Liverpool should aim to replicate Diogo Jota’s masterstroke in the summer transfer window
This article is part of a series of thematic readings on the ‘transfer committee’ on Liverpool.com, where writers focus on Liverpool’s transfer inflows this summer and, with a fixed budget of £65million, draw their own agreements. Liverpool have sold Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Sheyi Ojo, Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson to accommodate the budget. They also saved on the salaries of Gini Wijnaldum and Adrian going on free transfers. All authors will plot the summer strategy using transfer market valuations.
The first was Dan Morgan. Next: Joel Rabinowitz.
I have identified three priority items to tackle with my £65m budget here. First, I want a versatile young striker who is already a significant improvement on Origi and Shaqiri but also has a lot of potential to unlock.
Secondly, I think another central defender is essential, even if Liverpool decide to turn Ozan Kabak’s loan into a permanent transfer. We don’t know what form Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will return to, how long it will take them to get back to game sharpness, and if they’ll take any knocks along the way (which, unfortunately, tends to be quite common after such serious injuries). Anyway, I don’t count Joel Matip as a serious option for next season as his availability can never be relied upon.
Finally, Wijnaldum will need to be replaced, particularly given continued concerns over Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fitness records and the fact that James Milner turns 36 in January.
So with all that in mind, here’s what I would suggest…
Signing: Pedro Neto (Wolves): £31.5m
He would take up a significant chunk of my budget, but Neto ticks pretty much all the boxes for the type of attacking signing I’d like to see Liverpool make this summer, and is realistically achievable – even without Champions League football. , if that the worst case happens.
He’s effectively carried Wolves’ attack on his shoulders for most of this season in the absence of Raul Jimenez and with Adama Traore struggling to replicate anything like the form he produced on the season. last. A tally of five goals and four assists in 29 appearances so far might not sound like anything particularly special, but they’re not too dissimilar to the kind of numbers Diogo Jota delivered last season.
I think it’s mainly because Wolves are a pretty defensive side who tend to create very few quality goal scoring opportunities, so Neto has to mostly feed on leftovers and shake things up by himself. -same. With better players around him, I can easily see him rising to a whole new level.
At 21, he is the perfect age for Liverpool to buy given the need for succession planning with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all 29 by the start of next season. He’s also played four or five different positions this season, and that ability to operate centrally and off each flank in a range of systems (like Jota) massively reinforces Neto’s appeal, as well as the fact that he has barely missed a single game with injury since joining Wolves. I would like to see what kind of player he could become under Klopp’s management over the next few years.
Two signings: Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa): £16.2m
As detailed in my introduction, the addition of another centre-back is essential given the uncertainty surrounding this position as summer approaches. The ideal target should be relatively young but already reasonably experienced at a high level, quick enough and good enough on the ball to fit into Liverpool’s top-flight system, and not cost an absurd amount of money.
There will inevitably be a lot of talk around players already linked to Liverpool, like Marseille’s Duje Ćaleta-Car (as selected by Dan Morgan in his Transfer Committee shortlist), Sven Botman of Lille and Ben White of Brighton & Hove Albion. However, I opted for someone a little off the beaten track that I identified in January as someone Liverpool should be looking very closely at. In other words, Konsa from Aston Villa.
He’s been almost always present in one of the Premier League’s best defensive units this season, helping propel Villa into European competition as one of their standout performers while seemingly flying somewhat under the radar (I am surprised he hasn’t been called up to the senior England team yet).
At 23, he has plenty of room for development, but could come in and perform immediately at the required level, providing an excellent short, medium and long-term solution, as well as increasing Liverpool’s local quota.
Three signings: Yves Bissouma (Brighton): £15.3m
Not the most exciting addition, granted, but a sensible, functional and necessary addition. Liverpool will have to replace the outgoing Wijnaldum, and Bissouma is a player I can see filling the void superbly without burning a huge hole in the summer transfer budget.
He’s a slightly different type of midfielder to the Dutchman, coming close to Allan, Douglas Luiz and Declan Rice (according to Fbrief Screening Report Tool), but while naturally more defensive, he is far from one-dimensional, also offering plenty of ball (as he demonstrated when playing a starring role in Brighton’s 1-0 win at Anfield last month).
Moreover, Wijnaldum has transformed over the years into an entirely different kind of footballer than the one Liverpool bought from Newcastle United in the summer of 2016, and I could imagine Bissouma being malleable enough to play the role Klopp values. be best suited. in the Liverpool system should this decision materialize.