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Former Liverpool Target Hits Free Market

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Shakhtar Donetsk’s Bernard is about to be a free agent, and the Reds would do well to give the Brazilian a look.

Feyenoord v Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

With July 1st less than two weeks away, the transfer market is about to see some significant activity. As the majority of European contracts run to the end of June, the date marks the start signal for player movement across the continent, as deals made outside the transfer window finally take place.

In Liverpool’s case, such transactions include the arrivals of RB Leipzig’s Naby Keïta on a £53m transfer agreed last summer, Monaco’s £47m man Fabinho, signed just days after the Champions League final in May, as well as the exit of Emre Can, in all likelihood to the Serie A and Juventus.

For players whose contracts run out and have yet to sign with a new club, free agency beckons. It’s a lucrative proposition, as the absence of a transfer fee provides the players in question with a solid basis for negotiating higher wages or signing fees. The summer of 2018 sees an unusual number of high profile names enter free agency, including Jack Wilshere, Marouane Fellaini and Schalke’s Max Meyer.

Another interesting athlete imminently available on a free transfer is former Liverpool target Bernard. The Brazilian was close to an Anfield move back in 2013, but eventually moved to Ukraine and Shakhtar Donetsk in a £22m deal instead. Now 25, Bernard released an unsurprising statement regarding his future on Wednesday, hailing the Hirnyky fans for their support, but stating his wish to play for a bigger club.

Winning three league and three cup titles in his five years at the club, while contributing 28 goals and 35 assists — averaging a goal involvement every 140 minutes — Bernard’s stay can only be classed as a success, and even though he may have slipped off many clubs’ radar by spending such a significant portion of his career in the Ukrainian Premier Liga, the Brazilian’s talent remains significant.

Furthermore, the 5’5” speedster does his best work as a wide attacker, a position Jürgen Klopp is looking to add quality depth to, and while he is generally considered a pacey dribbler, the former Atlético Mineiro wide man can both pick out and tuck away a pass, as his production suggests.

For a club reportedly about to throw eight digits at Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri in a bid to shore up their wide attacker depth, it would be foolish not to give the 15-times capped Brazilian a serious look, and with Roberto Firmino and Fabinho already in place at Anfield, making Bernard feel at home should be no problem at all. Mikey Edwards needs to get on his laptop in his air-conditioned office and make some Skype calls, is what we’re saying.