7 Jul 2015

Next Transfer? Liverpool free to sign 'fantastic' £23m playmaker who loves Anfield idea

The Asier Illarramendi transfer saga continues! In June, the Telegraph claimed that Liverpool were willing to 'match Real Madrid's valuation' of the midfielder, and new reports this week suggest that the 'fantastic' Spaniard is definitely for sale this summer.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca:

* Madrid boss Rafa Benitez is willing to sell Illarramendi, who cost Madrid €32m [£23m] in 2013.

* Liverpool and Arsenal remain interested in signing the 23-year old midfielder.

2015 Transfer timeline

Jan: When asked about his future, Illarramendi told reporters: "I want to stay at Real Madrid. I'm very happy at this club and in this city [and] I'm only looking towards [Madrid]"

March: Multiple reports claimed that Anfield hero Xabi Alonso tried to convince Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi to sign for LFC.

April: Marca claimed that Illarramendi 'loves the idea' of signing for Liverpool.

May: The Telegraph claimed that Liverpool submitted an official offer for the Spaniard.

May: After Benitez's appointment, Marca claimed: "Illarramendi [is] staying. [He] is excited at Benítez's arrival, and Benítez will want to keep Illarra"

June: The Telegraph further claimed that the Reds were on the verge of agreeing a deal for Illarramendi.

Ancelotti's treatment of Illarramendi leaves a lot to be desired, especially in light of the following:

* Madrid won 12 and lost only ONE of the 13 games Illarramendi started this past season.

* Dec 02-Dec 16: Illarramendi started five games in a row. Madrid won all five, scoring 24 goals and conceding only ONE.

* After that amazing run, Ancelotti dropped Illarramendi for the next 7 games, three of which ended in defeat.

If a team wins five games in a row, and scores 24 goals (with 4 clean sheets along the way) what possible justification is there to dump the midfielder at the heart of the team?

Illarramendi clearly has what it takes to cut it at the highest level, but I just can't see where he fits in:

* James Milner has all but confirmed that he'll be a regular starter in a central role, and with Henderson also certain to start most games, there's no room for another central midfielder.

* Add-in Can, Allen, and Lucas, and that's SIX players fighting for two midfield places (or three, if Rodgers decides to saturate the team with central midfielders).

* If Milner and Henderson play most games, where does that leave Illarramendi?

* Emre Can has repeatedly made it clear that he wants to play in central midfield, but how is that going to possible? Milner and Hendo are not going to be a bench players, so that creates a major problem.

Competition for places is good; excessive competition is unhealthy, and if Liverpool sign Illarramendi, and keep Lucas, the fight for places in midfield will (arguably) be counter-productive.

Example XI (4231):

------------------- Mignolet

Clyne ------- Skrtel ---- Sakho ------ Moreno

--------- Illarramendi - Milner

---- Hendo ------- Coutinho ------ Firmino

----------------- Sturridge

* Right-midfield is not Henderson's best position, and he'd be wasted out there. Milner could take that spot, but he expects to play centrally, and he probably has a gentleman's agreement with Rodgers that he'll play in that role.

* Plus, a dedicated attacking midfielder should play on the right of midfield (i.e. Ibe/Markovic), not a centre-mid.

* Additionally, there's no room for Can, Ibe, Lallana et al in this line-up.

If someone can explain how Rodgers can regularly fit Henderson, Milner, and Illarramendi into the same team without sacrificing bona-fide attacking players, then I'm listening.

Author: Jaimie K


  1. I think Rodgers would rather Lucas leaves, seems to be rumours that he's been trying to force him out. Maybe Illarramendi is the replacement for him?

  2. Yeah, you're probably right, but that still doesn't solve the problem of how Liverpool fit Can, Milner, Hendo, Allen, and Illarramendi into central midfield roles. Lucas barely plays these days anyway.

  3. Apparently we're favorites to sign Pedro according to sky sports. Yes please!! Get rid of the mercenary and replace with a champion.

  4. Here is who Real Madrid played with results from Dec. 2 to Dec. 16:

    Dec. 2 - UD Cornella (ESP Cup) - 5-0 (9-1 aggregate)
    Dec. 6 - Celta Vigo - 3-0
    Dec. 9 - Ludogorets (CL) - 4-0
    Dec. 12 - Almeria - 4-1
    Dec. 16 - Cruz Azul - 4-0

    Let's look closely at these opponents:

    Cornella is not in the Spanish Primera Division
    Celta Vigo finished 8th
    Ludogorets was not very good (just brings up bad memories for LFC)
    Almeria was relegated
    Cruz Azul was in the Club World Cup

    Not exactly results to write home about.

