Liverpool captured Fabio Carvalho from Fulham this summer in exchange for a compensation fee after the attacker ran down his contract and they could well look to repeat the trick next year
Jurgen Klopp recently vowed to build a Liverpool team for “now and tomorrow” so it comes as little surprise to see his Reds linked with highly-rated Aston Villa starlet Carney Chukwuemeka.
Having added Luis Diaz to the ranks back in January, Liverpool moved swiftly to sign Darwin Nunez alongside talented teenagers Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsey this summer. Though plans to also add a dynamic young midfielder in the current window have been shelved until next year, the Reds have recruited in the key areas earmarked for strengthening, while continuing to keep to Klopp’s clear transfer strategy: planning for the future.
Liverpool’s core group, which has inspired so much success in recent years, is on the wane and gradually breaking up (see Sadio Mane’s move to Bayern Munich ), while Klopp himself even admitted “fresh blood” was required this summer in order to ensure a seamless transition into the club’s next cycle. A next cycle which could indeed include Villa hotshot Chukwuemeka.
The Reds are just one of a number of top teams from across Europe understood to be monitoring the England Under-19 midfielder, who recently helped the Young Lions to European Championship success at that age group. With the 18-year-old having so far rejected Villa’s advances over a new contract, it seems he could well be up for grabs this summer.
Villa have reportedly slapped a £20million price tag on Chukwuemeka, who has just one year remaining on his current deal, and denied the teenager to opportunity to join the club’s pre-season tour due to the ongoing uncertainty around his future. Given his potential availability this summer, it would be remiss of Liverpool not to lurk and keep an eye on developments, though Villa’s valuation seems rather steep.
However, should Klopp’s side really harbour hopes of capturing Chukwuemeka, they may be better off seeking to repeat the transfer trick that worked so well with Carvalho this summer. Liverpool eventually paid a £7.7m compensation fee to claim the 19-year-old attacker after he ran his contract down with Fulham this summer.
The Reds could well play the waiting game once again and aim to secure Chukwuemeka under similar circumstances next year when his Villa deal comes to its conclusion. The ploy would, of course, see a figure far inferior to £20m required to complete the signing of the in-demand star, but a patient approach comes with its risks.
The likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund are all understood to be eyeing Chukwuemeka and they hold a key advantage over Liverpool. The midfielder’s array of European admirers are all able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the player as early as January – something English clubs are forbidden from doing.
Should Chukwuemeka continue to resist Villa’s attempts to tie him down to a new deal, top teams from across the continent could in theory conclude a deal before Liverpool have even been given a proper look-in. The situation is a setback for the Reds, but not a disaster.
A club of Liverpool’s pedigree will no doubt offer its temptations to Chukwuemeka, who will be well aware Klopp is keen to revitalise in the centre of the park next summer. For now, it’s perhaps advisable that Liverpool keep an eye on proceedings but don’t jump he gun.
“Our strategy is to sign the right players at the right moment,” Klopp admitted back in February. “We recognise issues like a position or contracts.”
And the Reds will no doubt be aware of the uncertainty currently engulfing Chukwuemeka at present. The player’s European admirers may indeed hold the edge, but that shouldn’t pressure Liverpool into paying over the odds this summer. They would be better off playing the long game and looking to repeat their Carvalho transfer trick by adding yet another exciting young talent on their terms next summer.