Kolo Toure's injury against Notts County on Tuesday night was a cruel double blow--it left Liverpool short-handed for the rest of a match they'd eventually win, but it also served as a painful reminder of the work left to be done in the transfer window. If reports today in England and France are to be believed, the club are close to completing a good portion of that work, with a fee agreed for Sporting's Tiago Ilori and a deal apparently in the closing stages for PSG's Mamadou Sakho.
As we've repeatedly noted, the interest in Ilori has been around for much of the summer; Liverpool were priced out of the deal early but have come back for more, and The Mirror's David Maddock has the club finally matching Sporting's valuation of somewhere in the neighborhood of £8m. That's a significant cost, but if reports of interest across the continent are to be believed, it's a necessary one to bring aboard a player that Brendan Rodgers and company clearly rate.
What's most interesting is that Ilori has apparently been given assurances that he will be an integral part of the first team setup. For a 20 year old that's featured sparingly at the senior level that's a significant promise for the club to make, and one that further crowds Liverpool's other central defenders--namely Martin Skrtel and, when he's back to fitness, Sebastian Coates--out of the picture.
For a short time this morning the news about Ilori was the only transfer news available, and combined with last night's revelation that the club were in for Shay Given as a backup goalkeeper, it was underwhelming and disappointing stuff.
Enter L'Equipe, who are now asserting that Liverpool are close to a deal for Mamadou Sakho, who's been heavily linked with a move to Merseyside in the past few weeks. The figure being touted now is around £13-14m, which would be close to the money discussed previously. At 23 he's not too much older than Ilori, but he'd arrive with a host of experience at the highest level and is generally viewed as someone who's ready now rather than in a few years.
If Liverpool manage to complete both deals in the coming hours or days, it's a step toward finishing the transfer window well. The links to Given still underwhelm, but Ilori and Sakho satisfy the needs in defense for both now and later, and the club can hopefully move on to bringing in reinforcements in attack.