The international break is always subject to some wild transfer speculation, but usually, the rumour mongers have the courtesy of waiting a full week before delving into the darkest, most nonsensical corners of their gossip bags. Not so for Italian outlet Tutto Mercato — a site whose very existence is based around the production of rumour mongering — as they’ve barely let the weekend pass before conjuring up this beauty.
According to noter purveyor of Anfield insider info, Alessio Alaimo, the Reds are seriously interested in Argentine international Paulo Dybala and will be making a move for him in the next couple of weeks. Naturally, given the magnitude of the names involved, this little four-sentence piece of performance art has been picked up and regurgitated by other outlets, with little thought given to its plausibility.
Yes, Paulo Dybala is a good footballer, yes Liverpool are a good football team, and yes, that is often a natural combination. Beyond that, though, there is very little reason to believe this particular rumour has any sort of legs at all. Let us count the reasons why.
First off, Tuttomercatoweb is wildly irresponsible with their rumour creation, and their batting average is only rivaled by the likes of Portuguese Don Balon when it comes to getting things wrong. Second, while Dybala has seen less playing time for Juve this season, particularly in his favoured central role as Massimiliano Allegri continues to favour single-striker formations and consent non-comprehender Cristiano Ronaldo, the bianconeri should have no interest in getting rid of the former Palermo man.
At 25, Dybala is one of few current Juventus players who still has his entire prime ahead of him. and unless Allegri decides that secondary strikers are lame now, they’re going to need him when 34-year old Ronaldo and 32-year old Mario Mandzukic age out any second now.
Third, there is no natural fit for Dybala at Anfield. While Jürgen Klopp has very occasionally favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation this season — particularly as he eased Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri into the team — Liverpool’s bread and butter is, and will likely continue to be, the 4-3-3, and players are brought in to to fit it. Although the Argentinian has spent some time — with varying degrees of success — cutting in from the right wing this season, he does his very best work behind a central striker, and unless Klopp is committing to a long-term tactical change, Dybala just wouldn’t have a place in the team.
Finally, Paulo Dybala, with three years left on his contract, would cost a lot of money. Six digit, club record type cash. Liverpool, have cashed in most of their savings on the trio of Virgil van Dijk, Alisson and Naby Keïta last summer, don’t have that sort of dough sitting around, and the money they do have is likely to be spent on fullback depth and a flexible backup attacker, rather than an odd-fitting marquee playmaker.
Paulo Dybala probably isn’t leaving Turin any time soon, and if he does, it won’t be for Liverpool.