Liverpool’s signing of Alexis Mac Allister for around £35m seems to be looking more and more like a bargain by the week.
Admittedly, the Reds were helped by a release clause of sorts that was included in the World Cup winner’s contract when he agreed new terms last October. As a result, they were free to complete his transfer within two weeks of the Premier League season ending.
But a look elsewhere in the market and club bosses can certainly pat themselves on the back for a job well done, having easily found the best value for money when it comes to highly sought after midfielders.
Jude Bellingham’s long-running transfer saga finally came to an end earlier this summer when he joined Real Madrid for £88 million. With extras, Borussia Dortmund could pocket up to £115 million for the England international, making him the most expensive British player of all time.
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Still, Declan Rice will take ownership of such a label in the meantime as he is about to leave West Ham United. Arsenal’s third £105 million bid is expected to be accepted after Man City withdraw their interest.
Elsewhere, Moises Caicedo would be interesting for both Manchester United and Chelsea, while Brighton & Hove Albion would like £100m. Meanwhile, the Londoners are left with £65 million for Mason Mount after making a counter-offer to the Red Devils after rejecting their third offer.
And then there is Newcastle United. After seemingly deciding that Nicolo Barella was too expensive even for them, with Inter Milan demanding £80m, they instead turned to AC Milan to secure a £60m deal for Sandro Tonali.
Watching Liverpool fans could be forgiven for being jealous, even after the Reds signed Mac Allister themselves. Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking to sign another, if not two, midfielders this summer as part of a much-anticipated engine room revamp.
Bellingham had long been a target, but Liverpool pulled out of the race for his signature in April after admitting they needed multiple new signings in midfield rather than one big addition. The Reds would also be interested in Mount if they heard Chelsea’s exorbitant asking price for a player with one year left on his contract.
And while supporters have been urging Liverpool to enter the race for a Rice, Caicedo or a Barella, it seems the trio are financially out of their reach too. Consequently, such a stance will incriminate the owners FSG, along with allegations that they are not investing enough in Klopp’s team.
Of course, interest in Dominik Szoboszlai could be about to change that thinking. Liverpool are investigating the possibility of taking over the Hungarian from RB Leipzig. ECHO has been informed that a meeting has taken place with Szoboszlai’s Hungarian-based EM Sports Management representatives. What remains unclear, however, is his release clause. Reports elsewhere are conflicting on the due date, with a fixed fee of around £60m said to expire on June 30 or possibly until mid-July.
As well as the Hungarian, Liverpool continue to monitor their options ahead of a second midfield move of the summer, with Khephren Thuram, Manu Kone, Ryan Gravenberch, Gabri Veiga and Romeo Lavia also all interesting players on their transfer shortlist. A younger player profile for a more modest fee, it’s clear that without the riches of Champions League football this season, Liverpool are, rightly or wrongly, fishing in a different pond compared to the majority of their ‘Big Seven’- rivals .
Still, some deals would have been viable had they been interested. Although Man City have withdrawn their interest in Rice, they have signed Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea in a £30 million deal. However, at 29 years old, the Croat would never have been on the radar of the Reds.
Meanwhile, Youri Tielemans, Mahmoud Dahoud and Jefferson Lerma have made free transfers to Aston Villa, Brighton and Crystal Palace respectively. Again, you won’t find any sign of interest from Liverpool here.
But the Reds have been linked with another midfielder on their way in the Premier League, with James Maddison poised for a return to England’s top flight with Tottenham Hotspur.
The England international was always on the verge of leaving Leicester City this summer following their relegation, with it initially said the Foxes could allocate £60 million. However, the 26-year-old is set to move to north London for £40 million after Spurs agree a fee and personal terms.
Liverpool have been linked sporadically with Maddison in recent months their name often alongside Tottenham’s in the gossip columns when it came to the gamemaker’s future. But while £40m would have been achievable, the Reds have apparently decided Maddison wasn’t for them.
The fact that the first reports suggesting Liverpool were interested in Szoboszlai emerged just hours after Tottenham agreed a fee for Maddison shows how they were always looking elsewhere. Both versatile playmakers with an eye for both a goal and a pass, each man is also comfortable in midfield and attacking, able to play as number eight, ten, false nine or wide on either flank.
Both players scored 10 goals last season Szoboszlai had 13 assists to Maddison’s nine, albeit admittedly playing fewer games. TThe Hungarian may have never played in the Premier League, but he has Champions League experience and is four years younger than the England international. Consequently, it is easy why one is more attractive than the other to club bosses.
Admittedly speculation around the Reds was always going to ramp up this summer which goes hand in hand with the fact that, like reported by ECHO in MarchThe club’s shortlist of potential signings was longer than usual due to the uncertainty surrounding Liverpool’s season.
But with supporters’ eyes now on Szoboszlai after the Reds’ interest appeared seemingly out of nowhere, it shows club bosses aren’t just shopping in the bargain basement this summer. They want the best players available for the best deals, provided they are financially viable.
Never one to pay too much for a player these days, such a view is not unique. Man City, while with deeper pockets, also refuse to spend more than their own valuation of players, with Rice just the latest example, following in the footsteps of the likes of Harry Maguire and Marc Cucurella.
And while there’s no guarantee Liverpool will sign Szoboszlai, Red’s interest would suggest they aren’t quite the paupers by choice that some FSG critics might portray them to be. Given their sudden emergence as contenders to sign the playmaker, it looks like they have one or two more transfer surprises in store this summer as their midfield revamp continues.
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