Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is still desperately searching for a striker to recruit in the January transfer window. High on his list of targets looks to be Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, whose contract with the German club is set to expire next summer.
The Netherlands international was linked with a move to Anfield in the summer and the Reds remain interested, according to the Independent and other sources.
Huntelaar, 29, finished as top scorer in the Bundesliga last season and has registered four goals in as many Champions League appearances this campaign. With Huntelaar thought to be keen on a move, Schalke could well be forced to accept a cut-price fee in January, rather than losing him on a free at the end of the season.
The Independent reports that Huntelaar could be available for £7 million, though Liverpool will face competition for the former Ajax, Real Madrid and Milan front man from Tottenham. According to ESPN sources, however, Liverpool believe they can secure Huntelaar for £6 million.
Given Liverpool’s owners desire to focus on recruiting young players, it remains to be seen how much money they are willing to commit on Huntelaar.
Liverpool had long been linked with a short-term move for former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, but any possibility of that deal now looks to have ended. It had been suggested that the Ivorian could join on loan from Shanghai Shenhua during the Chinese Super League offseason this winter.
But the 34-year-old’s latest comments imply that he is eager to remain in China.
“I hope next season I can start again from the beginning with Shenhua,” Drogba said, according to Metro.
“Because I joined relatively late, I didn't prepare with the team early in the season, so our results were not very good.”
Liverpool are also said to be keen to strengthen their central defensive options with a move for Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Amorebieta. Metro reports that Rodgers is looking to bring the Venezuela international to the club in January. However, the Reds could see their plans scuppered, with Zenit St Petersburg and Roma said to be showing an increasing interest.
The Italian club reportedly believe that the 27-year-old will be available for around £8 million, but Zenit have the ability to outbid both Liverpool and Roma.
With the inconsistent form of Pepe Reina this season, Liverpool could also move for a goalkeeper in January. Reports this week claimed that the club were pursuing Wigan stopper Ali Al-Habsi. The 30-year-old’s manager, Roberto Martinez, has said that, as yet, there is no foundation to the speculation.
“I don't think there is any truth behind it," Martinez said, according to ESPN. "Any rumor that you can see with any of our players I see as a compliment. You don't get links if you are not playing well.
"We are really focused on what we want to achieve and we are looking to improve the squad, window after window.
"We are relaxed about it. He is on a long-term contract and is an important player for us.
"The rumors are going to be there, as he is playing well, he has been impressive. He has developed as a player and is reaching good levels. But he has a long way to go."