What Does Liverpool Need to Do During the 2020 Summer Transfer Window?
Liverpool’s recruitment has been second to none in recent years. Sporting director Michael Edwards has overseen a remarkable overhaul at the club, buying low and selling high to great effect.
Alongside genius manager Jurgen Klopp, Edwards’ shrewd business in the transfer market has transformed Liverpool into a European giant once again, while the Reds’ domestic dominance has been overwhelming this season.
Despite Liverpool boasting one of the best squads in world soccer, you can guarantee that Edwards and Klopp will be meticulously planning for the summer transfer window.
Of course, it’s unclear at this stage when the next transfer window will open. England’s 2020 summer window was originally scheduled to commence on June 10. But given the current situation, that date will almost certainly be pushed back.
Nevertheless, the current break in play gives us an opportunity to assess what Liverpool needs to do when the transfer window opens.
I have chosen to look at players who I think Liverpool needs to get rid of, along with suggesting a number of realistic transfer targets for the club. I will also be discussing the future of Liverpool’s returning loanees.
Let’s start by looking at who could be on their way out of Anfield.
Who Should Liverpool Get Rid of in the Summer?
Liverpool needs to get rid of some dead wood at the end of the season. Here are three players who I believe should leave the club in the summer.
Nathaniel Clyne has become a forgotten man at Liverpool. He joined the Reds from Southampton back in 2015, but a number of lengthy injuries have hampered his career.
The 29-year-old hasn’t played a single minute of soccer this season, while a disappointing loan spell with Bournemouth only saw him make a handful of Premier League appearances last term.
In fact, Clyne has only played seven top-flight games for Liverpool across the past three seasons, so I think it’s time for him to move on and reignite his career elsewhere.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is now considered to be one of the best right-backs in the world, so there’s no way that Clyne will be able to break into the first team. Also, Joe Gomez generally deputizes at right-back, so Clyne isn’t even second choice in that position.
With 14 senior England caps to his name, Clyne is clearly a good player. But following five failed years at Anfield, Liverpool must get rid of him at the end of the season.
Off the top of my head, I can easily think of four or five players who are ahead of Adam Lallana in the pecking order at Liverpool. The competition for places in Klopp’s midfield is fierce, and this has seen Lallana struggle for game time.
The former Southampton captain arrived on Merseyside in 2014 and has racked up almost 200 appearances for the Reds over the past six years.
However, after playing a pivotal role in the side during his first three seasons with the club, Lallana has found it difficult to nail down a starting place in the team in the last three campaigns.
In fairness, injuries have definitely played a big part in Lallana’s decline. But even when he is fully fit, there is a plethora of high-quality midfielders who invariably play ahead of him.
Lallana has been a loyal servant to Liverpool over the years. But with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, it’s looking increasingly likely that he will be allowed to leave the club for free in the summer.
I can’t see Liverpool offering him a new deal, so Lallana’s time at Anfield should be coming to an end in the not too distant future.
Xherdan Shaqiri is another player who has been given limited opportunities this season. Klopp has handed the Switzerland international just two Premier League starts in 2019/20, and he hasn’t exactly shone when given the chance.
Following his arrival from Stoke City in 2018, Shaqiri hit the ground running at Liverpool, registering six goals and five assists in his debut campaign with the club.
It looked like the former Bayern Munich star was destined to play a starring role for the Reds again this season. But for various reasons, that hasn’t happened.
Shaqiri’s case is very similar to that of Lallana’s. The attacking midfielder has been sidelined with injuries for much of the season, but he has also struggled to break into the team when available.
Liverpool only paid £13 million for Shaqiri, so if the club was to sell him this summer, they would more than likely make a profit on the player.
I believe selling Shaqiri makes sense for both parties. Liverpool would be getting money for a player who is surplus to requirements, while Shaqiri would undoubtedly get regular first-team soccer elsewhere.
Which Players Should Liverpool Look to Sign in the Summer?
Liverpool has been immense over the past couple of seasons, but there is always room for improvement. Here are four realistic transfer targets for the Reds.
At just 18, Malick Thiaw is already causing quite a stir in European soccer. The highly rated Schalke defender has caught the eye with his mature performances this season, and I can see him fitting in perfectly at Liverpool.
It goes without saying that the Reds’ backline is a very settled unit. Full-backs Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are vital to the way the team operates, while center-backs Virgil van Dijk and Gomez are extremely solid in the middle.
However, there is a sense that Klopp’s squad could do with a young defensive option as backup. After all, Dejan Lovren is past his best, and Joel Matip is the only other alternative at center-back.
Thiaw is widely regarded as one of the hottest young defensive talents in the game right now. He is a tall, powerful, ball-playing center-back, and his versatility means he is more than comfortable in midfield.
I don’t think Liverpool needs another established center-back at this stage, but it feels like the ideal time to sign Thiaw and develop him into a world-class defender.
Kai Havertz has been linked with Liverpool for a while now. With a market value of around £80 million, he would be an expensive purchase. But it would almost certainly be money well spent.
Havertz would add a completely different dimension to Liverpool’s midfield. The attack-minded German is unlike any other midfielder at the club, so he would give Klopp more options.