    You mentioned that they lost 3 of their next 7 games... For one, they lost 3 of their next 10 games with a draw to Atletico included that knocked them out of the cup competition.

    Who did they lose to one might ask...

    The answer: Valencia, Atletico, and Atletico.

    What's my point?

    Cherry picking games without stating who they are against, while true and factual, is also misleading.

  5. Pieter Engelbrecht6:23 pm, July 07, 2015

    dont think brendons love child a factor.Seems he will be satisfied to be a squad player

  6. It is not going to happen. We are overstocked with attacking players and Pedro has recently signed a new contract with Barca and would cost a pretty penny and his frame is the size of Aspas.

  7. It's not misleading at all, it's a fact. I chose a period of the season where Illarramendi actually had a run of games; the *only* period of the season where this happened. As such, the choice was limited.

    You can only beat the teams in front of you, and Illarramendi did his job when called upon. That's the point.

    Suarez scored shedloads of goals against lowly teams like Norwich City, but does that diminish his ability? No.

    Illarramendi's main job is top stop other teams scoring goals. He did that. End of story.

  8. While it would be a nice signing, I feel like we've been rumored after him for the better part of 3 years.

    I wouldn't place much stock into this one in particular.

    Logan also makes a valid point below about his contract status.

  9. If Illarramendi improves the team then so what. The top 4 teams above us have super stars sitting on the bench. Thats why they are the top 4 because they can replace great with great.

  10. Illarramendi is potentially better than any of the midfielders we have, so it is a chance to get a quality player. Can is unproven, Lucas and Allen are just not as good. Injuries to Hendo/Milner and we are short of quality.

    If quality is available and wants to come then get him.

  11. It is a fact. And I understand the choice is limited because he didn't get a consistent run of games otherwise.

    However, there is zero context without who he did it against.

    It's like saying that Joao Teixeira had that great first team debut against a team in February 2014, which Liverpool won in the final minutes.

    And it is all factual... including the part I left out, the fact that is was against a Fulham side that was about to be relegated.

    I understand the "you can only beat the team in front of you", and I agree with you there.

    However, by not putting in the context of who the games were actually against, it makes it seem as though you place the same value of a result on a game against Almeria and Barcelona.

    True, 3 points is 3 points... but there's no denying that a win against Barcelona is incredibly more impressive than a win against a team such as Almeria.

  12. I believe Rodgers will start the season with the 4 4 2 diamond. Illaramendi holding, hendo and Milner at the sides of the diamond, coutinho at the tip and ferminho slightly behind a new striker. I imagine this will be the game plan until at least October before Sturridge is back.

  13. ------------------- Mignolet

    Clyne ------- Skrtel ---- Sakho ------ Moreno

    --------------- Illarramendi/Can

    --------- Hendo ---------------- Milner/Can

    ------------ Coutinho ------ Firmino


    - Need to build a strong foundation from the back so we don't concede like bitches for yet another season.
    - Keep Lucas though he won't be played as much. He's an experienced and valuable player for the team. Sell Allen we don't need him. 5 midfielders competing for 3 positions is good.
    - Lallana and Ibe bench players for the attacking mid positions.
    - Sell Borini, Aspas, possibly even Balo? We got to make room for strikers. Sturridge, Ings, Origi so far.. Maybe 1 more decent striker needed? Or Firmino will play as the 2nd striker if we play 2 up top?

  14. No, you are totally and completely missing the point.

    My main point is Ancelotti's treatment of Illarremendi, i.e. dropping him after playing an integral role in those five games. In my view, that's unfair.

    The 'highest level' thing is an ancillary point, and constitutes my personal view.

    It appears to me that you're just moaning for the sake of moaning. Context? What context? The alleged context is irrelevant - the fact is Madrid did well with Illarramendi when he had a run of games in the team.

    You denigrate results against the likes of Celta and Cruz Azul, but these are games that matter, and are comparable (in terms of status) to Liverpool's games the likes of Crystal Palace, Villa, and Stoke (the results of which were fatal the club's chances of making the Champions League).

    Those games are of equal importance to games against Chelsea, Man United etc. Indeed, last season's capitulation against Palace played a part in Liverpool losing out on the league title.

  15. Without a defensive coach things are unlikely to change. Rodgers does not know how to setup his defence and has not since day 1.

