Nothing infuriates fans as much as an endless succession of unsubstantiated and ludicrous stories connecting their club with series of footballers, who are wholly unlikely or unsuitable for a move to their particular corner of the footballing world -- except perhaps, when there are no stories whatsoever; ludicrous, unsubstantiated, or otherwise about any players. Hello, Everton. This is why, when a couple of sensible and eminently possible links come up, they are worthy of at least some discussion. Step forward, Simon Mignolet and Christian Benteke.
Nobody needs reminding of the patented Barcelona passive/aggressive flirtation that has been occurring with Pepe Reina, again. The fact that Victor Valdes seems to be unsure what day it is, is not aiding the attainment of clarity. His proposed move to Monaco has gone through several twists as Liverpool's first choice custodian awaits developments.
The non-committal commitment on both sides has become wearisome to this poor scrivener and, much as I love the big bald Spaniard, I wish the dance were over, so that I could see who was going home with him. Either way, it would appear to be a good mental-health policy to allow oneself to think of a future without Reina. In this unfortunate eventuality, the name many would prefer to see on the back of a Liverpool kit is that of Simon Mignolet.
Having been reputedly very close to a deal to take Asmir Begovic to Anfield, it is fair to assume that Brendan Rodgers is considering recruiting a new goalkeeper, and twenty five year old Mignolet has had another highly impressive campaign. The Sunderland man won both the club and supporters' awards as their player of the year and has established himself as first choice in a fine Belgian international side.
Mignolet would likely be on a considerably lower wage than the reputed one hundred thousand pounds Reina receives each week and any likely transfer price would hopefully be lower than the fifteen million pounds Stoke were holding out for in order to let Begovic go. So, there's all that.
With Luis Suarez seeming to be intent on driving himself and his ever-present cup of mate out of Anfield, the attention of the club's recruitment committee must inevitably turn towards the top end of the pitch. Despite cloying protestations about his love for Liverpool and its fans, Suarez has seriously undermined the club's bargaining potential by making clear his desperation to move. Yet even from such an impaired position, the fact that the Uruguayan arm-nibbler is amongst the world's finest talents will surely see Liverpool Football Club in receipt of north of forty million pounds.
With such a sum banked, in addition to fees for Andy Carroll and assorted others, it is realistic to see at least sixty million pounds worth of buying potential available to the manager. A player many would like to see some of those funds expended on is Aston Villa's Christian Benteke. Yes, it appears Liverpool are looking to sign ALL THE BELGIANS.
Benteke, still only twenty two, struck nineteen times in thirty four Premier League games last time out and also provided four assists. In much the same fashion as Suarez, the striker was often the solitary force driving his team through matches and ensuring they got the points to stave off relegation. He is a thrillingly direct footballer, as Liverpool discovered to their cost this season, when his two goals helped Villa to a win.
With Arsenal, Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid all reputedly interested, the deal makers at Liverpool will be severely disadvantaged by the lack of Champions League football on offer at Anfield and therefore one imagines the wages necessary to tempt the player would have be eye-wateringly large. The news of an injury to Daniel Sturridge, however, may be enough to make trigger fingers itchier than usual.
Whatever your preferences, there is little doubt that Mignolet and Benteke are two fine footballers, whose presence would only improve Liverpool Football Club. There is also little doubt, that given the opportunity, I would be a perfectly passable President of Earth. The likelihood of either eventuality is the dubious part.