With Liverpool top of the table and reigning European and World Champions, the 2020 January window was always going to be a hot mess of a rumour mill. The Reds have money to burn — if they so desire — and possess the sort of quality squad that only the most talented players could be expected to potentially contribute to.
As a result, they’ll be linked with every big name around, realism be damned. Jadon Sancho and Kylian Mbappé have been touted as potential targets loudly and frequently, while Timo Werner is a name that frankly should be brought up more often, but a fourth exciting attacker has been missing from the conversation, until now.
Ousmane Dembélé was a spectacular player at both Rennes and Borussia Dortmund before he made the move to Barcelona back in 2017, averaging a goal or assist every 114 minutes across two seasons in two separate leagues, all before having turned 20, and looked for all the world as a sure shot to be the next global superstar.
Then, following a €145m move to Catalonia, he tore his hamstring in his fourth appearance. The Frenchman looked to have put his injury troubles behind him and put up excellent number for the Blaugranes upon his return four months later, but that pesky hamstring has kept flaring up, and now, two years on, the 22-year old has managed less than 2000 league minutes for Barca.
It’s been problematic enough that the Catalans are reportedly willing to cut their losses and release Dembélé for less than €100m, and as the rumour mongerers would have it, Jürgen Klopp — who was keen on the Frenchman back in 2016 when Liverpool’s financial and contemporary cultural clout was significantly less ascendant than is currently the case — is interested.
It’s not a move that makes negative sense, in that Dembélé is legitimately one of the most electrifying wide attackers on the planet when he’s fit, and is at an age where he can be a long-term replacement in Liverpool’s aging frontline, but here at TLO, we’re calling bullshit.
The Reds have enough recurring injury magnets in the squad as is, needing to figure out lasting solutions for Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta promptly, and adding another injury risk, one who is currently out of commission due to hamstring problems for €100m doesn’t seem like the sort of mastermind scheme Mikey Edwards would dream up on his laptop in his air-conditioned office.