Two top transfer targets down, two to go. And the two that are left look far from certain to arrive. After admitting defeat in their pursuit of Julian Brandt last month, today Liverpool have given up on Fulham left back starlet Ryan Sessegnon, abandoning the chase as it appears a certainty he will sign for Tottenham.
That’s the news today from The Liverpool Echo, who say Liverpool will now move on to other targets—not including Benjamin Mendy, who ended Liverpool’s brief flirtation today when he made it clear he would be heading to Manchester City—to fill the left back role alongside stand-in midfield stop-gap James Milner.
Of the club’s top summer transfer targets, that leaves only Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keïta still on the table, and even if Liverpool manage to land both it will be an embarrassing blow to the club to have so publicly made their shopping list clear in the months leading up to the summer and to then have missed on half of them.
And even that’s assuming they get either. Currently, van Dijk is considered a Chelsea lean, with the odds favouring the £50M-rated Southampton centre half ending up at Stamford Bridge with Antonio Conte and the defending Premier League champions. If he chooses the Blues, Liverpool will have missed on three.
That would leave Keïta, who if he changes clubs still appears likeliest to end up at Anfield. However, in recent weeks, and despite rumblings RB Leipzig might be sourcing a replacement, Keïta has rather discouragingly talked about looking forward to playing in the Champions League next season with his current club.
Even in the best case scenario, though, Liverpool very publicly set out their top four targets and now are certain to miss out on two of them at the very least. No matter who else they bring in, it is a situation both baffling and embarrassing, one that reflects an absolutely massive error in judgement by the club.
It leaves only two possibilities. One, the club made their top targets known to friendly journalists while fully aware they would struggle to sign all or perhaps even any of them, foolishly and needlessly ramping up fan excitement and setting themselves up for embarrassment if they then failed to get those deals done.
Or, second, the club considered themselves a near lock to land all four and somehow, over the past month, have managed to turn four transfer locks into two transfer failures and two more that look far from certain. Either option is far from encouraging. Either option speaks to a massive misstep by Liverpool Football Club.
The good news is that missing out on your top targets needn’t be the end of the world. After all, last summer Liverpool missed out on Mario Götze before ending up with Sadio Mané. The difference then, though, was the club didn’t tell fans they were going to sign Götze a month before the end of the season.
Liverpool’s summer may not be ruined; they could still come out the end of it well positioned for their return to the Champions League next season. Right now, though, it’s all quite disappointing. Right now, there’s no way to paint the situation such that it doesn’t reflect badly on the club.