For the last 15 years, Steven Gerrard has anchored Liverpool’s midfield with 653 total appearances and 167 goals, but the Reds are reportedly eyeing a long-term replacement for the 33-year-old captain.
Assuming the club holds fourth place on the Premier League table and qualifies for Champions League, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has said the club will be extremely active in this summer’s transfer market following a quiet session last month.
The Reds have reportedly targeted Real Madrid attacking midfielder and youngster Isco as Gerrard’s heir apparent, and are willing to hand over a record £37 million for the 21-year-old. Isco is responsible for seven goals in 19 appearances this season.
Rodgers is reportedly hoping that Isco will be tempted to move away from Madrid with the promise of first-team play at Merseyside.
Isco began his Madrid stint following a £25 million fee paid to Malaga for his rights, but now Liverpool appears ready to blow the Spaniards away with a highly profitable offer. Los Blancos are reportedly preparing to unload many of their bigger contracts with Sami Khedira joining Isco as the ones most likely to find a new home for the next campaign.
The Reds could perform a triple-purge of Spain’s talent by signing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, as well as Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
Liverpool has reportedly made an offer to Valdes but the terms are presently unknown, according to Express.
Valdes was previously a Liverpool target last summer, as well as Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, but he chose to let his contract run its course at Camp Nou. The 32-year-old has continued the excellent play that’s made him one of the most accomplished and sought after net minders in the world with 58 saves and 11 clean sheets in 21 La Liga appearances this season.
A move for Benzema also hinges on UCL qualification, but the 26-year-old would be open to a change of scenery, according to reports from Metro and Marca. Rodgers is especially keen to the idea of pairing Benzema with Premier League scoring leader Luis Suarez and the talented Daniel Sturridge.
Since joining Madrid in 2009, Benzema’s 69 goals in 148 appearances apparently haven’t wowed fans or club officials enough. The player’s market value has been pegged at £30 million, and his contract is up at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season. Madrid could very well keep him unless they receive a substantial offer from the Reds or equally interested clubs like Arsenal and Manchester City.
Plucking just two of the three above stars could cost Liverpool nearly £70 million, so the club could build its coffers back up and make room for Isco or Benzema by selling off midfielder Joe Allen.
The 23-year-old Allen has struggled to find a regular first-team spot at Anfield, and instead could find more pitch time with former Swansea City manager turned Everton boss Roberto Martinez, according to Daily Mirror. Allen debuted for Martinez as a teenager in 2007 when the two were at Swansea.
Allen still has three years left on his contract and Liverpool shelled out a £15 million fee for his services, meaning Everton will have to come up with huge amount to land the Welshman.