Though he’s received the public support of club officials, it’s a reasonable foregone conclusion that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ future at the helm rides on his success during this summer’s transfer session and how quickly he molds that talent into a winning unit early next term. The Reds and Rodgers are coming off a disappointing sixth-place finish in Premier League, and squandered their chances in Champions League as well, despite the boss’s major splurges during last summer’s transfer period.
But Rodgers does deserve credit for the aggressive approach he’s once again taking. He’s already acquired the signatures of James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, and Joe Gomez.
Yet according to several reports around Europe, Rodgers appears intent on securing even more attacking talent in the face of heavy speculation surrounding 20-year-old winger Raheem Sterling.
Sterling’s contract negotiations may have reached an impasse, and a player that was once considered untouchable could be on the move to Manchester City. Daily Mail reports that while Sterling was away on holiday, City officials weighed the possibility of increasing their £40 million bid to a record £50 million for the seven-goal, seven-assist player.
Liverpool evidently rejected the £40 million overture, but the hold out could nearly double the previous record for an English player of £30 million Manchester United paid to acquire Rio Ferdinand.
The unfathomable bounty for Sterling could then cover the majority of the £52 million swoop Rodgers has in mind for Real Madrid defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi, Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca, and Zenit St-Petersburg’s Salomon Rondon, according to Daily Star.
Illarramendi is currently rated at £16 million, Bacca at £22 million, and Rondon £14 million, with each capable of reshaping the Reds top XI. The moves for Bacca and Rondon’s considerable scoring abilities, and Illarramendi’s playmaking, are viewed as contingencies for the failed attempts to land Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke. Liverpool Echo reported the Villans won’t let the Belgian international go unless the Reds pay the exorbitant £32 million release clause in his current contract.
Born in Colombia, Bacca recently lit up La Liga for 20 goals and six assists over 37 appearances to help Sevilla reach fifth on the league table this year, and he’d slot in quite nicely as Sterling’s replacement and a new running mate for Daniel Sturridge.
The addition of 25-year-old Illarramendi would go a long way in helping the Reds backline while the midfield transitions to life without legendary midfielder Steven Gerrard. Illarramendi appeared in 30 total matches last term, but started only 10, and he’s trapped behind a loaded Madrid midfield that includes Isco, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos.
More playing time certainly awaits Illarramendi at Anfield, but Marca reports the decision to let Illarramendi go ultimately resides with new boss Rafa Benitez.