There are players that one club will be linked to until the day they hang up their boots; we’ve had some pretty tenuous links this January, and though talk of moves for the likes of Cristian Tello and Arda Turan haven’t been as beaten to death as one might expect, there was a certain blast from the past this morning when a story starting doing the rounds that Liverpool were considering a bid for Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler.
As time ticks down in the transfer window, imaginations start to run on over time; this isn’t the first time we’ve been linked with a move for the Swiss-Turkish international with former manager Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson believed to be keen admirers of the defensive midfielders talents. While we’ve heard more than one whisper in the past that we’d be making a move for him, nothing has ever materialized — a trend that’s likely to keep on keepin’ on.
Although Liverpool has been short on both fit bodies and quality players at points this season, at 29-years old, Inler is a bit long in the tooth for a Liverpool side that’s being built around developing youth. Couple that with the fact he’s made 16 appearances for the Neapolitan club so far this campaign, making him an important part of Benitez’s plans, and the link becomes even more wishy-washy – though if Napoli are successful in luring either destroyer Yann M’Vila or Hellas Verona’s highly rated Brazilian controller Jorginho to Naples, then a move could be on the cards for the midfield enforcer. That is, if Liverpool doesn’t get to either of them first.
If reports in the media are to be believed, talks between the Reds and Rubin Kazan for the signature of M’Vila are apparently expected to start shortly with an initial loan offer turned down by the Russian side; this, of course, makes any link to Jorginho a bit suspect considering Napoli’s advanced position on the matter. Benitez appears to be in pole-position to snap up the highly rated 22-year old for £8.34mil after the player’s agent confirmed that if a “great offer” came in that he’d be allowed to leave immediately. Whether or not the Spanish manager is going to act on this is a whole other bag of worms, and not something that we’re interested in speculating on, but a move by Brendan Rodgers to pip the Italian boss to his man sounds highly unlikely despite our reported late interest.
There are various reports floating around that the Liverpool boss will meet with primary owner John W. Henry this week to discuss what funds will be available to the Reds during the window and also to review potential targets. With the transfer window already half over, you’d expect that this would have happened already; regardless, one name that’s apparently going to be on the agenda is Udinese defensive midfielder Emmanuel Badu – a player who also fits the Liverpool model. While Jorginho, based on his age and adaptability, is a better shout than Inler, the Ghanian international stands above both as a more realistic transfer target given his potential and relatively unknown status.
Despite an enquiry from Chievo, the Reds remain front-runners for the promising defensive midfielder who was sounded out by the club last month. The 23-year old, who has struggled to hold down a place in the Udinese squad since moving to the Italian side in January 2010, has made only eight stars this season and has previously expressed an interest in moving to the Premier League, with Liverpool his supposed destination of choice. Whether or not we’re ready to take a punt on Badu, who’s rated at £7mil, remains to be seen, but if we can get him on the cheap – it’s not like he’s being utilized at Udinese – he could be a good option.