Liverpool can still get £15m boost despite summer transfer uncertainty
Liverpool will be looking to a number of their fringe players to generate money to reinvest in transfers this summer, with the pandemic putting that plan to one side last summer.
Several stars including Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Grujic could well have been sold 12 months ago and could reasonably have raised close to £40m between them in a normal market.
But Shaqiri stayed on Merseyside and Grujic moved on loan to Porto, where he has largely struggled to impress, meaning the chance to sell the pair at their best price has almost certainly passed.
Another example of a player who almost moved on last summer is Wales winger Harry Wilson, who was expected to move away on a permanent deal, but ultimately ended up back in the Championship with Cardiff City on a season-long loan.
But unlike Shaqiri and Grujic, Liverpool can still get a similar fee for Wilson than what they would have a year ago, according to those who have watched him closely this year.
“When he first came, he came with a lot of fanfare and rightly so,” said Wales Online’s Cardiff City correspondent, Glen Williams, on the latest Loan Watch podcast from Blood Red.
“He had shown with his previous clubs that he is a top, top player – a Premier League player, not a Championship player – so it was a massive coup for Cardiff to get him.
“With that comes pressure and expectation because he has been around for a bit, but he is still a young kid.
“It has to be said, this has not been the type of system that suits him, but he has adapted his game and he has learned a lot as well.
“He was a kingpin under Neil Harris. Mick McCarthy came in a shook it up a bit, dropping him for a couple of games.
“But it didn’t phase him. Under Harris, he was the main focal point but results were not going too well.
“Under McCarthy, he has a bit of a new role as a sole number 10 with two strikers in front of him, which has made him a consistent performer.
“He has five assists and a goal in nine games since McCarthy took over and the new system really suits him.
“At the start of the season, a lot of his assists were coming from set-pieces, which Cardiff tend to utilise.
“But since McCarthy came in, his all-round play has improved and he has learned to link up a bit smarter – it is a different sort of team to Bournemouth or Derby.
“It has been really useful for him to learn that side of the game – drawing fouls and using dead balls.”
Liverpool wanted around £20m for Wilson heading into last summer, with Burnley walking away from a possible deal having tabled a £12m plus add-ons offer.
Since then, the transfer market is unlikely to have changed considerably due to the Covid pandemic, while Wilson has spent the season in the second tier, which is unlikely to have increased his value, despite his performances.
But Liverpool can point to Tottenham to suggest to suitors, of which there are likely to be a few in the Premier League at the right price, to get a good deal for their academy product, who is unlikely to be a part of the squad next season at Anfield.
“What is a reasonable fee in this market? £20m is steep – that’s a lot of money,” Williams said.
“Somewhere closer to £15m would be reasonable. Joe Rodon went from Swansea to Spurs for £12-15m and attacking players tend to come at a premium.
“He is still only 23 and he can conceivably have 10 good years in the Premier League, so £15m would not be unreasonable.
“He is far too good for the Championship and you could put him in any Premier League team.
“His left foot is far too good to be waving around in the Championship.
“Cardiff would love to have him but if they don’t get promoted, there is no chance.”