Deja vu, as Klopp risks repeating MAJOR transfer mistake
After what happened the season just gone... this would be mad.
Liverpool are reportedly set on utilising their available options in the squad to replace Gini Wijnaldum rather than seeking a new option via the transfer market, according to Carl Markham.
The 30-year-old is set to depart on a free this summer, with an agreement with Barcelona thought to be close for the player’s services.
“Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has immediately addressed his centre-back problems with the £36million acquisition of Ibrahima Konate but he is not planning to buy a replacement for departed midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum,” the reporter wrote for the Belfast Telegraph.
“However, while Klopp has corrected a mistake from last summer, when he allowed Dejan Lovren to leave and went into the campaign with just three centre-backs – all of whom sustained season-ending injuries at various stages – he is not looking for reinforcements in midfield.
“Instead, the PA news agency understands the club will focus their attention – and limited finances after a pandemic-affected year – on renewing the contracts of established stars Mohamed Salah, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.”
Excusing the fact that clubs should, regardless of whatever transfer business is being conducted, value their best stars by rewarding them with long-term contracts where appropriate, we must beg the question as to how we could possibly justify not replacing our No.5 after the season we’ve just witnessed.
To put things into perspective, since signing for Liverpool in the summer of 2016 from Newcastle United, Wijnaldum has only missed a grand total of 11 league games - ELEVEN!
In percentage terms, that figure equates to less than 6% of the total Premier League games played since the 2016/17 campaign.
On that basis, the Dutchman is worth his weight in gold based on his sheer durability alone, not to minimise his particular skillset on the pitch.
Is it then possible that the hierarchy has already forgotten how injuries ripped through our side like there was no tomorrow?
“The Dutchman leaves a huge hole to fill but it is understood a replacement is not being considered as Klopp feels he has enough options in that area with Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita – providing he can overcome his fitness issues – Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and veteran James Milner,” Markham added.
The club has to be keeping its transfer plans on the down-low, which we’d certainly prefer, of course!
But the idea that the perenially injured Naby Keita and a 35-year-old James Milner are being discussed as two of the men to fill in is just utterly bonkers.
No disrespect to the Englishman, who will likely still be leaving his teammates behind in the dust with the yearly pre-season fitness tests up into his late forties, but we need reliability in that particular role.
The aforementioned pair probably won’t provide us with that, so we’re looking at Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to help keep a starting midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, and Fabinho ticking over.
Could it then be mere idle speculation? Most certainly perhaps… Only, such a claim has been backed by one of the club’s chief journalists.
“Senior Anfield sources have indicated that signing a replacement for Wijnaldum is not regarded as a necessity,” James Pearce wrote for The Athletic.
“They point to Henderson’s imminent return to fitness and the fact that academy graduate Curtis Jones is expected to have a bigger role in 2021-22.”
Interestingly, new signings haven’t been entirely ruled out, though player sales will once again play a part in our spending power once the transfer window opens. Though, it’s not clear whether this will change the club’s reported stance on signing a Wijnaldum replacement.
But why should our plans be dependent on selling deadwood?
That’s not to say it shouldn’t factor in - the club’s model has been very much sustainable-focused since Fenway Sports Group took over the ownership of the club - but it makes little sense for us to be solely reliant on such income even after qualifying for the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp was adamant that our transfer plans wouldn’t change massively with or without entry into Europe’s premier competition - an interesting statement in of itself - but surely it couldn’t hurt to have it?
Indeed, given the fuss journalists were making over the financial benefits of Champions League football, we can’t see it not having an impact on the kind of signings we make this summer.
It’s worth remembering, of course, that, to a certain degree, a lot of this kind of transfer talk is more or less regurgitated speculation summer after summer.
For those with long memories, few had predicted that Liverpool would move for both Diogo Jota and a ready-made, world-class talent in Thiago Alcantara.
Given how abundantly clear not signing a centre-half last year was a mistake, we’d hope that the decision-makers at the club won’t repeat history with the midfield this time around.
What do you think, Reds? Are we worrying too much about this?
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