Eight transfer targets Liverpool should look to replace Luis Suarez with
With Luis Suarez set to complete his move to Barcelona at some point in the next week, Liverpool are left with that task of filling a very large gap at the front of their attack.
31 goals in a Premier League season are difficult to come by - not to mention missing the first five games through suspension - but the general assumption is that Suarez had to go after his third biting incident.
Nevertheless, the striker is widely regarded as the best Number Nine in the world at moment, so Liverpool will need to choose wisely if they are to challenge for the title next season as well as enjoy a successful return to the Champions League.
So taking into account that Liverpool have topped up their transfer budget by a hefty £75m, who could they look to sign in place of the Uruguayan?
1. Romelu Lukaku
The Belgian looks to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge after Chelsea signed Diego Costa earlier this month, and Jose Mourinho’s reluctance to put his faith into the 21-year-old has paved the way for a move. Everton are keen to take the striker after a successful loan spell last season, but while the Blues would be reluctant to strengthen a title rival, every player has his price and Liverpool certainly have the financial power to meet it.
2. Mario Balotelli
The troublesome Italian didn’t enjoy the best of World Cup’s – yet still scored against England – and he looks to be on the move once again, just a year after joining AC Milan. Arsenal were linked with the 23-year-old, but the signing of Alexis Sanchez looks to have ended their interest, and Balotelli would be keen on a return to the Premier League.
3. Loic Remy
Remy is a near-certainty to leave Queens Park Rangers this summer despite their promotion back to the Premier League, and while Arsenal are the favourites to sign the Frenchman, Liverpool are believed to be interested in him. At 27 years old, he perhaps doesn’t represent the promise that Liverpool’s other targets offer, but comes in as a much cheaper option with his release clause around the £8m mark. His consistency and injury problems would be a slight concern.
4. Wilfried Bony
The top target for Brendan Rodgers if the reports prove true, Bony’s work rate off the ball has led many club’s including Liverpool and Spurs to take an interest in the Ivorian. Bony scored 16 goals in his debut Premier League season, a record that is not to be taken lightly, but Swansea – or any club that swoops for the £18m-valued striker – will hope he doesn’t suffer the famous second-season drop-off.
5. Karim Benzema
Benzema has long been linked with a move away from Real Madrid despite his impressive record in Spain. At just 26, it feels like the Frenchman has been around for an eternity, but his best years should be ahead of him. Enjoyed a very good World Cup despite France’s quarter-final exit, and while he would be an expensive option costing around £25m-£30m, he would no doubt offer the quality that the departed Suarez did.
6. Lazar Markovic
A deal waiting to happen, Markovic is expected to undergo a medical sometime in the next week, although the £20m transfer has been delayed due to bureaucratic issues in the 20-year-old getting the green light to travel to England. While the Benfica star no doubt has the quality and potential to go on and make a name for himself, it would be a big ask to expect as much of him as the Kop did of Suarez. One for the future, as the saying goes.
7. Divock Origi
Another who looks to be on the verge of securing a move to Anfield, Origi could complete his £9.8m switch in the next week, but is likely to remain in France on a season-long loan with current club Lille in order to continue his development with regular first-team football. Made a name for himself on the biggest stage of them all as he ousted Romelu Lukaku in Belgium’s World Cup starting XI, but still needs time to develop at just 19 years old.
8. No one
Does Suarez need replacing, or is the solution a lot closer to home? Daniel Sturridge enjoyed his most successful year last season, following Suarez in the Premier league goalscoring charts with 21 goals to his name. With the 24-year-old oozing confidence despite an average World Cup campaign, a lot is expected of Sturridge next season. Should he fire on all cylinders throughout the season, Liverpool could be much better off investing the £75m in other areas, such as their incredibly leaky defence that cost them last season’s title.