Transfer update: Liverpool plan more exits plus van de Beek news
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Liverpool are the latest top side to register an interest in Juventus loan star Federico Chiesa, who has attracted a number of potential suitors following his stellar displays for Italy at Euro 2020.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking to bounce back from a relatively disappointing campaign last term to try and mount another tilt for the title.
As a result, tough decisions need to be made and the signing of Chiesa would undeniably block the pathway to first team football for a number of the current crop.
Last season, Liverpool did well to finish third given their staggering injury crisis which saw a number of their first-choice central defenders ruled out of action for months.
However, if you’d have asked any Reds fan in the off-season between the beginning of last campaign and the glory of the 2019/20 season whether they would take third, you’d have been laughed out of Merseyside.
Few side’s attempts at retaining their Premier League title have gone quite as poorly as Liverpool’s and while a large portion of that is down to their injury ravaged backline, many stars who were on the pitch underperformed.
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Securing Chiesa would follow a similar model to the signing of Diogo Jota, who proved to be a rare bright light in an otherwise dismal campaign for the Reds.
Klopp’s side need to begin seeking out attacking talent with a younger profile again, as the famous front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are all approaching 30 years of age.
Of the three mentioned, only Salah really enjoyed a trademark season last time out, while Firmino’s campaign proved to be his worst in a Liverpool shirt in terms of goal-scoring.
Every elite club has to make tough decisions and this summer could mark the first window where the idea of selling someone of Firmino’s stature within the club may be worth exploring, especially given it could generate funds for Chiesa – six years his junior.
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Xherdan Shaqiri is another Reds attacker who could make way and be used to bolster Klopp’s transfer purse, with the Swiss international public in his desire for a “new challenge”.
Speaking to Corriere Dello Sport, Shaqiri said: “The important thing at this moment in my career is to be able to play regularly, but that hasn’t always been the case in the last three seasons,” he explained.
“This is why I told Liverpool that I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my wish and will seriously consider the offers that will come. They will not hinder me.
Given both Firmino and Shaqiri still have two years left to run on their deals, Liverpool could generate at least £50m for the pair which will go some way to a sufficient bid for Chiesa.
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There is even the possibility Liverpool could look to offer one, or even both of the players mentioned as part of a swap deal with Juve for the Italy international, given recent reports suggested Liverpool had seen an £86m bid for Chiesa rejected, meaning it could take more than just cold hard cash to get their man.
While Shaqiri’s exit could come as soon as next month, Firmino’s departure may not be as sudden, but given next year he’ll have just one year left on his deal it would be worthwhile for Klopp to start planning for the future with exciting young talent like Chiesa.
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