LFC market moves
Sky Bet's Jamie Casey runs through the potential Liverpool targets with the shortest odds to join the club before September 3rd.
By Jamie Casey - Follow me: @skyjamiecasey
Last Updated: 22/08/13 8:58am
With Willian set to have a medical at Tottenham on Wednesday, Liverpool look likely to miss out on their third major-money target of the summer following the failed pursuits of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Diego Costa.
Quite how manager Brendan Rodgers planned to fit the £30m man into his creative side remains a mystery, much like his infamous envelope stunt, but with managing director Ian Ayre failing to close another deal after a week of negotiations, Liverpool fans have a legitimate case for feeling disgruntled.
Big-name signings will always be welcomed by the fans, but it could be argued that centre-half is the area the Reds need more investment, with Kolo Toure surely nothing more than a stop-gap signing.
Nonetheless, Liverpool appear intent on splashing some cash, but are running out of options with the transfer window nearing its closure. Here, Sky Bet runs through the potential targets with the shortest odds to join the club before September 3rd.
Christian Eriksen - 11/8
Tottenham have been linked with Christian Erikson all summer but with Willian and Erik Lamela emerging as their first-choice duo to replace the seemingly outgoing Gareth Bale, their odds to snap up Ajax playmaker have drifted out from favourites to 9/4. That puts Liverpool ahead of them in the pecking order at 11/8, but Eriksen claimed earlier this month that the only offer on the table for his services has come from a Russian club, which he swiftly rejected. Eriksen is clearly not at the top of Liverpool's wishlist, but with the top three now crossed off, he may well have been propelled to the summit by default.
Cristian Tello - 11/8
Although Cristian Tello signed a new deal at Barcelona at the start of the month, a loan move to Anfield is still a possibility. So highly is he rated at the Nou Camp that the club bumped his release clause up from £8.7m to £22m and Rodgers reportedly shares their belief in his ability. Following the arrival of Neymar, Tello has the Brazilian plus Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez and Pedro all ahead of him in Gerardo Martino's attacking options, so a season-long loan may suit both parties. However, the new manager is keen on having as big a squad to work with as possible. Arsenal are second favourites to sign Tello at 10/1.
Ashley Williams - 5/2
As mentioned prior, Toure is not Liverpool's long-term answer to replace the retired Jamie Carragher, although so far the Ivorian has proved quite a shrewd signing. However, having played very little competitive football over the last few seasons, the former Arsenal and Manchester City defender could be burnt out by Christmas if he plays week-in-week-out, and with Sebastian Coates suffering ligament damage last week, the Reds really need to invest at centre-half. Ashley Williams, who played under Rodgers at Swansea, fits that bill, but Liverpool have been stung so often in the domestic market in recent seasons that the club could be forgiven for looking abroad. Martin Skrtel, meanwhile, looks to have his days numbered at Anfield, with Napoli favourites to sign him.
Xabi Alonso - 5/1
Granted, central midfield is not an area Rodgers is looking to strengthen, but few Liverpool fans would object to bringing back a player the club first signed just over nine years ago in Xabi Alonso. Chelsea are favourites to land the Real Madrid midfielder but Alonso is known to hold the Reds in high regard since his time at Anfield and would surely pick a return over Stamford Bridge if given the opportunity. There's little to suggest any interest from Liverpool is genuine, though, with the short odds of 5/1 largely a figure born out of optimistic fans piling money on the prospect. Incidentally, the Spaniard has now suffered a broken metatarsal which will surely rule out any move this window.
Thomas Ince - 8/1
Another former player linked with a return to Anfield is Blackpool's Thomas Ince. The winger was backed in so short to re-join in January that betting was suspended, before the deal hit a snag and Ince stayed at Bloomfield Road. And that's where he remains, having rejected a move to Cardiff earlier this summer due to logistical reasons, but Liverpool appear to have set their targets a little higher since almost completing the deal earlier this year. Ince would certainly prove a cheaper option for the club with the Reds reportedly due a percentage of any sell-on fee agreed, effectively cutting his price, while the 21-year-old also fits the criteria of the age-obsessed owners of the club.
Micah Richards - 20/1
With Manchester City suffering injuries to Matija Nastasic and Vincent Kompany already this season, chances are they won't be willing to offload Micah Richards, who himself is currently nursing an injury. Due to push Pablo Zabaleta for the right-back slot this season, £11m-rated Richards may also be used at centre-half, but City are 1/8 to sign Pepe from Real Madrid before the deadline closes so the England international may yet be put up for sale if only to help the club comply with FIFA's Financial Fair Play regulations. Liverpool are far from favourites, though, with Arsenal (6/4), Inter (12/1), Milan (16/1) and Bayern Munich (16/1) all above them in the betting odds.
Erik Lamela - 20/1
Roma playmaker Erik Lamela is another outside bet who Liverpool may sign before the summer transfer window closes, but they'll have to rely on Tottenham to fail in their bid to sign him. Spurs have become Liverpool's main rivals in the transfer market, but their chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini know how to wrap a deal up within 48 hours, unlike their counterparts at Anfield it would seem. Tottenham are currently 1/3 to sign Lamela amid reports of a £30m bid as they plot to spend the money potentially raised from the proposed sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid (1/9), but Liverpool will face tough competition from Arsenal (5/1) and Napoli (12/1) if Spurs fail to secure yet another major deal.
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