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FSG transfer spend, Ibrahima Konate and your Liverpool questions answered

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Despite the season not being concluded, many Liverpool fans will already have their eye on what the club will be doing in the transfer window.

Jurgen Klopp is likely to strengthen his squad as he gears up for a much better campaign than this time round, and there could also be some players who leave Anfield at the end of the season.



The Liverpool Echo’s chief LFC writer Ian Doyle took part in a Q&A where he answered fans questions about potential transfer business this summer.



Ian also answered some questions about what remains of the current season, with five games left to play.



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Q: Hi Ian, so with the arrival of Konaté seeming likely in the summer, where do you think he will situate when the full squad is back? Also what about Kabak and Philips. Both have given so much in a time that was greatly needed.

ID: I wouldn't be too premature over the Konate chat. We will see what happens there - still a long way to go. But talking about centre-backs generally, we have to assume that not all of Matip, Gomez and Van Dijk will be back good as new for some time. So I'd imagine the Reds might have as many as five centre-back options next season, assuming none of those three mentioned leave in the summer.

Kabak is an interesting one as I think he's done better than perhaps even Liverpool expected in recent weeks. Phillips has become a cult hero and his aerial prowess gives something the Reds have lacked with Van Dijk and perhaps Matip out. But I'm not sure that's enough to secure a long-term future at the club.

Q: How many players do you expect us to sign this summer? And who are realistic targets?

ID: The number of players arriving is hard to ascertain as who knows how many will leave, and how many games Liverpool can expect to play next season. But it's easier to work out what positions need strengthening - a centre-back, an all-round midfielder, a central striker. After that, it will depend, as I say, on which players depart.

In terms of targets - CL football or not will go some way to determining who can and would want to come. It won't be easy either way, with Jurgen Klopp having admitted he expects a difficult transfer window due to coronavirus. The good thing is that Liverpool don't actually need LOADS of players. They could just do with some not being injured so much and rediscovering form.

However, they know their squad isn't getting any younger and will be looking to the next stage, the next evolution of the squad. I'd imagine Harvey Elliott will form part of that.

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Q: What do you think the future holds for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? Will he leave this summer?

ID: Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in a difficult situation in that he was injured at the wrong time, and the team's total lack of form on his return has prevented him from making that much of an impact. It's surprising how often he featured last season, though, so unless a big offer comes in or the player wants to go, I can see him staying.

Q: Are Liverpool looking for a replacement for Gini Wijnaldum? If yes, who is the most likely candidate?

ID: As I expect a new midfielder to arrive then, yes, Wijnaldum will be replaced if he leaves, which looks likely. It won't be an easy job, either, because the Dutchman has played a massive part for the Reds in his five years. He has been a superb servant and a key player under Klopp - one of his most trusted. In terms of candidates, the Reds will be looking at a few. I quite like Bissouma at Brighton.

Q: Are Liverpool looking at any forwards and if so who do you think they will be after?

ID: Yes and, well, let's just say it won't be Mbappe or Haaland. Unless one of Mane or Salah moves on, and even then would a lack of Champions League football hurt? There are so many variables.

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Q: Are the owners still looking to implement ffp rules in the league. If not... can they see themselves continuing to be competitive in the long term?

ID: This is an interesting one. I do wonder if part of the ESL interest was because of the guaranteed funds EVERY club would get and that they'd know they were on a roughly even level to the others. FFP was a big part of FSG coming to LFC - but ultimately it will come down to how FFP is enforced. And that's not up to Liverpool.

Q: Why were we told that the Redbird investment brought us back to pre pandemic levels of spending yet now I am hearing everywhere how the pandemic will affect our spending as the window approaches, was the "back to pre pandemic levels of spending" just spiel to excuse the fact FSG had no intention of giving us any of the half a billion investment?

ID: Nobody knew how long the pandemic would go on for - Liverpool were hoping to have fans back in October, don't forget. The reality is only owners with deep personal pockets will be spending massive amounts this summer in terms of net spend. The new investment will, we are led to believe, allow the Reds to remain at least competitive in the market up to a point. We have to be realistic, though.

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Q: Liverpool have a lot of players to sell this summer such as Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Harry Wilson, Marko Gruji?, Taiwo Awoniyi, Ben Davies etc. plus maybe Takumi Minamino, OX or even Keita. So there will be a fair amount of money to spend this summer on top of the reserved money we've been promised by many reliable sources (James Pearce, Paul Joyce) whether or not we make top four.

ID: You saw last season they struggled to ship most of those players, and this summer could be even more difficult. I fear FSG will have to take a big hit in terms of money they expected to bring in - but this isn't their fault, it's the way the market has changed due to the pandemic. We all know Liverpool have money to spend in summer - we just know it won't be megamoney. Klopp has said as much.

Q: Do you expect Liverpool to sign centre forward like En Nesyri or someone who can operate in all 3 positions like Malen for example?

ID: I would imagine they will stick to what they have been doing and look to bring in a versatile forward - Werner, when Liverpool were interested, was a case in point, with one specialist position and able to do some others. Jota is that too. I would prefer they brought one in whose main role was to be a central striker who knows where the goal is. But there's a reason they are the most expensive.

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Q: Perhaps one way for FSG to try and get the fans back onside would be for them to really flex their muscle in the transfer market and bring in at least one marquee signing to join what will soon become an ageing squad. Realistically, apart from Konate- who else are you hearing we are serious about joining the club in the summer?

ID: I don't think spending huge amounts on a marquee signing is what Klopp wants, let alone FSG. But if Klopp needs a few extra million to get a player he really wants over the line, it might be wise for FSG to work out a way of giving him access to it.

Q: Would fsg adapt their model and buy older players...ie.. Aguero, Suarez.. Lewandowski in the short term to help them be more competitive?

ID: Tough one. If it's the right player, I'd say yes - Thiago wasn't exactly young when he joined. And while I'd love Aguero at Liverpool, he is a bit injury prone, which is the last thing the Reds need. Suarez is too old but Lewandowski would be amazing, which is perhaps why Bayern wouldn't sell him regardless.

Q: Do you see any players leaving us, apart from Origi and Shaq?

ID: Yes. A lot will depend on if European football is assured, because without those games there will be a number of players wondering how they'll get game time.

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Q: Do you see Tsimikas, Ox, Neco and Naby starting any of our remaining games?

ID: Depends. If European qualification slips away then there's every chance of seeing some changes. But the condensed conclusion to the campaign means there may be scope for some rotation - five games in 16 days isn't ideal.

Q: Will we buy Kabak?

ID: Jurgen Klopp is the only one to determine that and, with the season ongoing, he's unlikely to make a decision one way or another.

Q: Will Virgil go to the Euros with the Netherlands or has he decided to pull out from the tournament?

ID: As Klopp himself said, only Virgil's knee knows the answer to that one.

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