John Aldridge: Alexis Sanchez has got baggage but he’s the ideal man for Liverpool
Read John Aldridge every week in the Herald
Liverpool don’t have to break the bank to sign the players they want as they already have the money in the bank from the sale of Philippe Coutinho.
They need to spend the money now and make sure it is reinvested into the squad. And they should do whatever it takes to bring in Alexis Sanchez. In a dream world, I would have done a straight swap for Luis Suarez but that won’t happen.
But Sanchez is a player I would like to see at Anfield. He has a lot of baggage around him, but he is a top-class player. Liverpool wanted him when he was at Barcelona, he came to Arsenal and has done really well.
Knowing that Sanchez’s contract is up in the summer, I would have offered Arsenal £40m, plus one pound, as they did with Luis Suarez.
I know there is a history with Sanchez and he has that baggage but you can’t doubt his class.
The one thing that could really prevent a deal like that for Liverpool is if Manchester City come in for Sanchez. Liverpool have cash to hand right now but with City, they deal in Monopoly money and it’s difficult to get a player if City really want him.
When Jose Mourinho starts moaning about not having enough money, you know it’s hard for anyone to compete with City. But I’d love to see Liverpool spend on Sanchez and do it now.
The problem here is that the player himself would look for a large slice of the cake, he’s free in the summer so he’d demanding a big signing-on fee, but if I was in the Liverpool manager’s shoes, I’d sign him.
They do need someone who can still give the attacking threat that Coutinho gave Liverpool, when Firminho, Salah and Mane played together you need to try and link that and they need someone who can fit into that mould,
The January transfer market is not an easy one to find players in, the club have done good business in January before, like bringing in Suarez, but if the players which the manager really wants are not available in January, the case could be made for the manager to stay patient and wait until the summer. But the supporters will not be happy unless the Coutinho money is invested back into the squad. The Liverpool fans are not stupid, they know their football and the owners know what the fans want and that means bringing in players.
There are options out there for Liverpool. I have heard talk about Thomas Lemar, at Monaco, I haven’t seen too much of him but the reports are very good. He is the right age, in terms of what the American owners at Liverpool like. They like to buy young players, Lemar is 22 and that’s ideal for Liverpool right now, though a lot of teams are after him and Monaco have said they want to keep him.
There’s also talk about Riyad Mahrez, who plays a very similar role to Coutinho.
Mahrez had a number of things going for him: he has played in the Premier League before and he is eligible for the Champions League, and those factors could be important, he could be a good replacement. Should they even look to sign two players now as the money is there? Champions League is key and having a new player who is eligible, as Mahrez would be, could prove vital.
Only Jurgen Klopp knows who he really wants. I think Klopp will have known for weeks now that Coutinho was leaving so you’d assume the club have been doing their homework.
The big problem now for Liverpool is that the clubs they will be dealing with all know that they have the money to spend, that Coutinho money is burning a hole in Liverpool’s pockets and whatever player they go after, the price has instantly gone up because of the cash that Liverpool have to hand.
That’s the nature of the game. You look at how Ousmane Dembélé went to Barcelona: he was never worth the money that Barca spent on him but they had the money from the sale of Neymar, his price went up and this will be no different for Liverpool.
It’s been a funny mood in Liverpool for the last few days. Liverpool FC were never a selling club but this is a new reality, if a player wants to go, he goes so you just hold out to get the best deal you can, supporters hoped Coutinho would stay until the end of the season but the deal is now, now they have to do the right business.