Liverpool Opinion: Chiesa will be a blockbuster signing for the Reds
According to a recent report by the Daily Express, Premier League giants Liverpool are said to have cast their eye on Fiorentina’s Italian international winger Federico Chiesa regarding a possible move for the youngster in the upcoming summer transfer window.
It has been suggested that the prodigious winger is one of many players that manager Jurgen Klopp has shortlisted ahead of what could be a very important season for them.
Liverpool were just edged out by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side to the Premier League title but the champions’ defeat to Spurs in the semifinal of the Champions League set up a thrilling final for Reds fans.
Liverpool were the eventual winners as Mauricio Pochettino’s men pulled off an epic bottle job on the biggest stage. Despite Harry Kane’s premature return from injury, it wasn’t enough to keep the potent Liverpool attack at bay.
While more additions are being planned by the Liverpool hierarchy, whether or not they’re able to beat City to the long-awaited Premier League title next season could decide just how effective their sudden surge of success turns out to be.
Although they already have a fairly stacked side, there are certain areas within the team where a few acquisitions wouldn’t hurt their cause.
Although Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane did well together last season and ended up sharing the Golden Boot, the question of what happens to this side when one of them suffers from an inevitable knock remains up in the air.
The presence of talented players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will lessen the burden on Jurgen Klopp’s shoulders but some additional signings are certainly in order.
Moving for a player of the quality and potential of Federico Chiesa is certainly a pretty big statement by this Liverpool side.
His overall wing play is what has made him one of the most exciting young talents of this generation and on the pitch, he doesn’t give any impression of being a 21-year-old.
Supremely composed and collected on the ball, the Italian uses his body well to guard the ball and is more than capable of beating a man or two on his own.
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He is a tall player who gets around the pitch with ease and isn’t afraid to put himself about while defending as well. Extremely good at tracking back and helping out the full-back, it would seem like the Italian has the ideal attributes to be a massive hit in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s interest in the player says a lot about his quality and getting this deal through the door at the earliest should be Jurgen Klopp’s number one priority in the summer.
Klopp’s next priority? – Liverpool’s No. 10 woes would end if they sign this £30m-rated Eredivisie powerhouse
Liverpool Opinion: £30 million- bargain Hakim Ziyech could solve the Reds No.10 woes next season
According to the Mirror, Champions League semi-finalists and Eredivisie champions Ajax have set a price tag of £30 million for in-demand attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech, with reports claiming that Premier League giants Arsenal and Liverpool have registered an interest in the Moroccan ace.
The Mirror claims that Ziyech also has offers on the table from Serie A giants Roma, as well as clubs in Spain and Germany, but the 26-year-old has not had his head turned by the transfer speculations.
Hakim Ziyech is not the only Ajax player to have attracted interest from bigger clubs, though, with the Mirror suggesting that the Dutch champions are currently having to brace themselves against approaches for several of their star players, including the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, David Neres and others.
Ziyech has been on the radar of Liverpool for quite some time now, and his heroics in the Champions League this season might just prompt the Reds to firm up their interest in the 26-year-old.
The Moroccan was one of the key driving forces behind Ajax’s fairytale run to the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition, as the playmaker contributed with 3 goals and 3 assists to propel Erik ten Hag’s side to the last four before they eventually lost out to Spurs.
The 26-year-old has established himself as one of the mainstays of a hugely impressive Ajax side over the past couple of seasons, earning rave reviews for his playmaking abilities in the Eredivisie. Ziyech contributed with an eye-watering 16 goals and 13 assists in 29 appearances in the Dutch top flight this past season to help his team clinch the domestic title.
Ziyech has been amongst the standout performers in the Dutch league for a long time, and now that he has showcased his ability to deliver the goods against top-quality opposition in the Champions League, Liverpool might just be tempted to play a gamble on him this summer.
In fact, Ajax’s£30 million valuation of the playmaker should set the fans at Anfield licking their lips, given that such a fee is considered quite modest for a top-drawer Premier League side in the current market scenario. It won’t be too much of a risk for the Reds to fork out£30 million for a highly-creative player like Ziyech, simply because of the fact that his arrival could potentially solve a key issue for Jurgen Klopp and company.
Looking back at the previous campaign, one area where Liverpool lagged behind Man City was the absence of an influential central attacking midfielder.
The Reds have been without an out-and-out No.10 in their ranks since the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona and that is something Klopp needs to sort out this summer, despite the likes of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino racking up goals and assists for fun.
To be honest, there was very little to choose between Man City and Liverpool in the Premier League last term, and while the Reds should be happy to have gotten their hands on the Champions League, Klopp needs to add that little bit of unpredictability and X-factor to his midfield.
The likes of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho and James Milner all played their part exceptionally well but they do not particularly fall in the bracket of creative players.
