bleak.
Simply put, Liverpool must show more ambition. Rodgers needs a genuine world-class talent to replace a genuine world-class talent. It’s not rocket science. Spurs learnt that lesson the hard way 12 months ago when they let Gareth Bale head off to sunny Spain. A year later and the Lilywhites are further away than they were from the top four and have nobody fit to lace the Welshman’s boots despite splashing over £100m.
Liverpool aren’t as dependent as the Londoners were on Bale, and thus the slide shouldn’t be so drastic. But they will need a top class player to link up with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Lallana.
So with that in mind, let’s look at the options out there:
Karim Benzema: World class striker. Proven record at Real Madrid. £40m.
Gonzalo Higuain: Great goalscorer. World Cup finalist. £30m+
Mario Balotelli: A bit mad. Top talent. £30m.
Edinson Cavani: Can put the ball in the net. Wants to leave PSG. £50m-ish.
You get the picture. Bony may be available for around £19m, but a little more ‘cash splashing’ would ensure that Liverpool get it right and get a world class player to Anfield.
Simply put, it’s time to pay up or go home. Let’s hope home for Liverpool is not the middle of the table. That would be a huge blow for a club with such history and promise.