With the 2018/19 football season all but wrapped up throughout Europe, attention will soon be turning toward the summer transfer window. And with no World Cup to keep us busy this time around, rumours and signings will make for most of the summer drama. There’s one major club some seem to expect to see staying out of that drama altogether though: Liverpool.
BBC has already done a write-up of summer transfer targets for top Premier League clubs and projected a low-key summer for Liverpool. The article justifiably called Liverpool the “most settled” team in the Premier League, and noted that most players who would be good enough to come in and make a meaningful difference aren’t “gettable.” It also noted that Liverpool’s ownership, the Fenway Sports Group, would rather take a “nimble” and “strategic” approach than making a big splash.
This all makes perfect sense when you think about where Liverpool is at the moment. The club has had arguably its best total season so far this century and is looking to build on 2018’s deep Champions League run with a title this time around. The Reds are set to take on EPL rival Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final at the beginning of June, and virtually all of the most up-to-date betting services are pegging them as favourites. Most of the odds indicate a relatively competitive match, which is to say Liverpool is no juggernaut – but it is expected to win. And what Champions League final favourite needs to go on a summer shopping spree?
At the same time though, the team also came up short on the domestic front, losing out to Manchester City in a closely contested EPL title race. This wasn’t a shock to most of us, as Man City was, for the most part, a narrow favourite throughout the year. However, it’s hard to imagine coming in as a close second won’t sting a little bit for Liverpool even if it winds up winning the Champions League. So there could be some incentive to make a move or two this summer even if the team does look fairly settled.
Speaking to this point, the same BBC article referenced previously also contradicts itself somewhat regarding Liverpool’s summer outlook. For instance, just after asserting that Fenway Sports Group isn’t looking to make a splash, the article notes that the group’s aim has been to reach a stage at which the club can “react and make game-changing signings” when the opportunity comes about; it then states that ownership feels it’s “now at that stage,” appearing to imply that there could at least be some impetus to make a move. Furthermore, some potential areas of need are identified: notably fresh legs at the full-back positions and a possible replacement for Daniel Sturridge, who is expected to be on his way out of Liverpool.
In other words, we don’t really know what to expect! The argument can be made that Liverpool is in spectacular shape as is and requires little if any change to remain competitive in England and in Europe. But one can just as easily say this team is very good and on the cusp of greatness if it can make one or two big moves.
For what it’s worth, there are a few big names that have been linked at least loosely to the Reds as we head into the summer. One is 23-year-old winger Julian Brandt of Bayer Leverkusen; one is 25-year-old Lyon forward Memphis Depay, who’s one of the few options who could come close to being a one-for-one replacement for Sturridge; and one is Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax’s emergent 19-year-old centre back who could significantly bolster the Reds’ defence.
We’ll see as we get into the summer if any of these players could really be headed to Liverpool, or if the club might have something more secretive up its sleeve.