There is no such thing as a replacement for Steven Gerrard. Over the last 17 years the English superstar scored 117 goals in a Liverpool kit, and helped the Reds claim two FA Cups and a Champions League title. But manager Brendan Rodgers must look forward to a future without Gerrard as he prepares for an 18-month stay with MLS club L.A. Galaxy starting this summer.
With goals scarce and seventh-place Liverpool in danger of missing Champions League qualification, Rodgers must find a central midfielder capable of contributing immediately. The current state of the Premier League has proven that there is a bit more depth than previous years, which means Liverpool can ill afford to not upgrade in important areas.
The most recent transfer speculation has linked Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic to Merseyside, with Daily Mirror reporting the Reds could land the 24-year-old Bosnian for £37 million.
Rodgers learned of the Serie A side’s exorbitant price when he visited Rome last week, according to The Mirror, and he’s evidently already held discussions with Roma’s director of football Walter Sabatini.
First starting out in France, Pjanic jumped to Italy in 2011 and has since scored 15 goals in 113 appearances for Roma. He’s also netted nine goals and 56 caps for Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2008.
Rodgers perhaps sees a powerful tandem of Pjanic and Jordan Henderson maintaining the Reds central midfield and feeding Raheem Sterling on the wing and Daniel Sturridge at the top of the attack.
Pjanic could make the trip to Anfield with teammate and fellow midfielder Radja Nainggolan, and possibly Lazio forward Kieta Balde Diao for a grand total of £75 million, Daily Express reports. The 26-year-old Belgian Nainggolan only joined Roma last summer and has three goals in 22 appearances.
The addition of Diao could provide Rodgers some assurances should negotiations with Sterling and his representatives fall through this summer or forward Mario Balotelli never settles into the attack. Diao, 19, has a long way to be the dangerous and versatile scorer that Sterling already is, but he’s showed promise with five goals in 35 appearances since 2013.
Of course, Rodgers could cast his eye toward rival Manchester City and pluck midfielder James Milner from the Etihad. The Mirror reports Milner’s contract extension talks with the defending Premier League champions have stalled, and City fears he could join Liverpool or Arsenal.
Milner, 29, is reportedly seeking the last big contract. In perhaps the best form of his career, Milner’s scored five goals this term, which accounts for half of his total since he joined City from Aston Villa in 2010.