That Liverpool fans were nervously waiting on news of the severity of Jordan Henderson’s foot injury spoke not just to the importance of their new captain as a player, but also to the fact that were he injured, Liverpool could be facing the reality of having only two fit, favoured, senior midfielders to choose from.
With Joe Allen injured and Lucas Levia pushed out of the first team picture by the manager, suddenly Liverpool don’t look very deep in the centre of the park. That’s probably not the first thing on the mind of Marca’s rumour mongers today, but however they got to it, they’re doubling down on their Asier Illarramendi to Liverpool story.
They even claim Liverpool have made Real Madrid an offer of £10M for him. It’s a bid that’s noticeably down from the rumoured £12M that was earlier rumoured as his price which, and that was in turn down from the £15M it was first supposed take to get the 25-year-old Madrid paid more than €32M for just two summers ago.
It’s a precipitous drop in value, but perhaps not entirely crazy given the recent arrival of Mateo Kovacic at the Bernabeu, an event that pushes Illarramendi even further down the depth chart. Rather like players like Lucas and Mamadou Sakho at Liverpool, he’s a player who is probably worth far more than he’s available for.
Just entering into what should be his best footballing years and not even likely to make the starting eleven at Madrid for domestic cup games, it’s clear that Madrid either don’t need or want him and that the player needs a move to avoid entirely wasting his career. There’s just the one problem: Liverpool don’t seem interested.
All the noise continues to come from the Madrid end, where it’s clear either the club or player are doing their best to signal the midfielder can be had for a cut-rate price. On the Liverpool end, mostly there continues to be skepticism that the Reds are interested. Which is a shame, really. Especially at £10M.