Liverpool largely played a 4-3-3 formation over the course of the previous campaign, with Salah and Mane starting in wide roles on either side of the pitch to complement Firmino in a false 9 role.
However, a closer look at the team dynamics would reveal that Salah and Mane predominantly drifted inwards to get inside the box, while full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson provided width and creativity from the flanks.
Alexander-Arnold and Robertson racked up a combined total of 29 assists in all competitions this past season, which is indicative of the fact that the Reds depended heavily on their full-backs for creativity.
However, one cannot help but feel that the addition of a dynamic No.10 to their ranks would add another dimension to the team’s attack and make them all the more formidable in the final third.
A technically-gifted and tactically-versatile elegant, yet explosive left-footed creative ace, Ziyech has all the ammunition in his repertoire to set the stage on fire with his creativity, vision and footballing intelligence.
He has often been used as a right-winger due to his left-footed nature but Liverpool should be looking at him as an out-and-out No.10 in a central attacking role behind their prolific front trio.
Adept at linking up with the attackers up front and breaking the opposition’s lines with his highly creative passing, Ziyech has flair, trickery, sharpness and agility to create his own space in the midfield, whilst his eye for final balls always keeps the defenders on their toes.
A tricky customer who always seems to have some magic up his sleeve, the Moroccan is not only an expert playmaker but he is also very much capable of scoring goals from outside the box, with his powerful left foot making him an absolute gem of an attacking asset.
To add to that, his set-piece ability is comparable to the very best in the world and his propensity for getting inside the box to score goals could transform Liverpool into a near-unbeatable force, not only in the Premier League but also in Europe.
Ziyech accumulated a total of 106 key passes in the Eredivisie this term and also completed 76 of his attempted 94 dribbles, which is an incredible success rate for any player. Furthermore, he attempted a total of 154 shots over the course of 29 outings, stats which look simply jaw-dropping on paper.
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To sum it up, it is not difficult to see why the acquisition of Hakim Ziyech would be a massive coup for the Reds, and at £30 million, he might as well prove to be the bargain of the season.
Surplus to requirement? – It’s high time for Liverpool to bid adieu to this £25m-rated flop as soon as possible
Liverpool Opinion: The Reds should not hesitate to cash in on Dejan Lovren amidst AC Milan links
According to the Express, Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren has been lined up as a potential transfer target by Serie A giants AC Milan but the Reds have slapped a £25million price tag on the 29-year-old Croatian international.
The same source claims that Liverpool are not going to push Lovren away from Anfield, given that the 29-year-old is one of the longest-serving players at the club. However, the Reds might be forced to rethink their stance should Milan table a bid that they simply can’t refuse.
Lovren, who made his move to Liverpool from Southampton back in 2014 for a fee of £20 million, played a key role for the club at the heart of the defence in his first four seasons but he fell out of favour since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, with Klopp preferring the partnership of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk at the back.
The long-term injury to Gomez opened the door for the 29-year-old to reclaim his spot in the team but he failed to do so, thanks to his fair share of problems with injuries.
Cameroonian international Joe Matip played a more significant role for the Champions League winners at the back this past season, with the 27-year-old featuring 22 times in the Premier League, as compared to Lovren’s 13 league appearances.
However, Lovren continues to be one of the most esteemed figures at Anfield, having made a total of 170 appearances for the Reds in all competitions till date.
Lovren didn’t look at his sparkling best in the Premier League last season and the Croatian struggled for form and fitness over the entire course of the campaign, as the Reds clinched the Champions League title and finished runners-up to Man City in the league.
With Virgil van Dijk establishing himself as a world-class centre-back at Liverpool and youngster Joe Gomez winning the trust of manager Jurgen Klopp, it looks unlikely that the 29-year-old Croatian will play a significant role for the Reds next season, unless there is a grave injury crisis.
Joel Matip did exceptionally well against the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the Champions League and it looks like the Cameroonian is way ahead of Lovren in the race to establish himself as the third-choice centre-back in Liverpool’s ranks.
As things stand, Lovren is in danger of slipping down to fourth in the centre-back ranks at Anfield next season, and that could possibly see him make only a few sporadic appearances.
To put things into perspective, Liverpool have a reputation of playing hardball in the market even with the potential suitors for some of their less important players. The Reds pocketed £15 million and £26 million from the sales of Jordon Ibe and Mamadou Sakho to Bournemouth and Crystal Palace respectively and it looks like that they are going to do the same with Lovren.
In all honesty, Liverpool do not need to make too many changes to their ranks this summer, especially after spending a fortune last time around.
The Reds enjoyed a hugely successful campaign last term and it makes perfect sense for them to stay away from making any marquee signings. The Champions League victory over Spurs would certainly have boosted Liverpool’s transfer kitty and the potential sale of Lovren to AC Milan would also add some more valuable funds.
