Jurgen Klopp made it known in the weeks leading up to the January transfer window that he was looking to add to his options in the final third of the pitch.
Despite the fact Liverpool made several attempts to bring in a forward, they did not manage to get one. However, the Liverpool manager will almost certainly return to the same thinking this summer.
Aside from his starting XI, Klopp’s options on the wing and in attacking-midfield area are extremely thin in terms of proven talent. Like Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana, the ideal player in that area is one with an extremely high work-rate and football IQ, supported by an acceptable number of goals and assists.
It’s not the easiest talent pool to identify, however. Klopp has his long-term targets — the likes of Christian Pulisic and Julian Brandt — but they were unavailable in the winter. Yet the manager did not compromise and was unwilling to settle for a short-term fix, who did not entirely fit into his playing style.
Plenty of attacking players have since been linked with summer move to Anfield in the past few months, with Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez the latest to emerge. Though he doesn’t seem the ideal Klopp player, We take a look at the pros and cons of Liverpool signing the Colombian in the summer.
It would be a statement signing for the Reds
In recent history, Luis Suarez, Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Raheem Sterling have all left Liverpool for greener pastures. Liverpool have since struggled to replace that world-class talent.
Despite failing to maintain the standards at the 2014 World Cup that won him a move to Real Madrid, Rodriguez joining Liverpool would be a marquee signing, with the Merseyside club likely having beaten huge competition for his signature.
The 25-year-old is still considered one of the best midfielders in the world and signing him would be another indicator that, under Klopp, Liverpool are on an upward trajectory.
Liverpool would give him a chance to shine
Rodriguez is on the fringes at the Bernabeu under coach Zinedine Zidane. He has made just seven starts in La Liga this season, having to settle for a role as a squad player.
The approach from Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), has always been to secure value when they can. A rather successful method of theirs has been targeting first XI talent who are available because of their individual situation at clubs.
The case of Rodriguez is quite similar to that of Daniel Sturridge’s at Chelsea and Coutinho’s time at Inter Milan. Sturridge struggled to break into the Chelsea team full of stars, while Coutinho failed to live up to the hype that so many had hoped for at the San Siro.
Both moved to Liverpool in the same transfer window for relatively low transfer fees and the pair thrived with the regular playing time they received. Rodriguez might benefit at a club where he is given the chance to be the out-and-out star.
Liverpool may not be able to afford him and would they want to spend that kind of money anyway?
Coutinho signed a new contract at Liverpool in January, with sources telling ESPN FC that his new £150,000-a-week wage made him the club’s highest-paid player. However, Liverpool’s rivals in the Premier League and teams across Europe have been paying those wages — and salaries far greater — for a considerable number of years.
A quick glance at the accounts will show Liverpool do not have the financial muscle power to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea for players in the upper echelon.
If Liverpool were to sign Rodriguez this summer then it would easily eclipse their current record transfer fee (£35 million for Andy Carroll in 2011), with an asking price of £65m being reported. Following a big-money money, the player himself would expect wages in relation to the transfer tee.
It would be quite the financial commitment for Liverpool to make. One which could be a risk as you Rodriguez is not really an archetypal Klopp-type player. The Liverpool manager may use his funds elsewhere.
It might stunt the growth of promising youngsters
While Ben Woodburn is still just 17, Liverpool have extremely high hopes for the club’s youngest ever goal scorer in the future. The forward has been getting his chances with the first-team this season, making seven appearances in total. Woodburn has held his own during those outings, which recently earned him a call-up to the Wales squad.
If Liverpool were to spend a significant amount of money on one player this summer, pressure to play him as often as possible would soon follow. That, in turn, could limit the opportunities given to Woodburn and other promising youngsters at the Kirkby academy.
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