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Inside FutbolInside Futbol

06 October 2016

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Liverpool January Transfer Shopping – Who Will And Won’t End Up At Anfield

Allen Hamilton

Liverpool’s summer transfer dealings appeared financially constrained from the start, which is why it was such a surprise for the club to let striker Andy Carroll leave on loan without being willing to spend the funds to buy manager Brendan Rodgers’ identified replacement, Clint Dempsey. The intervening months have shown just how thin Liverpool’s squad is and it is no surprise Rodgers is counting down the days until the opening of the January transfer window. Of all the Premier League clubs, Liverpool may be the most busy, lodging bids and negotiating for players, even if that activity only results in one or two fresh faces.

We look at some of Liverpool’s potential targets for the January transfer window and assess the chances of them landing at Anfield.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – Striker – Schalke – Contract until June 2013

Huntelaar looks set to call time on his spell at Schalke, but it remains to be seen whether he will move in January. The Dutchman is out of contract at the end of the season and has gone on record as stating he will finish the campaign at Schalke. Of course, the German club may ponder trying to sell the 29-year-old in January rather than lose him on a free transfer, but Huntelaar will have the final say. Scorer of 48 goals in 48 games for Schalke last season, Huntelaar has told Inside Futbol that the Premier League is likely to be his next destination. Liverpool are interested, though Arsenal and Chelsea are thought to want the striker too – and Huntelaar is believed to favour a move to one of the London clubs as he wants to continue playing in the Champions League next season. Liverpool could splash the cash and turn his head, but given the club’s American owners were cool on paying the money needed to sign Dempsey, supposedly because of his age, a 29-year-old Huntelaar may not be someone they will whip the cheque book out for.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 4/10

Theo Walcott – Winger/Striker – Arsenal – Contract until June 2013

Walcott was a target for Liverpool during the summer transfer window and he remains a popular option at Anfield. Arsenal have struggled to give the England international what he craves, which is a starting role as a striker. Were Brendan Rodgers to promise to play the 23-year-old up front, Walcott could agree to move to Liverpool, despite the club likely being out of the Champions League for next season. However, signing Walcott in January looks a tough bit of business to do. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has pledged to keep the speedy forward until the end of the season, even if he does not sign a new contract. But the Frenchman has made vows before on players with contracts running down, and cold headed business sense has often seen those count for little. It does not take too much of a leap of faith to imagine Walcott at Liverpool in January, though the player may like to see out the campaign at Arsenal, especially with the Champions League still a draw. Walcott is one player Liverpool’s owners would surely be happy to finance a move for though.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 5/10

Daniel Sturridge – Striker – Chelsea – Contract until June 2014

Liverpool appeared close to moving for Sturridge over the summer, but the £15M Chelsea were believed to want for the 23-year-old may go some way to explaining why the deal did not happen. In January, things could be different, but it would seem to very much depend on what the Blues do. If Chelsea buy Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid or the recently mooted Wilfried Bony from Vitesse, manager Roberto Di Matteo will probably have no problem selling Sturridge. The former Manchester City man has only been given brief cameos in key games and there is a sense that Di Matteo is not convinced of his qualities at the very highest level. Liverpool may not need to buy too, with a loan until the end of the season with a purchase clause also terms on which he could move from Stamford Bridge. A realistic target, albeit one very dependent on Chelsea’s own actions.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 8/10

Jeffren – Winger/Striker – Sporting Lisbon – Contract until June 2016

Jeffren’s agent has already claimed Liverpool want his client, while the Reds do seem to be keeping an eye on his situation at Sporting Lisbon. The 24-year-old joined the Portuguese giants in the summer of 2011, but has failed to make an impact, with the generous excuse too many injury niggles, and the less than generous one that he has not been as good as Sporting Lisbon expected him to be. Liverpool may feel they can offer Jeffren a fresh start and with his Barcelona pedigree, he could fit into the short passing style Rodgers is trying to impose at Anfield. But it is hard to see the Spaniard as a profilic option and his signing, with a loan until the end of the season expected, plus an option to buy, saying much about the finances available at Anfield. Currently injured though, Jeffren could be a risky option given the amount of time he has spent on the sidelines over the last 18 months.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 7/10

