The list keeps growing, perhaps with everybody thinking that if they keep adding names one's bound to turn out right sooner or later. And so today we've got a few more highly dubious but widely reported rumours to add to the heaping pile of possible transfer targets, as well as one rumour that just about everybody seems to think is going to come true no matter what over the next few days. Unless it doesn't, since that's how these things seem to go more often than not...
Bojan Krkic & Jeffren Suarez
Back in April when we were making fun of this whole bizarre summer transfer insanity being dragged into the rest of the year—as well as suggesting Charlie Adam had all the agility of the Bismarck. Well, back then some of the sarcasm was saved for rumours about "Players Who Aren’t Good Enough For Barcelona." And so now for the 273rd window in a row, Liverpool find themselves linked to Bojan Krkic with a rumoured asking price in the £15-20M range (seems to be a theme there), as well as to Jeffren Suarez. Liverpool hasn't been linked to him 273 windows in a row, just off and on for the past few months.
Bojan, still only 20 years old, is the poster child for why you don't push players into the first team while they may still be mentally and physically unprepared. While he's no Messi, it's clear that at one point it was thought he would be. It's also clear that trying to force him into becoming just that at only 17 did some damage to his development while also turning a significant section of Barcelona's fans against a player they've considered a flop since back into his teenage years. In a lot of ways, he's to Barça what Lucas was to Liverpool for a few seasons, with too many quick to forget his age and that he would be a solid, valued contributor for a side that wasn't the best in the world. In any case, one expects the talent that got him pushed into the Barcelona first team at 17 is still in there somewhere waiting to be developed—and that Borrell and Segura may be a source of inside knowledge if such a transfer ever comes to pass.
With that all said, he is a very slight player and most certainly not Lionel Messi—or even former Liverpool target and current Manchester City player David Silva, at least not yet. Whether it would be a wise gamble for Liverpool to send that kind of money to Catalonia for a stalled talent who would then have to add "Adjusting to the Premier League" to his to-do list is certainly an open question. Less of an open question is whether Jeffren Suarez would be worth the reputed £10-15M, with the answer in his case seeming fairly clearly to fall on the no side. He's not a bad player, and Barcelona's a tough mountain to climb, but if Liverpool actually is in for him it seems like switching from overpriced and average English talent to overpriced and average Spanish talent. Though of course neither is actually going to happen, and in January Bojan will find himself linked to Liverpool for the 274th window in a row.
He's also 20 years old, but he's back in England. With Sunderland, in fact, which you probably know at this point but many might not have known even a few months back. Of the players like Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, and Charlie Adam being linked to the club of late for ridiculous sums, he's probably the most encouraging of the bunch, a midfield prospect who created the fifth most scoring chances in the Premier League at the heart of anything half-way productive managed by Sunderland last season.
The worry for many isn't about whether or not he'd be a nice player to have, a bit of potential who would get the occasional run of games via rotation and injury for two or three seasons in the hope he turned into something truly special—a more highly regarded Jonjo Shelvey of sorts. The issue comes when everybody seems to assume he's almost certain to be moving to Liverpool for around £18-20M. Perhaps Damien Comolli will be able to manage it so that a significant portion of the fee is based on the player achieving certain benchmarks for club and country, but it's still an overall number that seems twice as high as it should be.
It also can't help but worry people for the baseline it helps to cement after splashing £35M on Andy Carroll in January set the precedent. In that case there were certainly extenuating circumstances, but about in the only world where it makes sense to shell out that much for Henderson, Andy Carroll's actual market rate probably would be in the £35M range. Essentially, to pay that much for Henderson as Liverpool's first signing of the window commits the club to a Manchester City or Real Madrid-style spending spree this summer, which seems distasteful at best—and potentially catastrophic at worst if the club hasn't suddenly found a bottomless chequebook. Because in addition to being a hell of a lot to pay for a promising talent who might not be worth that much even if he does come fully good in a few seasons, it's very much at a position of secondary need for Liverpool with the bigger holes that exist elsewhere.
Certainly there's been a move over the past few days towards rationalising his purchase, which does appear increasingly likely to be Liverpool's first signing of the summer, but a fee that high should suggest certain things about a player. Things like that if somebody had suggested to you that Liverpool pay £20M for Jordan Henderson two months ago you wouldn't have looked at that somebody like they'd just grown a second head. Which we both know you would have. Meanwhile, Sunderland fans are drooling over the likes of Krancjar, Nzogbia, and Crouch as potential targets to spend the spoils of Bent and Henderson on while thinking Liverpool have officially gone off the deep end.
In potentially happier news, there are conflicting stories floating around about Joe Cole and Tottenham. Half of them say he's likely to head to Spurs for £3M, with Harry Redknapp fondly remembering the days when Joe Cole was a player with promise. And a least some stamina. In any case, the other half say it isn't happening. Hopefully the former comes to pass.
Meanwhile, Bundesliga specialist Raphael Honigstein thinks Bayer Leverkusen's 23-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder is likely to move this summer, with Liverpool being a possible destination. He's been arguably the best performer for Lverkusen in a strong season for the club—who most Liverpool fans will think of first for Sami Hyypia playing there for the past two years—that saw them finish second in the league, while Augusto himself relegated the newly arrived Michael Ballack to the bench. Of course, if Henderson does come in that attacking midfield area begins to look a little crowded, likely leaving little room for others—be they a Renato Augusto or a Charlie Adam.
And finally, we return to a previously discussed name for the first time in Rumour Mongering, as Ashley Young is back to being totally set to sign with Manchester United after briefly being totally set to sign for Liverpool. Which in turn was after a spell where he was totally set to sign for Manchester United and after the initial rumours had him totally set to sign for Liverpool. So by this time next week he'll either be a United player, or he'll be totally set to sign for Liverpool again. Transfer rumours: They're sort of like the circle of life. Except for the part where you die a little with each passing day.