Simon Mignolet could become the first casualty of Liverpool’s poor start to the season, with Victor Valdes reportedly on his way to Anfield. While Brendan Rodgers’s men recorded their first league win in more than a month on Saturday, a 2-1 victory over West Brom meant they have still kept just one clean sheet this season. Individual errors from defenders have undoubtedly played their part, but Mignolet has also come under scrutiny. The lack of command he exerts over his area has been all too apparent and Rodgers stated that his goalkeeper needed to “take more responsibility” last month.
Mignolet’s faltering performances could well convince Liverpool to bring in Spanish keeper Valdes. The 32-year-old ended his trophy-laden stay at Barcelona in the summer, but has been recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in March. He has been frequently linked with a move to Anfield and now, as he nears a return to fitness, the Merseysiders are reportedly set to make their move.
According to Goal.com, Valdes will undergo a medical with the club this month, with a deal on the cards if he can show he is fully recovered. Valdes was thought to be close to agreeing a move to Monaco before his injury, but that now looks unlikely, leaving Liverpool as clear favorites to secure the signature of the three-time Champions League winner. Monaco have dramatically scaled back their investment in the squad over the summer and have had a poor start to the season. Were Valdes to sign for Liverpool, it is difficult to think that he be second choice, at least for long, casting the long-term future of Mignolet into question.
Curiously, Valdes’s long-time colleague in the Spanish national team, Iker Casillas, has also been linked with a transfer to Liverpool. The Daily Express suggests Liverpool and Arsenal are interested in the Real Madrid captain following comments that he would consider playing abroad in the future. Having been an icon at the club since breaking through into the first team and winning the Champions League at the age of 18, the 33-year-old found himself out of favor for 18 months. He has been restored as first choice this season, although has been the target of jeers from a section of Madrid fans. While Casillas states that he was always determined to remain at the club, in the same interview he does not rule out moving to another country to ply his trade.
“I want to stay at Real Madrid, keep fighting here and finish my career here” he told Canal+, reports Spanish publication Marca. “That said, the keeper doesn't completely rule out playing in another league. I would like to have some experience abroad before retiring. I think it would help me to appreciate Real Madrid even more. I am convinced that if you go abroad, you will realize what this club represents for the whole world.”
Casillas’s arrival at Anfield any time soon is hard to imagine and the same now appears to be true regarding Bayern Munich attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri. The Switzerland international was strongly linked with a transfer to the Reds over the summer, having signaled some frustration at not being a more regular member of Bayern’s starting lineup. He has now stated that Bayern have no intention of letting him go before his contract expires in 2016, a stance that he has no plans to fight.
“I've still got a contract until 2016 and the club have already told me I won't be going anywhere so I've just got to accept that,” he told Sport1, per Sky Sports. “For as long as I am here, I will give everything I've got.”
One player that may be on his way out of Anfield in the near future is Glen Johnson. The 30-year-old’s contract at Liverpool expires at the end of the season and he has so far declined an offer of a one-year extension. And the England right-back, who made his return from injury off the substitute’s bench on Saturday, stated this week that talk of an extension had now gone “very quiet,” reports The Guardian. “I am just concentrating week by week and not thinking about it. Of course I want to stay but, like I say, I worry about this week, this week, and then next week, next week. That is how I live my life.”