With news that Daniel Sturridge won't be finishing the current season or starting the next one in a Liverpool shirt due to yet another extended recovery, it's clear that the club are in desperate need of support up top. Most are in agreement that they're set to try to offload each of Rickie Lambert, Mario Balotelli, and Fabio Borini, leaving Sturridge and Divock Origi as the only sure things heading into the 2015-2016 campaign, with neither actually fitting the bill considering one will miss at least three league matches and the other is yet to play in England and has only just turned 20 years old.
The links to Memphis Depay, who scored an impressive number of goals against training mannequins in the Eriedivisie, made plenty of sense, but with Manchester United securing the signature of the Dutch international, Liverpool will have to move elsewhere. It appears as though they already have, almost as though they might have foreseen a rejection from Memphis coming, with reports emerging that they're in for Stade Rennes forward and French youth international Paul-Georges Ntep.
Ntep is currently the leading scorer for Ligue One's Stade Rennes, who sit ninth in the league table. His nine goals have helped the side from northwestern France to a comfortable position mid-table, and he's drawn attention around the continent after another promising season. He's not as well-known as Depay, but the players' purported skillsets aren't wildly different, and if Liverpool are looking to add a young, energetic forward, Ntep certainly fits the bill. L'Equipe suggested yesterday that Liverpool certainly think so, with the player having already been on Merseyside and toured the club's facilities ahead of a deal.
He doesn't come without concerns, however, as he's just over a year removed from having been handed a three-month suspended prison sentence for physical abuse of his former partner, the specifics of which make for grim reading. Apologies were offered on behalf of the player along with promises to mature and etc., but that's a damning offense for a player or person of any age. Those looking for a signing whose moral stature arrives unquestioned won't find it here, and off-pitch concerns aside, his demeanor while on the pitch has proved divisive as well.
He wouldn't be the first forward from France's top flight that many would choose, and while he's an intriguing prospect given his talents, the behavior concerns are plenty worrying, and should give pause as to whether or not he's a player worth bringing aboard.