Players like Jordan Henderson, Geroginio Wijnaldum, and Naby Keita are usually used as defensive midfielders, while Havertz generally operates further forward.
Due to their robust midfield, Liverpool sometimes lacks a creative spark. The team often relies on their play-making full-backs to chip in with goals and assists, so I believe the addition of an attacking midfielder would significantly benefit the side.
Havertz is only 20, but he’s already made over a century of senior appearances for Bayer Leverkusen. And with 68 goal involvements in that time, he’s clearly a special player.
If you’ve been following the Premier League this season, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that no player has completed more take-ons than Adama Traore.
When it comes to one-on-one duels, the Wolves winger is pretty much unplayable. The ease with which he cruises past opponents makes him a serious threat, so it’s no wonder that Traore is now one of the most sought-after players in Europe.
Not only has Traore lit up the EPL with his speed and trickery this term, but he’s also added an end product to his game. A return of six goals and ten assists in 2019/20 is a fantastic record for a wide player.
Don’t get me wrong, Wolves are a good team. But Traore is destined for a move to one of England’s elite clubs. After failing to make the grade at Barcelona, Traore will be desperate to prove himself at the highest level, and I view Liverpool as the perfect place for him to fulfill his potential.
Timo Werner looks set to leave RB Leipzig at the end of the season, and it has been reported that Liverpool is leading the race for his signature.
The Reds have been crying out for an additional world-class forward for some time, and Werner ticks all the right boxes.
Ultimately, the attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino has very little competition. Replacement forward Divock Origi has consistently chipped in with important goals, but he isn’t good enough to challenge for a place in the starting eleven.
With 21 goals in 25 Bundesliga appearances this term, Werner certainly knows where the back of the net is.
In my eyes, the German striker would be an excellent acquisition for Liverpool. His arrival would push the club’s current forwards to perform better, and this would only be a good thing for the team.
What About Liverpool’s Returning Loanees?
Liverpool has a number of players out on loan at the moment. Do these three players have what it takes to compete for a place in Klopp’s starting lineup?
Harry Wilson has enjoyed a number of hugely successful loan spells in recent years, so many believe that he is ready to return to Anfield and fight for a place in the team.
Following stints with Crewe Alexandra and Hull City, the Welshman notched up 18 goals and six assists in a stunning breakthrough campaign with Derby County last term.
After proving that he was too good to be stuck in the Championship, Wilson was loaned to EPL side Bournemouth at the beginning of 2019/20 and has gained valuable top-flight experience this season.
I’m not sure that Wilson is ready to break into Liverpool’s first team just yet, but there’s no denying that he’s incredibly gifted. I think he’ll make a great squad player, so I can see Klopp keeping hold of him next season.
Rhian Brewster has been with Liverpool since the age of 14, but he is yet to make a senior appearance for the Reds. Now 20, Brewster has shone at youth level, but he hasn’t been able to establish himself in the first team.
The England U21 international was loaned to second-tier side Swansea City in January and has netted four goals in eleven Championship outings so far. He is clearly a natural goalscorer, but can he cut it at the highest level?
Like Wilson, I think Brewster has a future at Liverpool. However, he will have to be patient and wait for opportunities.
Liverpool fans will never be able to forget Loris Karius’ blunders in the 2017/18 Champions League final. But given last season’s UCL triumph, some might just bring themselves to forgive him. Just maybe.
Soon after the defeat to Real Madrid, Karius joined Besiktas on a two-year loan deal. The German shot-stopper has enjoyed somewhat of a revival in Turkey, but he is set to return to Merseyside in the summer.
Realistically, it’s highly unlikely that Karius will remain at Liverpool next season. Alisson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, while Adrian has proved to be a reliable understudy.
Liverpool doesn’t need to change an awful lot during the summer transfer window. Klopp’s side has been the best team in England by some distance this season, so it would be foolish to carry out a mass overhaul anytime soon.
Having said that, there are a few tweaks that could be made to improve the squad.
The addition of a young center-back would be a wise move. As I mentioned, the Reds already boast a formidable backline. But signing Malick Thiaw would give Klopp more options, and there is no harm in planning for the future.
With Adam Lallana’s contract expiring and Xherdan Shaqiri heading for the exit, Liverpool will need to bring in one or two creative midfielders.
It might be tricky to land both Kai Havertz and Adama Traore, but securing at least one of them would be seen as excellent business.
Perhaps most importantly, Liverpool must sign a world-class forward. Kylian Mbappe and Jadon Sancho have both been linked with a move to Anfield, but Timo Werner seems like a more realistic option.
Werner’s release clause is only €60 million, while they’d have to pay double that fee to get Sancho. Mbappe would be even more expensive, so buying Werner makes sense.
It’s also important to remember that Liverpool has a frightening number of young players coming through their ranks at the moment.
Curtis Jones, Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever, and Harvey Elliott are just a few names that are expected to break into the senior team, so Liverpool may put their trust in youth next season, rather than aiming for big-money signings.
If you were Klopp, which players would you sell and sign during the summer transfer window? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
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