With a central defender added in Ibrahima Konaté, over a month before the transfer window even opens, attention among Liverpool fans has turned to which other squad needs should be adressed before the start of next season, replacing the departed Georginio Wijnaldum in central midfield generally considered a key issue.
Others have noted that the Reds’ esteemed frontline, the 309-goal trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah, will be turning 30 over the course of the coming 12 months, and that it would perhaps be wise to begin the painful but necessary process of replacing the superstars.
Yesterday, reports from internet rumour mongerers Futbol de Ingelaterra suggested a £32m bid had been launched by Liverpool for Leeds’ Raphinha. Whether there is any substance to these claims specifically is difficult to ascertain, if unlikely, but the notion that the Reds would be interested in the Brazilian makes all kinds of sense.
Sharing an agent with Roberto Firmino and Fabinho, the 24-year old has spoken in the past about this friendship with the Liverpool duo and how they welcomed him to England, and the group also share an agent, while the player’s widely recognised ambition and determination has seen him move clubs three times in three summers.
A dynamic wide attacker with a wicked left foot, Raphinha hit the ground running in England and translated his production from Ligue 1 with aplomb, scoring six and assisting nine goals for the Whites, while emerging as the club’s main creative outlet. The Avaí youth product fits Liverpool’s age and play style profile and would offer many of the same things their current forwards do, as well as a considerable set-piece threat and filthy nutmegs.
Questions arise about the suggested price tag, however, and also regarding Leeds’ willingness to sell one of their top performers. Having arrived only eight months ago for £17m, one would expect a steeper price increase, and although the club posted losses in excess of £60m last season, their success in the Premier League this year would likely see them reluctant to part with their prize asset, unless the offer was irrefutably good. And Mikey Edwards and the gang seldom make irrefutably good offers.
If the Reds make any moves with regards to their front line this summer, Raphinha is the kind of player they will be targeting. If they can make that happen for the price suggested here, it would be another blinder played by the recruitment team.