Friday, July 18, 2014

Rodgers eyeing top players to replace Suarez

Brendan Rodgers wants a massive signing as the club look to spend big on their squad, including moves for Loic Remy, Dejan Lovren and Ben Davies

Liverpool will smash through the £100million spending barrier in a single summer this year for the first time in the club's history.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has already spent £60m and still has QPR striker Loic Remy, Southampton defender Dejan Lovren and Ben Davies, the exciting young Swansea full-back, in his sights.

Rodgers will use the cash received from Barcelona for Luis Suarez to finance the Reds' next batch of moves, and said: “We are working hard behind the scenes to find players, but it will not be a direct replacement [for Suarez].

"We are looking for several players who can add to what we have and improve us again.”

Tottenham were destabilised last summer when they brought in seven players using the £85m Real Madrid paid for winger Gareth Bale.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas lost his job four months later, after the north London club failed to keep up with the title challengers and saw their Champions League qualification hopes fade too.

However, as Rodgers prepares to spend the Suarez money, he argued cashing in on the Uruguayan will only make Liverpool stronger because it offers them the chance to compete with domestic financial superpowers Manchester City and Chelsea.

The Northern Irishman, who steered the Kop club to a surprise second place last season, said: “Obviously, Luis going gives us the clout to go and spend more and we are getting the right type of player in.

“We certainly won’t spend just for the sake of spending. It has to be the sort of player who is going to improve us. But we will definitely be stronger this season - no doubt.”

The Anfield giants have already signed Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic this off-season, but appear certain to more than DOUBLE that outlay before the window closes at the end of August.

As well as Remy, Lovren and Davies, Rodgers will also target a top class midfielder - with names such as World Cup stars Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba on the radar.

Rodgers added: “The signings we have made have no relation to Luis going. Absolutely. These are players that were always earmarked to come in.

“We felt last year we just never had the depth, and we are in the Champions League this year, so we have to ensure we have a strong as squad as possible. That is what we will do, no question.”

Liverpool tried to use some of the Suarez cash to attract one of the real stars of the World Cup in Chile icon Alexis Sanchez, but the versatile Barcelona forward chose instead to join Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

That has already provoked fears among some Reds fans that the club no longer has the allure to attract the top echelon of stars - men who have their pick of the world’s leading clubs.

Rodgers though, begs to differ.

He will show his intent by paying £20m for Lovren, and will also target Remy - who will be available for around £8m because of a clause in his contract - after accepting any pursuit of Swansea striker Wilfried Bony is simply too complicated.

He will also target a genuine big hitter in midfield, with even Germany’s Marco Reus on his wish list.

Rodgers argued that losing out on Sanchez to Arsene Wenger's Londoners was simply a question of location, location, location.

“I don’t think we will struggle to attract players,” he said. “Sanchez was one where geography dictated where he wanted to go, simple as that.

“It’s been the other way [too]. Lots of players are really impressed by what we are doing as club and really excited about coming here.

"It wasn’t a lack of ambition, far from it. The player and his family simply wanted to choose to live where they did.

"He’s a fantastic player. He would have suited us. His profile would’ve been great. But it was not to be and we move on.”

That is exactly what Liverpool will do as they adjust to life after Suarez, and the Anfield manager will calmly go about the business of replacing a man who provided the impetus for a sustained title challenge with 31 goals last season.

He will not though, obsess over a search for a direct replacement, but instead try to spread the goalscoring burden throughout his new signings.

Remy is an attractive target because his proven Premier League track record almost guarantees 20 goals a season.

And with Lambert and Lallana also proven top-flight scorers, Rodgers is confident his side will have the firepower and creativity to thrive without Suarez - especially as Daniel Sturridge showed during England's brief World Cup campaign that he's now nudging towards the elite level.

“In the times Daniel’s played up there without Luis, he has shown his qualities, but the onus is not really on one player - the strength of us has been the team,” he explained.

“When I came in here, Luis was talked of as someone who didn’t score regularly, didn’t get enough opportunities - or take them. Over the last two years, he proved that with the number of chances we created, you can get goals.

“But it is not just about him. We scored 101 goals last season and he got 31 of them - we have goals all across the team and will bring in players we think can assist with making them.

“The club will be stronger without him - absolutely."

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