Liverpool need help at striker. Even if the third time really is a charm and Daniel Sturridge can stay fit for the rest of the season, Liverpool need help at striker. Mario Balotelli has failed to click and has already been linked with a handful of moves away from the club this January following statements from manager Brendan Rodgers about him being poor fit for the club’s style of play. Rickie Lambert, while game, is a depth option.
It’s a situation that has left the club with versatile attacker Raheem Sterling filling in up top, and though the youngster has looked passable as an emergency striker, that he’s had to take on the role while Lambert and Balotelli mostly sit on the bench doesn’t make for an encouraging depth chart. Strangely, though, there has been little talk of a striker signing this month, with a few tenuous links to youngsters like Luciano Vietto and Paco Alcacer pretty much it.
The newest rumours aren’t a whole lot more solid, but they’re certainly taking things up a few notches from a pair of 21-year-old strikers who would cost between £10-15M to bring in. Those new rumours, coming by way of the less than journalistically sound Daily Express, have Liverpool looking at Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain. Though Higuain has started Napoli’s last two games following the Serie A winter break, the Express believes he is out of favour.
In part this is due to Napoli’s recent signing of Manolo Gabbiadini from Sampdoria. Gabbiadini is certainly young and promising, with the 23-year-old having scored seven goals in 14 Serie A appearances this year with a 14.3% conversion rate. He’s still not at the level of the proven Higuain, though, and Napoli have shown no real signs that they are actually considering offloading his nine league goals and 17.3% conversion rate.
Liverpool could certainly use a player like Higuain, but no matter what the Express say, Napoli don’t appear to be trying to offload him. A rumoured £30M release clause could just about make a move for the 27-year-old French-born Argentina international plausible, but with Higuain having arrived at Napoli for more than that in the summer of 2013, it seems a suspiciously low number to be attached to a player of his quality.
There likely isn’t a Liverpool fan on the planet who would turn their nose up if Higuain were to arrive at the club, but it will take a lot more than a bit of chatter from the Daily Express and rumours of a suspiciously low release clause before those fans should give any thought to his arrival being a real possibility.