Despite all the rumours that are bound to circulate in the upcoming months, Liverpool are unlikely to make any signings this summer. After deciding against a move for Timo Werner due to the current pandemic not making the transfer economically viable, it looks like the detriments and uncertainty of the coronavirus will prevent additions to the squad.
However, as stated by Paul Joyce in The Times, potential outgoings and circumstantial changes mean that the situation could change. With Xherdan Shaqiri set to leave, and Divock Origi (in spite of his past heroics) needing to be upgraded, Liverpool’s attack needs bolstering; should a long-term injury occur to one of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, or Roberto Firmino, the drop off in quality is monumental.
Fans may clamour for the likes of Jadon Sancho, Kai Havertz, and Kylian Mbappe, but with the club unprepared to risk £50m on Timo Werner, even larger fees simply won’t happen. The only chance the club will pursue a transfer is if it makes financial sense.
There is one man who would fit the bill perfectly: Ousmane Dembele.
With Barcelona ready to sell the winger to boost funds amidst their own lack of financial clarity, here’s why a move for the Frenchman makes sense for all parties:
Irrespective of our success this season, we need reinforcements, especially from an attacking perspective. You can’t afford to rest on your laurels or not upgrade when you are at your peak; Liverpool haven’t been such a desirable option for players for years, and if the opportunity is there to strengthen, it would be negligible not to take it. Yes, Takumi Minamino still has yet to show his true quality, while Curtis Jones, and Harvey Elliott are huge talents, but they’re nowhere near the level of our current front three. Someone who can slot in, with no noticeable drop off in quality.
Dembele could fit this criteria. He’s built in a similar vein to Mane; he has an abundance of pace, is direct, skillful, and powerful. Still only just 23-years-old, the Frenchman would be a player Klopp could mould and bring the best out of, while providing the exact type of competition necessary for a club of our stature.
The crux of why many would be against a transfer, even on an initial loan basis, come down to two main factors: his injury history, and reported attitude problems.
Concerns over his injury record are completely understandable; Dembele has only featured 9 times this season for Barcelona, and has not appeared since November with a hamstring injury. It isn’t a fresh occurrence either; the forward missed game time the previous season due to torn muscles, ankle injuries, and further hamstring injuries. On the surface, Dembele is injury prone, so why waste time improving the squad by investing in a player who is never fit?
It is a fair argument, and his injury niggles are the main reason I’d have any qualms about a transfer. Yet, with Barcelona desperate to get rid of him, and apparently accepting offers of as little as £37m , the reward would seem to outweigh the risk. If he can stay fit, there is a player of tremendous quality involved in the squad.
Attitude problems are another issue many take when it comes to considering a move for Dembele. Reports over repeated lateness, staying up late video-gaming, trashing his rented house, and the manner in which he initially manoueuvred a transfer away from Bourssia Dortmund back in 2017, have left a sour taste in the mouths of some.
But he’s only 23. Yes, perhaps alterations to his professionalism, and overall approach could be improved, but if there is any manager that will ignite this professionalism and a positive outlook, it’s Jurgen Klopp. As Adam Lallana has previously stated, “you want to die” for Klopp on the pitch. If Klopp is unable to motivate Dembele, in what could be his final chance at a massive club, then that’s any potential his career had gone. You’d have to imagine Dembele would be desperate to prove his worth.
Undoubtedly, Ousmane Dembele has not lived up to the hype at Barcelona. Injuries and a lack of form have contributed to that, but when you pay a fee for a player that could rise to a whopping £135m, he’s been an undisputed big-money flop.
This doesn’t mean his career has to be a flop though. Barcelona were willing to spend close to an initial fee of £100m when he was only 20 back in 2017; the talent is there, which 10 goals and 21 assists for Dortmund back in 2016/17 is testament to. It just needs to be brought out.
He wants to stay, and prove himself at the Camp Nou, yet with Barcelona already giving up on the Frenchman, that looks unlikely.
He needs to reignite his career, and where better place than Anfield? If an initial loan could be agreed, it would make economic sense, while Klopp would have the opportunity to spark the career of a World Cup winning, £135m player back into life.
He’s simply too talented to waste his potential; Liverpool and Dembele could be the perfect match.