At long last, Liverpool shipped winger Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for £49 million, ending months of contract and transfer disputes that could have further infected the Reds and manager Brendan Rodgers’ plans for the summer. Now Liverpool can affix their attention on how best to spend the most expensive fee for an English player in history by finding a replacement for Sterling or a player who can carry the attack until Daniel Sturridge returns from a hip injury.
The signings of Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino should certainly improve an attack that struggled to string together consistent force last term, but the Reds and Rodgers are reportedly thinking on a grander scale.
Acccording to The Guardian, Liverpool’s striking needs have reached a point where they are evidently willing to end their 51-year long and unofficial transfer embargo with Manchester United for the rights to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
The 27-year-old Mexican star, who spent last season on-loan to Real Madrid and netted nine total goals, was originally projected to head to Sevilla but the Spanish club instead inked a loan deal with Borussia Dortmund for Ciro Immobile.
Now it appears that Liverpool’s only real competition for Hernandez’s signature is MLS squad Orlando City, whose owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva, confirmed negotiations between the club and Hernandez.
“Why not for Orlando, why not for MLS?” he said to the Orlando Sentinel. “Many clubs in MLS are working to have this guy. But we are at the beginning of the conversation and, as you know the less we talk about the situation the better because we are in the middle of negotiations.
“We hope in one or two weeks to be ready to talk about Chicharito in a different way.”
While Da Silva sounds optimistic, the chances of landing Hernandez seem slim unless an exorbitant fee and wage is involved. For one, Hernandez is in his prime years and can help a number of squads make a Champions League run, something an MLS squad cannot provide.
Hernandez is currently rated as high as £7 million, a fee Liverpool can certainly afford, and are likely to double with plenty left to spend on the player they’ve pursued the most for the first two weeks of the transfer session.
But the Reds aspirations to steal striker Christian Benteke away from Aston Villa took a bit of a blow after manager Tim Sherwood spoke to Sky Sports on Tuesday.
“I think he stays,” Sherwood said about Benteke’s future. “I think Liverpool – I looked the other day – have six or seven strikers at the club. Now I’m not sure how many they actually need. We know Christian is a very good player and we want to keep hold of him.
“If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it but until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that.”
That £32 million buyout clause has been the main sticking point between Liverpool and Aston Villa. ESPN FC pointed out the Reds have already spent roughly £40 million on Firmino, Nathanial Clyne, James Milner and Adam Bogdan, and are still working out Burnley’s compensation fee for Ings.
Benteke is an exceptional player who almost single-handedly kept the Villans away from relegation last season, but Rodgers and other Liverpool officials appear reticent on another lavish spending spree after last summer’s resulted in a sixth-place finish.
The Reds are trying to negotiate a lower fee, ESPN FC was told, but Villa thus far haven’t budged from their demands.