Editor’s Column: Liverpool must move now before Chelsea’s lazy scouting and bottomless pockets beat us to targets

Alexis Mac Allister is all but done. He’s completed his medical and the Argentine will be set to join his new team-mates for the pre-season kick-off, just the way Jurgen Klopp wants it.

By capitalizing on the £45m release-clause, the Reds have secured a real bargain and a player who at 24, is the ideal age to kick on.

Klopp’s best buys have been players with around 150 career appearances aged 23 or 24. Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are the three most prime examples. Not youngsters, but players who still have their best days ahead of them.

The recruitment work in midfield though is yet to be done. With James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo leaving, Liverpool need more bodies, especially given Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson are ageing and presumably have their best days behind.

The issue is a plethora of rivals with more financial clout than can get deals over the line first, even if clumsily.

Chelsea’s recent actions in the market cause problems. Firstly, the sloppy manner in which new owner Todd Boehly has haphazardly overpaid for targets just to actualize transfers, seemingly to appease fans on Twitter, has caused inflation in the market.

In January, Arsenal almost had Mykhailo Mudryk signed and sealed. The player was sharing Ian Wright compilations on Instagram. His heart was at the Emirates, but Chelsea came in with an overwhelming £100m+ offer and the novice Ukrainian ended up in West London, where the only thing he’s done of note is an impressive 15 minute cameo at Anfield.

Chelsea’s scouting approach seems to be to wait until another club is linked to a good young player, then to simply offer them and the selling team more money. Liverpool wanted Enzo Fernandez for the summer, but wouldn’t go near him after Chelsea made another £100m offer.

This summer looks like it might follow a similar pattern. A few days ago Fabrizio Romano confirmed Liverpool are targeting Gabi Veiga, the Celta Vigo midfielder whose release-clause is £35m.

He scores goals, can dribble and is a terrific technician; the perfect profile of what we need in the two no.10s for our new 3-box-3 formation.

Chelsea, a few days later, joined the race, obviously, according to the Guardian.

Any team can target who they want, but it doesn’t really make sense as they only just missed out on Manuel Ugarte to PSG, who is a completely different kind of midfielder and much more defensive. It supports the idea they’re simply buying good players, rather than via any particular strategy.

As Romano also stated in his report on Veiga, the Reds are also targeting Kephren Thuram and Manu Kone, two French midfielders have defensive nous, immense physicality and great running through the middle.

Klopp is clearly trying to bulk up the midfield options in terms of strength, speed and robustness, which given how our stalwarts in this position have now lost their legs, makes total sense.

We need available, hungry, physical monsters in our midfield. Players who can press, fight, but also do what’s required tactically with the ball at their feet.

Liverpool need to act as soon as possible, not only to get the new players in quickly so they can adapt to their new environment as Klopp’s demands, but before rivals, such as Chelsea or Newcastle jeopardize the plans.

The reality is, we can’t (or at least won’t) compete with FSG at the helm in terms of finance, so you can see why the club is targeting these players with release-clauses such as Mac Allister and Veiga. Thuram and Kone also play for clubs in Nice and Borussia Monchengladbach who need to sell this summer.

It’s why you won’t see Liverpool going in for Declan Rice or Jude Bellingham this summer. Both excellent, both ridiculously expensive.

New sporting director Jorg Schmadtke has his work cut out. Not only does he need to get two new midfielders over the line, but a right-back and a centre-back. He then needs to make profit on Fabio Carvalho and Caoimhin Kelleher.

Then, we can start thinking about our sporting targets for the new season. Given the manner of the rebuild and the ages of the players we’re targeting, top four should perhaps be the initial goal of Klopp 2.0.











Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

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