If it seems like just weeks ago that Liverpool were linked to yet another goalkeeper who would magically resolve, once and for all, the club’s frustrating inconsistency at that position, that’s because it was indeed just weeks ago. Except for the recurring and somewhat inexplicable rumors concerning Joe Hart’s possible return to England, the one story with the most legs - thus far - has been about Liverpool’s possible interest in Inter Milan’s Samir Handanović.
Though older than both Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius, Handanović has been in solid, and most importantly consistent, form for Inter for some time now, winning raves from the likes of legendary Inter Milan portiere Francesco Toldo, who described the Slovenian as “unreal.” It was just over a year ago that Inter signaled Handanović’s importance to the squad by coaxing him into a new contract with the nerazzuri, extending his term until 2019.
That hasn’t, however, stopped the rumors of interest from England, which have bubbled up in the wake of Inter’s failure to qualify for Champions League football over the past few seasons. Such was the level of uncertainty around Handanović’s long-term future in Italy that the player himself felt compelled to publicly state his continued commitment to Inter, even in the absence of Champions League action.
According to reports from Calciomercato, Inter’s ownership have decided to head off any potential suitors, at least in the near term, by offering Handanović an additional one-year extension as well as more attractive wages, pushing the term of his contract to 2020. If true, it might make it slightly less likely that Handanović departs Italy for England, but these types of extensions have rarely been completely successful in deterring a determined suitor willing to flash the cash.
Whether or not Liverpool fall into the category of such a suitor remains to be seen. In addition to displaying a recent streak of fiscal discipline in the transfer market, Liverpool also signed a first team keeper not that long ago. While Karius hasn’t set the league alight, he has at the very least provided some much needed competition for Mignolet in goal.
It seems unlikely that Klopp has completely given up on both current keepers, so if Handanović were to arrive, he would represent yet another alternative while either Karius or Mignolet tries to find some consistency. That alternative would likely come at a higher price now if the rumors of Inter’s resolve are true, so Liverpool will have to consider whether they have the resources to commit to both the pursuit of a new keeper as well as repairing some of the other key depth issues in the squad.