Rodgers’ push for Patrick Roberts shows forward thinking
Liverpool, 10/1 to lift the Premier League trophy, are said to have set their sights on three forwards, as Reds boss Brendan Rodgers looks to build for the future as well as bolster his squad in the present.
It appears adding exciting attacking starlets Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi has not sated the Anfield outfit’s appetite for introducing youth, with a move now mooted for Fulham wonderkid Patrick Roberts.
Rodgers, 17, with an eye firmly on Liverpool’s production line, seems keen to splash out in this summer market to ensure the club can compete, but also appears to be planning a more prudent approach for upcoming transfer windows.
Having delved deep into the Reds’ coffers to utilise the funds acquired through Luis Suarez’s sale to Barcelona, signing experienced players such as Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, Rodgers has also smartly secured his Liverpool legacy.
Already credited as the catalyst for academy star Raheem Sterling’s rapid rise to first-team status, the Northern Irishman has always had a clear emphasis on home grown produce, keen to incorporate the benefits of youth into his squad.
The team have certainly responded to his philosophy, illustrating boldness, bravery, speed and panache, and Rodgers can now look to curb spending by bolstering the Anfield ranks with further potential.
Unable to rival rich kids Chelsea and Manchester City financially, this long-term strategy has already born-fruit, but can prove even more valuable in the seasons to come.
Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have been some of the most successful sides in recent times, with their history-making teams all formed around a core of club-reared talent. Liverpool are now also clearly attempting to adopt this approach.
If the Reds can snap up top English talent Roberts, his potential could mean they save themselves a huge outlay if he hits the heights that are expected. Current British talents such as Ross Barkley are already quoted at astronomical fees, and the Fulham youngster could prove he is in the same talent, and price, bracket.
Highly-rated from his days in the Cottagers’ reserve teams, and impressive England youth performances, Roberts may already command a fee of around £15m. The Reds may have to move quickly to secure the fledgling forward, though, with rivals Chelsea and Manchester United also rumoured to have a long-standing interest.
It is believed Roberts is a boyhood Liverpool fan, which could help Rodgers win the battle for his services. A European Under-17 Champion with the Three Lions, the Fulham fledgling has already tasted international success, but is under contract until 2016.
If Rodgers manages to poach Roberts, it is likely Liverpool would loan him back to the Cottagers, who currently reside in the Championship.
The London-born forward made his Premier League debut last season against Man City, and has gone on to make three further appearances for Felix Magath’s team, who can make use of his ability to play on either wing, or as a number 10.
Rodgers also has the present to deal with, though, and is believed to be hurrying up a transfer for Argentine attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Reds are supposedly ready to fork out a fee of around £20m for the PSG frontman, and are also rumoured to have made further enquiries about clubmate Edinson Cavani.
Liverpool, odds-on at 5/6 to miss out on the top four, will need to add a forward who can make an instant impact if they are to improve on last term’s second place finish.