Based on the rumours that have been swirling around in the English press for the past few weeks, Liverpool FC and new manager Jurgen Klopp are gearing up for an active January transfer window. Klopp has injected a lot of new energy into the proceedings at Anfield since taking over for Brendan Rodgers at the beginning of October. The Reds, however, continue to be a disappointingly inconsistent soccer team, showing their weaknesses in games including a recent loss to Newcastle United and a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Klopp will seek to rectify the issue by bringing in some fresh faces.
Are Transfers the Answer?
Liverpool's lineup is already made up of a lot of new faces this season, following the summer departures of key players like Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, and Rickie Lambert. Indeed, most of the football club's top goalscorers this season weren't around during the 2014 2015 campaign. Christian Benteke, James Milner, and Danny Ings all transferred in over the summer while Divock Origi is playing his first full season at Liverpool after being loaned to Lille last year.
Benteke, Milner, Ings, and Origi-along with other new arrivals like Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne-are all good players with a lot of potential. Even under Klopp, all of these disparate talents haven't yet coalesced into a cohesive "team," which begs the question of whether or not more transfers and more new faces are the right answer for Liverpool right now.
Hitting the Transfer Market out of Necessity
So yes, bringing in more new blood might just further dilute and confuse an already scattered team at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp has also expressed reluctance to utilize the January transfer market, because there is really no time to train any new signings. Players that transfer to English clubs in January have to hit the ground running and integrate into their new squads quickly-probably not the best for a team like Liverpool that is struggling to find a groove or a consistent identity.
Still, Klopp might not have much of a choice, which could be why the rumours about possible Liverpool acquisitions have grown so loud lately. The Reds have been wracked by injuries lately. In one or more of their December matches, Liverpool have sidelined Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez, Phillippe Coutinho, Joe Flanagan, and Mamadou Sakho. As with league mates Arsenal, the injuries have put Liverpool in a tough spot, and the busy Premier League holiday schedule won't help matters. Klopp needs reinforcements, and he needs them now.
Recently, the Reds have been linked to potential deals with Stoke City's Bojan Krkic, Red Star Belgrade's Marko Grujic, Basel's Breel Embolo, and Schalke 04's Joel Matip.
Grujic, a 19-year-old Serbian midfielder, could very well be Klopp's first signing as Liverpool head coach. Grujic, widely regarded as Red Star's best player, has also drawn interest from Inter Milan. However, a report from the Liverpool Echo suggests that Klopp "became personally involved" in the effort to sign the young player and that a transfer is more or less a done deal. The catch? Grujic wants to stay at Red Star until the end of the season, to help them clinch a title. As a result, the current speculation is that Klopp would sign him and then immediately loan him back to his current football club-a nice gesture, but not one that helps Liverpool extricate themselves from their present situation.
Breel Embolo, an 18-year-old striker who currently plays for Basel, is also high on the list of Liverpool prospects. A promising talent who has scored 26 goals in 73 appearances for Basel since 2014, Embolo is set to be one of the top targets for the January transfer window, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, and other soccer clubs also showing interest. Liverpool, though are thought to be leading the pack for his signature.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are reportedly targeting forward Bojan Krkic, who has seen a resurgence of his skills since coming to Stoke City in summer 2014. Krkic was great at Barcelona from 2007 to 2011 but struggled to reach the same heights with Roma, Milan, or Ajax. Stoke paid just £800,000 to sign him a year and a half ago, but could command 15 or 20 times that if they decide to sell in the January transfer window. Chelsea and Manchester United are also interested.
Finally, Klopp seems to be eyeing Schalke defender Joel Matip, though that deal seems more likely to materialize at the end of the current football season.
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