  16. Regarding Ings, Spurs apparently have made a £12m bid so if LFC do not match that then he will go to Spurs or stay at Burnley.

    Will at least give the likes of Sinclair a chance?

  17. Maybe its a blessing in disguise? if we can get a better striker then ings is kinda irrelevant. I just read we may go in for Jovetic for 16M and hold up on giving them sterling till they agree?

  18. Jovetic has not settled in the EPL. City paid like £22m for him and City will be looking to make their money back.

    He ain't going to get us 20 goals a season. Pass.

  19. But Lucas *is* good.....if he can stay fit of course.

    Yes he's unspectacular (which is kind of his job) but he's consistently one of the Premier league's top tacklers, and a very safe passer of the ball (something like 91 or 92% accuracy).

    Liverpool always look more solid when he plays. Don't think we should be so dismissive of his usefulness.

  20. Don't see that this is too much competition. Allen and Lucas will be back-ups only, and I don't think Ibe is ready to nail down a spot. Cam and Lallana will have a lot of minutes. Sturridge cannot be relied on to be fit, and a striker is what is really called for.

  21. I agree, Lucas is not flashy which is not his purpose but he is our only defensive midfielder. I have to admit, I am not Lucas's biggest fan but he will do the job assigned to him 1000 times plus better than any midfielder in our squad. End of the story.

  22. Who can possibly get us 20 goals? Bacca was possibly the only one within our range. I think the plan is to get someone who can possibly get 10 goals during the periods Sturridge is injured.

  23. If we are looking to get 10 goals from a player, paying over the odds then it is yet another case of wasting money. Why pay more for Ings when we can just look to our academy. Jovetic really is just not worth the effort. City want rid of him. That says it all.

  24. Illaramendi is an exciting player, because of his purported passing ability. I've never seen him play though- only read little snippets and quotes in which he is more or less compared to Xabi Alonso. If the comparison is close then I think we should do whatever we can to bring him in. A alonsoesque pass master who can control tempo, link defense and attack and switch play from side to side is a player we could well do with. I think Can may also be able to do a job in this role, but I am not sure if he has the defensive discipline. Has anyone actually seen Illaramendi play?

  25. sorry I missed the beginning... of the story

  26. True. If we have to spend 10-12 million on Ings then it isn't worth it. The initial fee was said to be something around 4-6 right? The question still remains who? I'd certainly not want Benteke to be the person we sign.

  27. The tribunal will decide the fee for Ings and if Spurs have offered £12m then we need to call it a miss.

    I have said before, £32.5m for Benteke will be gross negligence on behalf of LFC.

  28. I dont think FSG trust Rodgers THAT much. Plus true total negligence. Is Klopp still taking a break. I give Rodgers possibly half a season before he may lose his job if he doesn't fix all the issues of last season.

  29. Allen and Lucas are out injured half the time so they are hardly competition. My guess is a 433 with




    Can pushes CM, Lallana the wingers. Origi too. That's two players for each position. Hardly unhealthy.

    It probably wont happen anyway. Not if we will spend big on a striker

  30. Not potentially. Just better.

  31. Well the excuses can be no more and it seems like his last chance has come with a muzzle. Hooray!

  32. IF has been going on for 5 years now. It will not happen. Ever. Time to accept that and move on.

  33. Then why not make it Jovetic, Fernando Reges plus 25 million? Not that i'm in favour of signing another crock striker

  34. With us owing QPR money from the Sterling sale makes it highly unlikely that LFC will be helping City to make money back from the players they want to sell.

  35. I understand your point of "If a player is playing well, and the team has won 5 games in a row, ideally the player should continue to be involved in the games thereafter".

    For one, it's nice to believe that would be the case, but ultimately the manager was putting him in games against significantly inferior competition. I'd be curious to see who he was playing alongside in those games as well. For all the credit you give to Illaramendi in those specific games, I could just as easily credit the rest of the team as well.

    As for context? You provided none. That doesn't make it irrelevant.

    In terms of denigrating the results, I fully admit that I do. However, I do believe that top to bottom, the premier league is more competitive and that teams 1 through 20 in the Prem are more evenly balanced than teams 1 through 20 in the Spanish Primera Division.

    Combine that thinking with the fact that Real Madrid are arguably better than most if not all Prem teams, and the disparity of talent in Spain is striking.

    There is no denying the overall value of the games is the same... 3 points is 3 points (as I stated earlier).

