Journalist ‘can’t see’ any big player sales at Liverpool but tips £28m double transfer

Joe Williams
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hugs Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Athletic journalist James Pearce doubts Liverpool will sell any of their “big players” this summer amid rumours they could have to sell to rebuild.

Liverpool owners FSG are looking for investment in the club in the near future as they hope to provide Jurgen Klopp with more funds to improve his squad.

Klopp managed to bring in Cody Gakpo for around £40m in the January transfer window and he’ll want to continue to add in the summer with an acknowledgment that his midfield needs strengthening.

There has been speculation that Liverpool could have to sell one of their big players before they can invest in a rebuild on their squad,

Asked if this was true, Pearce wrote in The Athletic: “Unless one of those big players says he wants to leave or there’s a crazy offer, I can’t see it. No one will be forced out. That’s not the way Klopp operates.

“I don’t think Liverpool will be able to raise much in terms of sales this summer unless something comes out of the blue. Caoimhin Kelleher could leave if he’s offered the chance to be a No 1 elsewhere and I reckon he’s worth £20million.

“Then you’ve got Nat Phillips who will probably go for around £8million. However, as stated above, Liverpool will be creating a lot of space on the wage bill given the earnings of those who are about to become free agents.”

On John W Henry’s recent comments about Liverpool spending responsibly, Pearce added: “I think those comments from John W Henry can be interpreted in different ways. You can still spend big and spend responsibly.

“The owners know what needs to be done to put Liverpool back to competing for the biggest prizes. Klopp said himself a few weeks ago that even without Champions League football the squad needs bolstering. FSG would agree.

“[Jude] Bellingham would be a transformative signing like Van Dijk and Alisson. Say he costs £120million and you can spread those payments out, that would be spending responsibly.

“Liverpool also have the new Standard Chartered and Expedia sponsorship deals kicking in this summer, plus budgeting for next season will include the extra revenue from the Anfield Road redevelopment.”

Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out of contract in the summer and when asked why Liverpool don’t have extension options on the pair, Pearce continued: “Sometimes contracts do have the option of an extra year built into them that a club can trigger. Sometimes it’s dependent on appearances. However, that’s not the case with the Liverpool players who are free agents this summer.

“Even if Liverpool did have the option to, say, extend Oxlade-Chamberlain’s deal for another 12 months, there’s no guarantee you’d then get a fee for him. He could just decide to stay put and then you’re stuck paying someone who isn’t going to contribute for another year.

“Last summer was the time to sell Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain if Liverpool were going to get money for them. But, at the time, they were in discussions with Keita over an extension while Oxlade-Chamberlain wasn’t pushing for a move and there wasn’t an offer on the table for him.

“Getting them off the wage bill, along with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Arthur Melo this summer, will free up a lot of cash.”

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