Liverpool contemplate bolstering midfield with £20m double deal
A couple of errors from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and a run of just two clean sheets in their last 10 Premier League games have drawn the conclusion in some parts that if Liverpool are to miss out on the top four this season, then it will be a result of defensive failings.
However, while shutting out the opposition has proved difficult, Liverpool have scored in every Premier League game since early November and with Daniel Sturridge back fit, there is a strong possibility that the goals will continue to flow.
Liverpool’s odds are 8/13 to finish in the top four of the Premier League this campaign and the mentality of simply out-scoring the opposition could be enough to achieve this feat.
But tightening up at the back would help too, as Liverpool have conceded two goals or more in 25 of Brendan Rodgers’ 59 league games in charge of the club. This is certainly not good enough to be serious title challengers.
Despite a clear need to tighten up in defence, it is in midfield where Rodgers seems intent on strengthening his squad in January.
Two names are prominent on the shortlist and Liverpool could land both targets for a reasonable £20m.
The most likely arrival appears to be Udinese’s Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, who has already racked up 49 caps for Ghana despite only being 23 years old.
Typically, the problem of doing business with Udinese is that they are among the most adept at getting high price tags for their players and Badu is sure to be no exception.
An offer in the region of £7m could be enough and although he may be battling with Joe Allen for a spot on the substitute’s bench, his defensive attributes would make him a handy squad player to have in reserve in case anything happens to Lucas.
Fellow Serie A club Chievo are also interested in signing Badu.
The other potential recruit is more of a guaranteed starter, but Liverpool have been told by Rubin Kazan that they will not entertain loan offers for Yann M’Vila.
Instead, the Russian club are holding out for a transfer sum in the region of £13m and there will be competition for his signature from Napoli.
M’Vila may be fairly defensive minded with his positioning, but he would have the ability to play a little further forward, with his chief abilities being in terms of playing countless passes in the manner most associated with Barcelona’s Xavi and maintaining possession.
Given his work-rate too, he could help take the pressing game that is highly favoured by Rodgers to the next level.