    What is more impressive: 3 points at home against Hull or 3 points at Old Trafford

  36. Just reading reading that Chelsea are having to put together a special loan squad because of the sheer amount of players they have coming back of loans.

    They have a total of 72 contracted players and 31 of them were loaned out last season.

    Utter madness

  37. They will be making a killing when some of those players go on sale. You will hardly see them wasting money on players.

    Alongside Arsenal, Chelsea know how to pull the strings in the transfer market.

  38. Do you have a link? Would be curious to read more about it.

  39. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3152074/Chelsea-squad-loanees-training-pre-season-away-main-group-club-s-huge-cast-players-look-new-teams.html

  40. Check the dailymail sports pages online

  41. Wow... just... wow

  42. Was suprised to hear Allen was willing to sign a new contract, and that he was even offered one to be honest....With tthe above that you highlight, Milner, Hendo and Can, I don't really get what role Allen see's for himself in the future, especially considering the amount of time he has already spent on the bench....

  43. Got a soft spot for Tranmere, so was worried when Dyke & Ferdinand pushed that B teams in leagues 1&2 idea.

    Premier league teams want to hold as many players as possible so wouldn't be surprised if there's another push for that.

    72 contracted players plus the academy is ridiculous

  44. That can't be true. Just cause the club agrees a sell doesn't mean the player has to leave the player can always say no and the club has to honor his contract tell expiration. On top of that the supposed bid was outside the window so I highly doubt that would be considered officall or binding in anyway. Sure teams can openly negotiate outside the window but nothing can be confirmed until the window. So since it happened outside the window and the player said no lived out his contract it is now his choice. Since his age the tribunal can only designate a amount of money that is owed. Just cause supposedly Tottenham put in 12mil doesn't mean that is the actual value and the tribunal can make it less if they so choose.

  45. Instead of B Rodgers and the transfer committee wasting £32.5m on average C Benteke. There should be £35m should be spent on these two strikers this summer: lacazette of Lyon for £22-£25 the mobile pacey quick striker to compete with D Sturridge and K Gamiero Of Seville for £7-£10M. We should not bring in Jovetic or Benteke to club

  46. Could be a nice experienced player to have in those domestic tournaments.

    But in my opinion, those should be used primarily to give academy and fringe first team players a run with a few of the regular first teamers.

    Allen is certainly on the fringe side of things, but we know what he provides. Let's put him in the "Jose Enrique Category".

  47. B R is totally confused - SIGning midfield players galore - instead of selling them = I think Klopp will be here by October

  48. At least this one isn't an attacking midfielder.

  49. It really is a shame.

    The one particular ACL injury really set him back.

    He's still a formidable player when healthy. If he never had that one serious injury to his knee, he might very well be the best holding midfielder in the league by now. He was certainly on his way then.

  50. sell markovic and allen for sure and Lallana if we get top class scorer; real top class, not BR definition of top class.................cleans up the midfield clutter a bit................

  51. Twist,
    Ian Ayre is holding on line 1. Pick it up and read him the riot act my friend. Talk some sense into him. He has made 1 good signing so he has hardly turned the corner in my mine yet...............Lacazette is having contract issues apparently and is well worth the effort. Don't know Gamiero.....

  52. Him shutting up is the best thing he has contributed to this window thus far......That said, we need 1 or 2 strikers, depending on how you feel about Origi and Ings and Daniel's dodgy health............

  53. Sounds good fella!

  54. Everytime I see a potential lineup it's always 2 deep lying mids infront of a back 4 with 1 upfront and 3 attacking mids sitting in behind .When we finished second it was our best season for a long time and we played 2 goal scoring strikers upfront basically So last season not only did we lose our best player/ striker in Saurez and Sturridge through injury but we also went down to 1 out and striker instead of 2 so no wonder we didn't do so well . I don't think we need 2 deep lying mids. If we're to scrap the 3 at the back and have s flat back 4 then - hard working playmaker to fit infront of a back 4 will be quite sufficient enough . I think we should line up like this . Just an example with some of my choice players added .





