Liverpool are set to kick-off the New Year by splashing £18 million on Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge and Blackpool winger Tom Ince, according to the Guardian. Both players have been strongly linked to the Reds for some time and the Guardian reports that talks have already taken place over the two transfers.
Sturridge, 23, was close to a move to Anfield in the summer but the deal broke down over the player’s refusal to leave Chelsea on a loan deal. But Rodgers’ interest is not thought to have dwindled and Liverpool could now reportedly complete a £12 million deal when the January transfer window opens.
The England international—who has predominantly played as a wide forward, but has stated his desire to play centrally—has started just two games this season.
If Ince were also to join Liverpool in January, it would complete a remarkable return for the England Under-21 starlet after having only left Anfield to join Blackpool in the summer of 2011. Since then Ince—son of former Liverpool midfielder Paul—has earned rave reviews for his performances in the Championship. Manchester United have also reportedly been monitoring his progress.
Liverpool would get a break in any outlay for Ince due to a 35% sell-on clause they inserted in the deal when he moved to Blackpool.
Rodgers has been severely hampered this season by his lack of options up front following the club’s failure to sign reinforcements late in the transfer window, particularly after Andy Carroll was allowed to leave on loan to West Ham.
With summer-signing Fabio Borini in the midst of a three-month injury layoff, Luis Suarez is Rodgers’ only fit and established striker.
Ince will also be a welcome addition as Liverpool have been short out wide in attacking areas, with Rodgers deploying full-back Jose Enrique in an advanced position in recent weeks.
While those deals now look probable, the same cannot be said of a mooted move for Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez. The Daily Mirror has reported that Liverpool are continuing to pursue the Chilean and believe that, though Barcelona will not let him leave in January, he could be available in the summer.
While the 23-year-old has yet to the set the world alight for the Blaugrana, it is difficult to imagine Liverpool either being able to afford or attract a player who arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2011 for around €35 million (£28m).
Reports of late have also suggested that Liverpool could bolster their forward ranks in January with a move for West Brom’s Shane Long. The Republic of Ireland International has scored five goals in the Premier League this season as he has led the line for Steve Clarke’s side. However, the 25-year-old has claimed that he is isn’t paying attention to the recent transfer speculation.
“I'm just concentrating on my football, I'm enjoying playing up front, I love my job,” he said, according to the Irish Independent.
"It's very enjoyable at the moment and I'll let the rumors take care of themselves."