Earlier in January, rumours suggesting Liverpool would trigger Gonzalo Higuain’s £30M release clause briefly surfaced. They vanished just as quickly, in part because few believed Higuain’s release clause would be less than what Napoli paid for the striker a season and a half ago. It was the silliest rumour yet for a Liverpool side that has been linked to a lot of players in January but looks increasingly unlikely to actually make any major moves before the window closes.
Now, though, it may have been topped in the high priced striker rumour stakes with the return of the Karim Benzema to Liverpool rumours that, as was the case with Higuain, first surfaced last summer. The latest, by way of a few sketchy Spanish outlets and since picked up in England by the Mirror and Daily Star, the latter of which pairs it with a screamed "Liverpool FINALISING deal" headline, claim a £38M bid is on the table and that the French international will be heading to England shortly.
Few Liverpool fans would complain were it true, but all signs point to it being rather the opposite. No source with ties to the club has yet gotten wind of any major deals being in the works this January, which is rather in stark contrast to previous windows, where fans have often had an idea of who the club was after. Whether it’s failed bids for Armenian attacking midfielders, trips to Ukraine to battle with oligarchs, or desperation gambles on Italian strikers, the fans have tended to know.
So far this window, all signs point to nothing much happening. Maybe, if the right deal presents itself, there could be a move for a goalkeeper using the fee recouped from Oussama Assaidi’s sale. Perhaps Divock Origi could arrive a half season early. If a talented youngster is available at the right price, who knows. Beyond that, though, nobody expect much. Certainly nobody expects a £38M bid for a striker who has eight goals and eight assists in 16 league starts for Real Madrid.
Papers like the Mirror and Daily Star can wish it were otherwise, as can fans, but Liverpool are not in the market to make a club record signing this month, and fans might just as well daydream about a shock £50M return for Luis Suarez as that the club could have nearly concluded a deal for Karim Benzema in secret.