  55. Allen is a squad player who doesn't expect to play anyway. Emre will most likely be used in rotation and in cup games if Illaramendi signs and I'm sure he wouldn't be upset at having 25 games next season. Taking all that into account this could be our team next season:

    -----GK& Defense-----

    Firmino regularly played well as a LF for Hoffenheim and would fit in well. Benteke can take the place of Sturridge when/ if injured with Ings and Origi as back up. In this formation we can have Lallana and Can coming off of the bench into the CM roles with Markovic pressing at the tip of the diamond (Or Ibe if needed).
    Illaramendi provides a cushion to the defense and boasts one of the best passing ranges in Europe, Hendo and Milner can press efficiently and can cover any gaps left by the overlapping full backs (Clyne and Moreno).
    Lallana should not play at the tip of a diamond because he cannot press, which requires intelligence and timing. Lallana just runs aimlessly after the ball which is admirable but not particularly efficient.
    If Lucas does leave then Illaramendi will be a great replacement.

  56. Ings is a liverpool player. The fee is out of our hands now i believe. Most likely around 6.5m

  57. Under a good coach the academy will blossom....Bentiez gave us sterling. Gerrad was also a product of the youth system ....the question is..With Rodgers at the helm of affairs everything relating to the clubs youth recruitment and development has gone bunkers..talent at a young age is easy to spot..developing that talent rest squarely at the door step of the coaches and the technical department..

  58. Buying illara will definitely increase competition...the issue is Rodgers understanding that and releasing dead weight players that are 'attack shy&defensively inept' i would prefer illara to play in the Midfield infront of Milner (if he must be played at all) with Henderson doing the stopper role. Milner and Hendo do the grunt work and illara with Coutinho...initiate purposeful attacks for us....

  59. It should have been

    Lucas staying and Allen being forced out for me, and Can should be tutored by Lucas, and i bet he would be a fantastic defensive midfielder within a season or so, but we should be looking to bring in a 20 goal a season striker and if Man city want a deal for Sterling LFC need to talk to Dzeko and make him our prime target, He if given the chance would be the best striker we could possibly get and i think would score more than Ings, Benteke, Aubyang, or Lacazzete imo, he Dzeko is the most underrated striker in the prem, and would prove imo to be the best and most prolific attacker since Fernando.


  60. I agree to a point but developing local youngsters is serverly hindered by flooding the youth system with foriegn talent. How many of the foriegn players brought into the youth system have actually made it? I can tell you with 100% conviction that none of them have! So what has it actually achieved? The local cachment is an issue I agree because it narrows the choice but Gerrard. Carragher, McManaman, Owen and Fowler fell in the local cachment in theory so if allowed to develop they can make it, when we bring in a bucket load of foriegn players it makes it far more difficult for the players to break through and it ebbs their progress, it is possible to develop the local players if the attention of the coaching staff is focused on them instead of an army of players being brought in ahead of them, in todays youth set up I feel the likes of Gerrard, Carragher, McManaman, Owen and Fowler would have struggled to break through because of all the foreign players being bought for cold hard cash as they would take priority over the young local talent because they cost money and with the fact they cost money comes expectation. The only money LFC should be spending is on the first team and if the youngsters that have been developed since an early happen to make it then great and if they don't then it's fine, as at least they didn't cost us anything more than what the academy was set up to do as in developing youth.

  61. Ghost of Suarez1:30 am, July 08, 2015

    I take the point about Carra Mecca rtf but disagree that they would have struggled today. A club can still get lucky and have a lot of local talent come through at once but the hit rate from academy player to full time pro is very low and obviously the less English players you have to choose from the less success you are generally likely to achieve. Given the choice clubs would all rather have their youth team stocked with local kids, in small part due to identity, but mainly due to economics....it still costs more to scout an overseas player than it does to go to Kirkby...so if we happened upon a generation like Fowler , Owen etc again they would still get in, no problem. Likewise with ManUre's golden generation, although they would not have been able to sign Beckham, he would have ended up at Leyton Orient or something and the who knows?.

    The trouble is that developing youth players into the first team players requires such a high volume that you need the biggest possible pool of youngsters and that forces teams to cast their net abroad as well as in their area as they won't have enough quality in high enough numbers

  62. how often do teams keep the same line-up? if Can or Ibe aren't in this line up then they will be in a lineup for a different game depending on injuries, the opponent style/weaknesses, form etc. And esp more relevant with the amount games we could potentially be playing next season (as i am sure rogers will be looking to win one of the trophies this year)

    and i do think we sign this guy someone like Allen or Lucas can leave. As it's about improving the squad and first team

  63. somebody can tell me who is illaramendi?, when we're talking about defensive player nd liverpool are talking about illaramendi, the're more than 60% best midfielder around the world, they can just forget about this guy we need a better midfielder and defensive nd striker as well as benteke