Liverpool should consider themselves lucky if Milan decide to go ahead and meet their £25 million asking price for Lovren, which would see the Reds pocket a profit of £5 million from the Croatian’s sale.
Given that he is already 29, Liverpool would hardly get a better chance to make a profit by selling him, and with Lovren struggling for form and fitness, the Reds should definitely consider getting him off their books.
Lovren is unlikely to play a massive role next term and Liverpool should look to try and reinvest the funds from his sale in a young and talented defender, with a view to grooming him for a future first-team role.
Having already spent a fortune to build a first team full of international stars, the Reds now need to focus on bringing in promising youngsters to build a strong platform for continued success.
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The 29-year-old is at a point in his career where his powers are going to wane very soon and Liverpool can certainly do without him in their ranks next season.
Taking the aforementioned factors into consideration, offloading him for a sizeable fee would be a smart piece of business for the Reds.
Liverpool shelling out €30m to sign this 28-year-old striker makes absolutely no sense for both parties involved
Liverpool Opinion: Why Moussa Marega to Liverpool makes little sense for both parties involved
According to the Liverpool Echo, Champions League winnersLiverpool have been linked with a shock swoop for Porto striker Moussa Marega in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that the Portuguese giants are likely to hold out for a fee in the region of €30million to part ways with the 28-year-old.
Liverpool are not the only club to have been linked with a move for the Malian hitman, though, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that West Ham are also keen on securing his services.
Marega enjoyed yet another prolific season at Porto in the Portuguese top-flight this term and helped his club finish runners-up to Benfica in the Primeira Liga, whilst also playing a key role in their march to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The 28-year-old contributed with 21 goals and 11 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions for Porto and his scintillating run of form in front of goal and put some of the English clubs on red alert.
Marega has been a revelation in Europe since his move to Porto from fellow Portuguese outfit Maritimo in the summer of 2016 and boasts of an eye-watering record for his current club, having bagged 45 goals and 19 assists in 100 appearances till date.
Regarded as a powerful and versatile centre-forward, Marega is capable of playing virtually anywhere across the forward line. Essentially a centre-forward by trade, the 28-year-old has also been used as a supporting striker in a No.10 role and out wide on either flank over the course of his time at Porto.
A fast, sharp and agile striker noted for his athleticism, supreme upper body strength, aerial ability and direct style of play, Marega likes to run at defenders with aggressiveness and often taken them out of the equation with his raw power and brute force.
A natural finisher blessed with a keen for key passes in the final third, Marega is not only adept at scoring at will but he is also more than capable of using short exchanges to link up with his teammates.
The 28-year-old also catches the eye with his poaching instincts and awareness in front of goal, having showcased the ability to find the net with both feet and head.
Marega, who is set to add to his 18 caps for Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations next month, certainly deserves a chance to prove his credentials in the Premier League, having already showcased his skills in the Champions League against top-quality opposition.
Agreed, he has all the raw attributes to fit seamlessly into the style of play prevalent in England. However, the main question here is- Do Liverpool really need him? And, would a move to Anfield suit Marega?
Well, with all due respect to his abilities as a versatile and powerful striker, one can’t help but feel that Marega would simply be a glorified bench-warmer at Anfield.
Of course, Liverpool won’t do themselves much harm by forking out 30 million to get the 28-year-old on board this summer and the Reds have every reason to look at him as a like-for-like replacement for Daniel Sturridge.
However, they need to understand that Marega would not necessarily fit into Jurgen Klopp’s plans, given the plethora of attacking talent already in the ranks at Anfield.
It’s hard to see Marega challenging the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino for a role in the first team and we all know that Klopp doesn’t tamper with his lethal front trio too often.
Arguments that Liverpool need good enough back-up for their prolific front three have already been nullified by the move to offer Divock Origi a new deal, whilst Xherdan Shaqiri continues to be a useful impact player from the bench.
Now, it would have been sensible for Liverpool to invest in Marega had they not already secured Origi’s long-term future at the club. Given that Salah, Mane and Firmino are all very much in their prime, Origi and Shaqiri will only be expected to play second-fiddle to them in the pecking order and Marega should not expect any better than that.
At 28, he doesn’t fit the bill of a promising youngster, meaning Liverpool are not really looking at him as someone for the future, meaning that making a move for him goes against all logic and reason.
Looking at things from the Marega’s point of view, the Malian is very much at the top of his game right now and he wouldn’t want his prime years to be wasted away by constantly warning the benches at Liverpool.
The 28-year-old has hit the 20-goal mark with effortless ease over the past couple of seasons at Porto and he deserves to lead the line for a top European club but a move to Liverpool would only stall his progress, given the level of competition for places in the attacking ranks at Anfield.
As harsh as it might sound, it would be a pity to see him do next to nothing at Liverpool after enjoying such a prolific season in Portugal.
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