The transfer window is officially open and work continues behind the scenes as Liverpool plot a path to the Champions League next season.
Alexis Mac Allister was the first through the door when he joined from Brighton & Hove Albion for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £35million earlier this month.
With plenty of work still to be done, new sporting director Jorg Schamdtke continues to work with the Reds’ recruitment team, which includes chief scout Barry Hunter, head of recruitment Dave Fallows and, of course, Jurgen Klopp.
But what would represent an ideal window this summer? The ECHO’s dedicated Liverpool writers have their say…
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Paul Gorst – Back to Brighton for Caicedo lecture
Despite the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister last week, Liverpool’s midfield still needs further surgery and has already raided the south coast for a World Cup winner of 35 million poundswould it be too bold to pick up the phone to Brighton owner Tony Bloom yet again?
No player did as much as Mac Allister last season to help Brighton qualify for the Europa League for the first time in their history, but Moises Caicedo’s efforts were no less impactful at the Amex Stadium.
The Ecuador international is something of a one-man midfield and ran the show alongside his Argentina team-mate as the Reds were toppled in the 3-0 defeat back in January. The interest from Chelsea and Arsenal is problematic, but Caicedo, aged 21, is young enough and good enough to be a big star at Liverpool for years to come. The question is, do the Reds have the guts to return to Brighton for another of their key players?
Elsewhere in midfield, Celta Vigo’s Gabri Veiga would add a creative dynamism that has been absent from the Reds’ engine when Thiago Alcantara is missing. With 11 goals and four assists last term, the Spain U21 international is emerging as one of the brightest talents in La Liga and could add a new goal-scoring edge to the midfield. A reported release clause of around £34m is also a potentially vital component.
If Inter’s Nicolo Barella is available for anywhere near the £50m price tag that Newcastle reportedly believe he is, then Liverpool should certainly push themselves into that conversation. The Italian international would be an excellent addition and represents proven quality rather than untapped potential.
And to complete the summer shopping, Levi Colwill could become a future star in defense for the Reds after a superb campaign on loan at Brighton. The 20-year-old played 16 times for the Seagulls last term in the Premier League and has a huge future, but with Chelsea as his parent club and Brighton desperate to make it a permanent deal, there are more options to skip this one. . It would also risk further exciting Brighton, one suspects. It’s nothing personal, Seagulls.
Ian Doyle – Rice on the boil for the Reds
Anyone who has been in and around the business long enough will know that there isn’t much room for ideals in football. It’s all about the harsh reality and increasingly hard cash. And those who pursue the dream too often flirt with the sun a little too easily. Icarus and all that.
Liverpool already have a new midfielder and want at least one more. There will probably be two more. Mathematics determines that it will be three new midfielders. One of the new faces will come from the Reds’ long-held roster, all in their early 20s and having made a significant impact at their respective clubs, but with plenty of potential for improvement.
But there is another player Liverpool should be looking at – Declan Rice. He’s not worth the £100m that West Ham United apparently want, but a fixed fee of £50-60m and some transfer play and the Reds could certainly get something done. Even if it’s a little more, Fenway Sports Group should push the boat out since it’s a long-term investment and he’s only 24 years old. If one of the other targets is picked up, it would mean three midfielders for the price of not much more than, say. a Jude Bellingham.
Liverpool also need a centre-back and it has to be a younger one who knows they won’t play much at first. Someone like Levi Colwill would be perfect.
Any other signing will involve players leaving first, suggesting that it would be ideal for them to leave and it’s not a path we’re going down yet.
Theo Squires – Tchouameni back on the agenda
Liverpool wasted no time in starting their midfield revamp this summer, signing World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister within two weeks of the end of last season.
But that is only the beginning if the Reds are to re-establish themselves as Man City’s closest challengers in 2023/24. In an ideal world, they bring in two more midfield recruits with Khephren Thuram, Manu Kone, Ryan Gravenberch, Gabri Veiga and Romeo Lavia the players to choose from.
As a curveball, I’ll throw Aurelien Tchouameni’s name back into the mix. Real Madrid will have to raise money somehow if they go for Harry Kane or Kylian Mbappe after landing Jude Bellingham.
A left-sided centre-back is next on the wanted list as Liverpool begin to consider long-term replacements for Virgil van Dijk. Chelsea’s Levi Colwill has admirers at Anfield and would be ideal.
If Caoimhin Kelleher leaves, the Reds will need a new back-up goalkeeper. Beyond that, in an ideal world, a new right-back that gives Jurgen Klopp the opportunity to play opposite Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield wouldn’t go amiss.
And let’s be greedy, throw in a versatile left-footed forward too, capable of replacing Mohamed Salah on the right with the AFCON looming.