The January transfer window looked set to be a quiet one for Liverpool Football Club. A few returning loanees, telling Joe Allen he had to wait until the summer to leave the club, and a few speculative links to players in the Bundesliga that never seemed likely to amount to anything.
That appeared to be about it. Then, news broke that Liverpool had made a formal offer for Shakhtar Donetsk’s 26-year-old Brazilian attacker Alex Teixeira. Negotiations were at an advanced stage. Ian Ayre was in Florida, where the Ukrainian club, on their winter break, were holding a mid-season training camp.
And though Shakhtar appear willing to deal, with reports in The Guardian confirming as much from the selling club’s end, it appears Liverpool will have to improve their opening £24.5M bid to have a chance. Multiple reports this evening—including from The Liverpool Echo's James Pearce and The Daily Mail's Dominic King—claim the Ukrainian club are seeking an improved offer of around £30M.
It may seem high, but if true it’s actually a step down for Shakhtar, who when Chelsea were rumoured to be interested in the autumn reportedly wanted nearly £40M for Teixeira. If £24.5M was Liverpool’s opening offer, and £30M Shakhtar’s counter, there might even be room for them to be talked down further.
Certainly, whatever the fee ends up being, it won’t be cheap. Yet if Jürgen Klopp and the transfer committee believe Teixeira can perform in the Premier League as he has in Ukraine, where he has scored a goal every 90 minutes he’s been on the pitch so far this season, whatever they pay would be a bargain.
The risk, of course, is that if he can’t translate his game to the Premier League, Liverpool will have overpaid. As the club has learned with so-called Premier League proven players in recent years, though—with the likes of Christian Benteke and Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana—any transfer comes with a risk.
It at least looks as though Liverpool believe that’s a risk worth taking, and that Teixeira’s status as a multi-faceted, multi-position attacker who can score goals has made him the club’s top January target. Now the only question is if they can reach a compromise with Shakhtar and push a deal across the line.