All because Liverpool hasn't made a move yet in the transfer market doesn't mean that people aren't saying they're about to. So join us for the latest fun-like substance as we run down the latest collection of names being linked into—and out of—the club as the end of the January window edges into sight…
From the folks who brought you last week's Darren Bent to Liverpool rumour comes the latest fun-filled episode, this time involving diminutive England and Tottenham striker Defoe. With 7 goals in fifteen Premier League appearances so far this season, he's well ahead of his career average of a goal in every three games though still nowhere near the kind of strike rate that he would need in order to crack the 20 goals in a season mark for the first time at the age of 29.
In news that you already knew he's English, he's a striker, he plays for a club rather overstocked up front with a striker for every day of the year, and Damien Comolli was director of football for much of his time at Tottenham. All of which adds up to a fairly easy name to conjure up and, for most fans, another fairly underwhelming "known" quantity. Though given that Comolli spent four years as director of football at the club Defoe plays for, if there is in fact any truth to the rumours—and that seems a quite massive "if" at the moment—then one would imagine Liverpool's current director of football is certain that Defoe is without question the man to make an instant impact for a Liverpool side struggling to crack the top four.
As for what Defoe would bring to the table, like the last striker Liverpool stole away from Tottenham he's poacher rather than a playmaker or targetman. He's often seen as poor when it comes to hold-up play and can at times be selfish to the detriment of the team. Still, while he won't create goals he's generally considered a player who can put chances away when they fall to him in spite of having a generally underwhelming return compared to Europe's top strikers.
Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair
Welcome to the latest flavour of the day of the week of the month, which might sound delicious until you realise that some months you're as likely to get Japanese ice cream with chunks of raw horse flesh as something that doesn't invoke an instant gag reflex in 97% of the global population without access to used panty vending machines. In this case, however, there's at least reason to hope that one or both of 21-year-old Allen and 22-year-old Sinclair might not be the footballing equivalent of bloody chunks of flash-frozen equine meat, even if neither seems an obvious must-have target.
Both play for Swansea, this season's newly promoted pass-and-move darlings, with Allen a versatile midfielder who while unlikely to wow the fans by singlehandedly dragging his club to victory will keep possession ticking over smartly while popping up with the occasional goal or telling pass. He's been a Swansea player from the age of nine and is well versed in their possession-based approach, and on the surface he certainly seems like a player who would fit in well playing the sort of football that saw Liverpool finish last season in the league's second best form. On the other hand, for many there will be obvious echoes of Jordan Henderson and questions as to whether he's the sort of player—young, tidy, and still developing—that Liverpool really needs right now.
Sinclair on the other hand offers pace and goal threat from the wings, having registered six goals and an assist in 21 games played from wide. On the surface it's a solid return for a player in his position, though that he's taken 62 shots to reach that total for a conversion rate below 10% has to be a cause for concern if you're a Liverpool side in need of clinical finishing. Unlike one-club man Allen, Sinclair's young career has been transient in the extreme, with the player seeing games with Bristol Rovers before moving to Chelsea, after which he was sent on loan to Plymoth, QPR, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, and finally Wigan before landing permanently at Swansea when Chelsea decided there was no future for him at the London club.
Liverpool fans following the academy will remember Teixeira from the NextGen Series, where he supported the striker for Sporting Lisbon's u19 side, scored at Anfield, and was arguably the man of both matches when the clubs met in the fall. According to the Guardian, Liverpool is now working to steal Teixeira away from the Portuguese club, and as far as names for the future go there's a great deal to like about the tricky attacking midfielder. However, even if Liverpool is interested in the player, it's difficult to believe that Sporting would be willing to let him go now when a few years in the first team would almost certainly lead to him commanding a much larger transfer fee. And even if Liverpool were to manage to capture the 18-year-old, he certainly wouldn't be walking into the first team.
Wild speculation kicked off when Bruce Grobbelaar went on TalkSport over the weekend to reveal that he had first hand knowledge Liverpool was closing in on signing a South American striker plying his trade in Holland. Though Liverpool's former keeper wouldn't say exactly who it was, just about everybody agreed that the only name that fit the bill was that of 20-year-old Uruguayan Texeira. The young striker arrived at Groningen over the summer, meaning he's had little time in European football to prove himself, but the early returns seem promising. Despite that promise, the biggest concern over Texeira might be getting him a work permit since he's yet to be capped at a senior level for his country.
Amusingly, both he and Suarez come from Salto in the north-west of Uruguay, and both signed with Groningen when they moved to Europe at 19. In Suarez' case, he moved to Ajax only a year after arriving at the northern club, providing another potential parallel for those interested in piling up coincidences until they seem somehow meaningful should Texeira make a move in the near future. Coincidences aside, in the end he's a promising talent who's scored seven times in ten appearances in the Eredivisie since he arrived, but he hardly seems likely to be an instant fix for Liverpool's woes in front of goal. Like so many of Liverpool's rumoured targets, then, the more you look at him the more interesting he becomes—while at the same time it becomes less certain he's the answer to the club's current problems.
Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez
Along with a slew of mostly young and inexperienced talent rumoured to be on the way in, there are a pair of veteran names frequently mentioned as potential outgoings. In the case of Dirk Kuyt, after the opening weeks of the season saw Liverpool's leading scorer from the year before nailed to the bench in favour of unproven potential there has been a persistent suspicion that he's surplus to requirements at Liverpool despite that he still holds down a starting role for the Dutch national side. With Kuyt not scoring and a clear preference for young talent it's difficult to dismiss out of hand the rumours that he and the club have reached an understanding that it's best for all parties involved if he moves on in the summer at the latest, though with Liverpool being linked to a number of names in the Dutch league over the past few months there's a growing feeling that Kuyt could be leaving Anfield before the end of January as makeweight in a deal.
Maxi, meanwhile, has found himself at the head of the rumoured outgoing queue after he didn't even make the bench for the club's last two matches. There are conflicting reports that the player may have picked up a shoulder injury in training, yet without any kind of official update as to his status it was inevitable that many would begin to wonder about his future. Given that any time he's been given the chance he's seemed Liverpool's best and most consistent scoring threat so far this season it seems odd that the club would be eager to cast him off in favour of players still years away from their peaks, but with him struggling for significant minutes even while unquestionably fit there's every sign that like with Kuyt he isn't seen as a key part of Liverpool's plans over the rest of this season and the next. Rumours that he has ever agitated for a move away from Anfield, however, are patently untrue, even if some seeking to excuse his potential departure have begun to twist an interview from the summer where he admitted it would be nice to eventually finish his career at his boyhood club into something more.