Given how Liverpool have approached the summer transfer window this season — announce all transfer targets early, loudly and publicly — it has seemed certain that the off-season would consist mainly of three or four names being repeated ad nauseam, with the odd A Bolo poorly sourced Portuguese winger wild card thrown in every two weeks. Certainly, the Reds would be linked to a whole host of players, but solid reports of interest beyond the stated targets appears unlikely.
It is therefore surprising when reports out of Italy, by way of Corriere della Sport, claim Jürgen Klopp has made an offer of €28m for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The bid has been rebuffed, with the biancocelesti holding out for closer to €70m for the young Serbian, because of course, in the twilight zone that is the 2017 transfer window, preposterous fees is the name of the game.
The 22-year old has been in solid form for the Rome side this season, contributing four goals and seven assists from central midfield, while averaging 3.5 ball recoveries per 90 minutes. At 6'3", Sergej — the less-of-a-mouthful name he has chosen to put on the back of his jersey — offers a rare combination of physical presence and athletic grace, displaying a range of attacking qualities, among them a splendid range of passing with both feet, excellent control in tight spaces, and a genuine aerial threat in the opposition box.
On the downside, he plays a position in which Liverpool are loaded, has only played one impressive season, comes out of the Serie A which rarely translates well to the Premier League, and would arrive at an absurd cost.
Whether there is any truth to the rumours remains to be seen, as there is yet to be any word from club-connected journalists, but in what looks set to be an exhaustingly saga-driven summer, any unforeseen speculation is welcome, if only to break up the monotony of the incessant incantation of van Dijk, Keïta, Salah, Ox, van Dijk, Keïta, Salah, Ox, van Dijk, Keïta, Salah, Ox, van Dijk, Keïta, Salah, Ox...