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Henrikh Mkhitaryan Transfer Contingent on Luis Suarez Leaving?

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Reports earlier in the week suggested that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was target whether or not Liverpool were able to hang onto Luis Suarez, but more recent news has the club further off a deal than previously thought.

Lars Baron

Discussion about the futures of Luis Suarez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan aren't as mutually exclusive as we were led to believe earlier in the week; there were widespread reports that the Armenian attacking midfielder was a lead target for Liverpool regardless of where the Uruguayan played his football next season, with a tenuous connection at best between their hopes for Mkhitaryan and the will-he, won't-he saga that's destined to follow Suarez over the coming weeks. Today we learn that's not necessarily the case, though, with James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo confirming interest and potential cost but cooling any talk of advanced talks:

Liverpool FC are interested in Shakhtar Donetsk's attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan but any potential deal remains a long way off. The Reds would have to offer in excess of £20million if they want to snap up the Armenia international, who scored 25 goals in the Ukrainian Premier League last season. Liverpool have yet to make an approach for Mkhitaryan and the ECHO understands they are only likely to do so if Luis Suarez leaves Anfield this summer.

On the one hand this makes sense--if Mkhitaryan's cost will truly be that high (and there's nothing to indicate that it wouldn't be), it's a substantial portion of a transfer budget that may or may not exist, and if someone's going to swoop in and pay £50m for Luis Suarez, waiting could prove to be a wise move so long as another club don't work their way into the picture.

That's assuming others aren't queuing up already, which they surely are, and the flipside to waiting is that Liverpool could miss out on a promising talent that's seemingly ready to have an impact now while they wait for Suarez to make up his mind and/or for another club to make the type of bid that'd provide the cash needed to part ways. That doesn't sit very well for me, as it seems to leave the club held hostage to the whims of Suarez and the willingness of other clubs to pony up a significant sum.

I'd like for Liverpool to be competitive in the transfer market and assert themselves regardless of what happens with Suarez, and while £20m is a significant cost, they're going to need to spend on players who add quality and depth at some point. Pearce reports that Iago Aspas and Kyriakos Papadopoulos are the top priority right now, which is encouraging. Once those are settled, though, I'm hopeful they push on aggressively and show a willingness to compete for signings that will make Liverpool better not only in the long-term future, but the short-term one as well.

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Read More: Mkhitaryan Liverpool's Top Target

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