Lewis Holtby – Midfielder – Schalke – Contract until June 2013

Along with Huntelaar, Holtby is the focus of Schalke’s intense contract negotiations at present – but they may be fighting a losing battle. The Germany international midfielder has an English father (a die-hard Everton fan) and dreams of playing in the Premier League. Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt has admitted as much, while Holtby’s agent claims to have offers from Premier League sides already on the table. Arsenal and Liverpool are thought to be the two that want Holtby the most and the player has insisted he would have no problem playing at Anfield despite his father’s loyalties. There is a real chance Holtby may end up at Liverpool eventually, but a midfielder is not a priority for Rodgers and he may not push for this deal in January when the German can be signed for free in the summer.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 4/10

Moussa Sissoko – Midfielder – Toulouse – Contract until June 2013

Liverpool’s interest in Sissoko seemed most serious under former manager Kenny Dalglish, with the help of then-sporting director Damien Comolli. But recently it has been rekindled – and it is not surprising given the energetic midfielder is out of contract in the summer. Sissoko is keen to head to England and though Toulouse would like to keep hold of the 23-year-old, it is unlikely he will pen a new contract at the club. If Liverpool are determined enough and willing to make Toulouse a tempting offer, then Sissoko could well be a Reds player in January. Rodgers though has time on his side when choosing midfielders and is well stocked in the area. He also seems to prefer Holtby, who can fit into the side’s short passing style better than Sissoko.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 3/10

Gary Hooper – Striker – Celtic – Contract until June 2014

Hooper has come to Liverpool’s attention through his goalscoring feats with Celtic and the Scottish club are unlikely to be able to afford to reject a substantial offer for the 24-year-old. The English hitman has found the back of the net three times in Celtic’s Champions League campaign this season, while he has also scored goals in the Scottish Premier League, three so far this year and 24 in the 2011/12 season. Scottish Premier League goals may not impress Rodgers though and Hooper is likely to be a gamble if other targets, such as Walcott and Sturridge, prove out of reach. Rodgers could reflect however that the last striker from the Scottish Premier League the Reds were keen on has scored goals in the Premier League; he only has to look across Stanley Park to Everton and Nikica Jelavic.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 6/10

Darren Bent – Striker – Aston Villa – Contract until June 2015

A former Liverpool target, Bent may tick a lot of boxes for Rodgers. Experienced at 28 years old, but not too old to completely rule out a lucrative contract and transfer fee, and with a record of scoring consistently at every club he has been at, the former Tottenham Hotspur man could be an attractive option. At present Bent does not appear to be flavour of the month at Villa Park and has seen much of the bench under manager Paul Lambert; he has still found the back of the net though, despite a reduced role. Likely to jump at the chance to move to Liverpool and also likely to be within the Reds’ budget, Bent may yet find himself playing alongside Luis Suarez in 2013.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 7/10

Lacina Traore – Striker – Anzhi Makhachkala – Contract until June 2016

The powerful 6"8 tall Ivorian striker was in excellent form (and scored) against Liverpool when Anzhi Makhachkala put the Reds to the sword in the Europa League in Russia. His agent was quick to reveal that Liverpool have been in touch with Anzhi and have agreed to submit a bid during the summer, should they receive glowing scouting reports for the rest of the season. Traore would represent a big outlay though, with the Russian side at least wanting back the €18M they paid for the 22-year-old. Made for the Premier League, with pace, power and no shortage of skill, the Ivorian could be a big hit and if Liverpool wanted to make a statement they could splash the cash in January. It is, though, unlikely.

Chances of moving to Liverpool in January: 4/10

Published: Tuesday, 20th Nov 2012