We’re not a quarter into the season yet, but transfer rumours are, as always, coming in thick.
One that has some scent of relative credibility around it comes from the north-east. Over at Newcastle upon Tyne, there’s no denying the fact that the Magpies are in some trouble having won only two points from their opening eight games.
And according to Newcastle Chronicle, our old friend Rafa Benitez sees the January transfer window as a crucial moment for their struggle for Premier League survival this term. What he needs is, apparently, a striker, an attacking midfielder and a left-back, and he sees turning to his former club for help on the striker business.
Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke have both fallen down the pecking order due to the rather surprising resurgence of Daniel Sturridge as a top marksman, and having one of them leave in January, if not both, is not an unimaginable prospect. Looking at the situation from (hopefully) all aspects, it’s far more likely to see Origi move to St. James Park, for one reason: Newcastle already have two English players on loan and are unable to take a third, while Liverpool seem less likely to permanently part ways with Solanke than the Belgian. Origi was close to moving to Dortmund during the summer, but the deal fell through as Jurgen Klopp’s former club reportedly refused to pay the asking price of £27million.
It’s understandable that Klopp didn’t mind keeping them around at the time, at least until he saw how things would go with Sturridge. But with the injury-plagued striker looking very fit and even winning the Standard Chartered Player of the Month award, Origi and Solanke haven’t got a single minute between them this season. And with the club going out of the Carabao Cup early, they aren’t likely to feature at all until the FA Cup starts at least.
Now for your standard, run-of-the-mill sort of rumour.
Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing Kerem Demirbay from Hoffenheim. Demirbay and Klopp spent some time together at Dortmund, but the Turk played for the club’s reserve team at the time and moved to Hamburger SV in 2013.
As we’re all painfully aware, Liverpool’s £52million deal to sign Nabil Fekir from Lyon fell through during the summer due to the club’s medical team having reservations about the state of his knee. While Demirbay is a good attacking midfielder in his own right, he’s not quite at the level of Fekir. His price isn’t likely to be very appealing either, with him signing a new four-year deal with the German side in April this year. On the other hand, adding a player like him to the ranks would certainly make sense, perhaps more so than chasing a cut-price deal for Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey with whom the Reds have also been linked.
And last, we come to the, most likely, utterly fabricated report which, naturally, comes from Spain.
With “Salah and/or Mane to Real” rumours slowly dying out, El Chiringuito de Jugones, a Spanish TV show, have come up with a new one, claiming Philippe Coutinho might recommend Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino to Barcelona as a potential long-term replacement for the aging Luis Suarez.
Firmino signed a new five-year deal earlier this year, and as we’re all aware by now, the club have long stopped putting in buyout clauses into players’ contracts. This puts the club into an extremely strong position when it comes to Brazilian’s future. Some will say it was the same with Coutinho. However, the story of Coutinho wanting to play for Barcelona had long been on the table prior to him signing his last Liverpool deal. His desire was no secret to anyone, with even Klopp having to publicly advise him to stay and have his statue erected on Merseyside, rather than just be one of the crowd at Camp Nou. As for Firmino, no such indication ever came out, and he has certainly become a special player under Klopp who has changed the team’s attacking philosophy drastically in order to bring the best out of him. It’s hard to imagine getting that sort of appreciation anywhere else, and unlike Coutinho, he seems not only fully aware of that, but also genuinely happy being a Liverpool player and having a special bond with the Kop.
It feels quite safe to say Roberto Firmino will be here for a long, long time yet.
James Pearce of Liverpool Echo has reported that Liverpool are prepared to sell Origi for a fee in excess of £20million. Pearce also says the striker was close to a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers but he rejected it, and it’s expected Wolves will make another attempt. Everton (!) are also contemplating coming for Origi, but there hasn’t been any contact from the neighbours across the park.
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) October 18, 2018