Why Liverpool would be mad to rival Arsenal for midfield ace
Brendan Rodgers’ dreadful record of replacing his main players will have many a Liverpool fan fretful ahead of the summer in which he will attempt to source an heir to the throne of Anfield legend Steven Gerrard.
As though they were aware of this growing sense of trepidation, the legion of gossip peddlers have sprung into action to reveal the Ulsterman has hatched a plan on how to nail this enormous task.
“What does he intend to do?” you ask. Why the answer is simple – he’ll give Southampton a ring.
After a heavy outlay on the south coast last summer that saw Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren recruited for an alleged combined price of £48m, the St Mary’s moneymen will be elated at the prospect of another visit from Rodgers, who will come with attaché case loaded, ready to barter for in-demand midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
The shortlist of the Frenchman’s known admirers is a fairly intimidating read for those who wish to enter the race for his services, with Arsenal and Tottenham taking places of prominence alongside Barcelona.
Having stated he wants to sign for a club in the Champions League when he leaves the Hampshire outfit with whom he has spent his entire career to date, the prospect of Liverpool snaring Schneiderlin will hinge on whether they defy odds of 11/2 to land a top-four finish.
But even if they do nail a second consecutive Champions League qualification, they should steer clear of the Southampton star.
Nothing close to a decent return has yet been seen on the mammoth investment Rodgers made in the aforementioned trio of former Saints.
Lambert has two Premier League goals to his name, Lovren is behind Kolo Toure in the centre-back pecking order and Lallana has recently taken to the back pages to address his substandard showings.
Prospective Schneiderlin suitors can expect to pay closer to £30m than £20m; can Rodgers afford to take such an expensive risk on another player who hasn’t proven himself with an elite outfit?
He certainly can’t when his previous attempts to replace first-team staples are considered.
Three first-team stalwarts of recent campaigns have recently severed ties with the Merseysiders with the former Swansea boss at the helm in Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher and Luis Suarez.
Rodgers recruited Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho and Mario Balotelli to fill these gaping voids and the ratio of criticism to plaudits their performances have drawn is heavily weighted on the wrong side.
A truly world-class asset is required to replace Gerrard – a Paul Pogba or a Toni Kroos – and Liverpool aren’t capable of attracting players of this calibre, especially if they don’t land a Champions League berth.
Instead, Rodgers should look to spend small and sign a player with potential who can be developed for the club to reap the rewards at a later date.
This is a field in which he appears adept, with unbridled degrees of joy savoured through his signings of Phillippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge and must revert to the blueprint as opposed to pursuing Schneiderlin.
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