Jurgen Klopp wants to make seven signings this summer, according to reports. Here’s a closer look at his reported top targets
Jurgen Klopp wants to make seven signings in the summer transfer window, according to reports in the English media.
The Independent is reporting that Klopp wants to bring in seven new players to bolster his squad ahead of a return to the Champions League.
But how would each of his seven targets fare in the Liverpool side?
1) Naby Keita
This is a transfer rumour that makes sense even if the price doesn’t. Liverpool were missing captain Jordan Henderson in the final quarter of the 2016-17 campaign. In the England international’s absence, Jurgen Klopp was forced to rely upon Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum in centre midfield. But as a midfield pair, the duo lacked balance. It was an unconvincing partnership. RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita is an exciting box-to-box midfielder and has already earned comparisons to Chelsea’s PFA player of the year N’Golo Kante. The 22-year-old’s energy would be an asset to Jurgen Klopp and complement his pressing brand of football. With concerns of Henderson’s ability to stay fit, Keita would be a good alternative to the Liverpool skipper. However, Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig are thought to be demanding £70m for the Guinea international. The German club paid £12.75m for the versatile midfielder a mere 12 months ago.
Verdict: Unlikely. Keita would be a great signing but his asking price is too high.
2) Timo Werner
Klopp has utilised forward Roberto Firmino in a striker role over the past 18 months. The Liverpool boss clearly has faith in the Brazil international’s ability to lead the line. The German consistently selected Firmino ahead of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi. But Klopp could be tempted to invest in a proven striker ahead of a return to the Champions League. Timo Werner scored 21 goals and made five assists in 31 appearances in the Bundesliga to help RB Leipzig finish in second place last term. It was a breakthrough season for Werner having produced uninspiring figures during a three-year stint in the Stuttgart first-team. Werner’s two-goal haul for Germany against Cameroon in the Confederations Cup will alert Europe’s top clubs to this talented 21-year-old. RB Leipzig reportedly value Werner at around £43m. Liverpool would surely be unwilling to spend a club-record fee on a striker with no experience of Champions League football. At that price, Klopp would presumably prefer to stick with Firmino and bring in some cover this summer.
Verdict: Unlikely. Liverpool have been regularly linked with Werner over the past 12 months but recent speculation seems to suggest Kylian Mbappe would be a more likely target.
3) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s career has stalled at Arsenal over the past few seasons. The England international looked like an exciting talent when he first completed a move to Arsenal. His performance against AC Milan in the Champions League sticks out in the mind but the 23-year-old has regressed over the past couple of seasons. Arsene Wenger appears loathe to give the versatile midfielder a regular run in the Arsenal team. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sale could create room on the north London side’s wage bill to accommodate new lucrative contracts for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Klopp would value the Englishman’s ability to play in a variety of positions but would his first-team prospects look any better at Anfield than at Arsenal? Oxlade-Chamberlain would have to get past Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane – plus new signing Mohamed Salah. He would be a good squad player for Liverpool but at £30m, surely the Reds would be priced out of a deal.
Verdict: Unlikely. It is difficult to envisage Liverpool spending £30m plus on another wing player with Mane and Salah already vying for a first-team spot.
4) Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool supposedly ended their interest in signing the Netherlands international earlier this month. The Reds issued an apology for their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk and officially pulled out of the race to sign the 25-year-old centre-half. However, transfer speculation linking Liverpool with a move to sign Van Dijk hasn’t disappeared. More surprising is the fact that Chelsea and Manchester City haven’t capitalised on Liverpool’s clumsy pursuit of the Dutch defender. Antonio Conte appears to prefer Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, while Manchester City haven’t been touted as an option in recent weeks. With this in mind, perhaps Van Dijk’s move to Liverpool could still be on the cards. After all, the centre-half is thought to be keen to work with Jurgen Klopp.
Verdict: A possibility. There could still be another twist left in the Van Dijk saga.
5) Andy Robertson
Signing a left-back should be a priority for Klopp this summer. The German coach used James Milner in an unorthodox left-back role throughout the 2016-17 campaign. Liverpool’s reduced fixture list with no European distractions allowed Milner to perform this unfamiliar role in a professional capacity. Surely Klopp will be reluctant to place such a heavy workload on Milner next season in both the Premier League and the Champions League. Hull City defender Andy Robertson could be a good option to have when Milner needs a rest if Klopp decides against signing a top left-back. Robertson wouldn’t command a big transfer fee which would allow the Liverpool manager to conserve funds for high-ticket targets.
6) Dominic Solanke
Klopp’s first signing of the summer transfer was England Under-20 international Dominic Solanke. The forward’s switch to Liverpool was immediately received as an underwhelming signing but his performance at the Under-20 World Cup helped to alter the perception of this transfer. Solanke finished as the tournament’s leading goal-scorer to follow in the footsteps of prestigious names such as Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Sergio Aguero. The 19-year-old is a signing for the future and it will be intriguing to see just how much first-team football the striker will get next term.
Verdict: One to watch.
7) Mohamed Salah
The Egypt international finally completed a move to Liverpool from Serie A giants AS Roma last week. Salah put pen to paper on a long-term deal after the Reds made him their club-record signing. There is no doubt that the winger is a good addition to the Liverpool squad. The Merseyside outfit struggled when missing Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane last season. Salah will give Klopp another option going forward and decrease the reliance on Coutinho and Mane. The African forward has a wealth of Champions League experience – too. At just 24, Salah will be hoping to develop under the Liverpool boss and prove his Chelsea detractors wrong. Salah will have to contend with the weight of his reported £36.7m price tag but ultimately should prove a good addition.
Verdict: Hit. The prospect of Mane and Salah on the wings should excite Liverpool fans.