Ah, transfer rumours. Sometimes, they’re great fun, but the rumour mill has a nasty habit of throwing out something ridiculous which quickly gets interpreted as fact.
The latest monstrosity to hit the presses is Liverpool’s alleged determination to sign Kalidou Koulibaly. Sure, the Reds would probably love Koulibaly to line up alongside Virgil van Dijk and create one of the Premier League’s most feared partnerships of all time. Wouldn’t we all?
However, ever heard of a little thing called common sense?
The problem with this story isn’t the idea that Koulibaly wouldn’t want to join Liverpool. After all, they’re the reigning European champions who are on track to winning the Premier League. As far as appealing clubs go, Jürgen Klopp’s side are right up there – especially for someone without a major honour in his career.
The problem is literally everything else.
Let’s start with the obvious one: money. As one of the best centre-backs around, Koulibaly is not going to come cheap. La Gazzetta dello Sport even go as far as to say that Napoli are ready to stand firm on their €100m asking price. Any alarm bells ringing yet?
Having already spent a not-dissimilar figure on Van Dijk, the likelihood of Liverpool shelling out a similar amount on another centre-back was always unlikely, and that’s before you even consider the current economic climate.
Just like the rest of the world, football has really been hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Teams aren’t making a lot of money, so spending €100m on one player is going to be a real problem for any club, not just Liverpool.
Club officials have recently asked RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner for more time before they decide whether or not they can trigger his release clause, and that’s only €60m (£52m). If that fee is a problem, why would €100m be fine?
Let’s not forget that Liverpool initially planned to use the UK government’s furlough scheme to pay their non-playing staff while football was postponed. They’re obviously not swimming in money right now.
To spend €100m on one single player who plays in the least-problematic position in the entire squad would be ludicrous.
There are questions over whether Koulibaly is even worth that kind of money anyway, and one of the issues which is often highlighted is the fact that the Senegal international will be 29 by the start of next season.
Yes, some of the best centre-backs around have played well into their thirties, but plenty have fallen away with age. Are Liverpool going to take that risk when they already have 22-year-old Joe Gomez just waiting for a chance to dominate in the first team?
Gomez has done nothing but impress during his time as a starter at Anfield, and he has the potential to star for the club for over a decade. However, signing Koulibaly would leave the Englishman on the bench for a little while longer.
‘But yes, let’s sacrifice the future for another few years of being as good as we already are’.
Some of the funniest reports about this deal have concerned potential swap deals. There’s talk of Liverpool offloading Joël Matip to get the deal done, with an apparent disregard to the fact that would leave the Reds incredibly shaky at the back.
Remember the injury crises Liverpool have dealt with in recent years? When Fabinho had to drop into defence because of the lack of numbers? Why would Liverpool do that to themselves voluntarily?
However, that’s not even the worst bit. The idea of using Dejan Lovren as a makeweight has even come up on occasion.
What’s that going to do? Scare Napoli into raising their asking price?
The only part of this story which makes any sense is that fact that Liverpool want to be a good team. That’s it. As soon as Koulibaly’s name is mentioned, it’s game over. This isn’t happening. Case dismissed.