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Liverpool summer window may take new path after £36m transfer decision – Theo Squires

When Liverpool confirmed the signing of Ibrahima Konate last month, it was a familiar case of business as usual for the Reds.

After all, ever since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager at Anfield in October 2015, he’s liked to move early in the transfer market whenever possible.

Deals for the likes of Joel Matip, Loris Karius, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and even Sepp van den Berg have been confirmed before the opening of the summer transfer window in recent years, with it being a similar story with Virgil van Dijk and Takumi Minamino ahead of the January transfer window.

Meanwhile, a deal for Naby Keita was confirmed a year before his actual arrival while even Klopp’s first signing, Marko Grujic, was signed within days of the January window opening.

By moving for Konate, Liverpool have found a solution to their biggest headache from last season by strengthening at centre-back.

However, the France Under-21s international won’t be the only major arrival at Anfield this summer.

He can’t be if Klopp’s side wish to seriously challenge Man City to reclaim the Premier League title and fight for a seventh European Cup.

The Reds are arguably also in need of a new forward and potentially a new central midfielder too at least, but any further arrivals are not imminent.

Of course, such swift movement is not always possible after all, with last summer the most obvious example.

As Liverpool navigated the opening months of the coronavirus pandemic, they were forced to delay their transfer activity until later in the summer as they reassessed their financial position, passing on a deal for Timo Werner in the process before landing Kostas Tsimikas in August with Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota following in September.

And it should be no surprise that it has gone quiet on the transfer front at Anfield since Konate was confirmed as a result.

While clubs are hopeful they will be able to welcome back fans come the start of the new season, such a position is not yet confirmed after the UK government pushed back plans to lift coronavirus restrictions until July 19.

Therefore, the Reds will continue to tread carefully as they assess their transfer options, having had to be patient and frugal last summer.

When striking deals for Thiago and Jota, Liverpool were able to spread out payments as they paid minimal upfront fees.

However, in Konate’s case the Reds agreed to foot up his entire £36m fee in one installment, with such a figure likely to make up a significant proportion of their budget.

Therefore, Liverpool will need to move on their superfluous players to in order to raise funds over the course of the summer, with the likes of Grujic, Karius, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Harry Wilson all likely to follow Gini Wijnaldum out the exit door, and questions marks hanging over the futures of players such as Minamino, Nat Phillips and Ben Davies.

Of course, other clubs also enduring the same waiting game in the midst of the global pandemic, with Emi Buendia’s £33m move from Norwich City to Aston Villa the only other big-money incoming at a Premier League club so far.

Euro 2020 will have complicated matters further with it uncommon for players involved to be able to complete transfers mid-tournament, with Shaqiri and Wilson two such affected players at Anfield.

But while the lack of current transfer activity is to be expected, that hasn’t stopped an abundance of speculation with Florian Neuhaus one man who is increasingly getting linked with a move to Liverpool.

Like with the Reds’ initial stance for Thiago last year, the 24-year-old has attracted admiring glances from Liverpool but they have not yet made a move for the Borussia Moenchengladbach midfielder.

The ECHO understands bringing in a new midfielder is not a priority, though such a stance could change depending on what happens to Liverpool’s current midfield personnel during the course of the transfer window.

However, despite the Reds’ admittance of interest, the latest reports from Germany insist Neuhaus will not be allowed to leave Moenchengladbach for another year at least as the latest game of transfer cat and mouse wears on.

With the midfielder currently representing Germany at Euro 2020, his future will not be resolved one way or the other until after the conclusion of the summer tournament.

However, Liverpool’s persistent links with his services do seem to partly be a result of the lack of Reds transfer activity elsewhere.

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While it might be quiet at Anfield and in the Premier League, it is a different story when it comes to Bosman transfers, with Wijnaldum one such example after agreeing to join PSG on a free transfer following the expiration of his Liverpool contract.

Given their own ongoing financial difficulties, Real Madrid and Barcelona have both taken advantage of the free transfer market with the former landing David Alaba and the latter striking deals for Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay.

The Reds might have to be patient to bring further recruitment to Merseyside but they are not in as dire straits as the two La Liga giants, who are both in need of balancing their books in the face of rising debts.

Depay was one player Liverpool had loosely been linked to given their reported need for a new forward, yet there was never any suggestion of the Reds entering the market for the Dutchman’s signature.

By turning their nose up at a suitable free transfer to aid their attack, it suggests Klopp and Michael Edwards may have other ideas when it comes to strengthening the Reds squad.

And following the success of Jota last summer, such a signing is a formula they would inevitably like to replicate.

A bolt from the blue when announced back in September last year, Liverpool had not previously been linked with the Portuguese before quickly a £45m deal with Wolves for the then 23-year-old.

Even in the face of a global health crisis and its financial ramifications, the Reds still look to the future and the best long-term signings for their squad.

A year down the line and that stance is not going to have changed as they continue to bide their time and look for the best possible deal.

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Any impressive performances at Euro 2020 are unlikely to sway their minds with Liverpool’s list of targets already being long-since drawn up by Edwards and Klopp.

While the identities of those on the list might not yet be clear, that’s the way the Reds like to conduct their business.

Sure, Neuhaus is one name where interest has become public knowledge but Liverpool remain tight-lipped, and that will remain the case with any player until they decide to pounce in the transfer market.

It might all be quiet on the transfer front now following Konate’s arrival but no news is good news as we edge slowly towards the start of the new season.

The Reds report back to the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby on July 12, a day after the Euro 2020 final with transfer activity, both in and out, expected to then accelerate.

After all, they would still favour incoming signings to have joined the club before the start of the new season, having been forced to step away from that philosophy with Thiago and Jota last summer.

And while it is perfectly conceivable that there will be no additional faces beyond Konate linking up with Klopp’s squad on that date, you’d be very surprised if that is still the case come August 14 when Liverpool open their Premier League campaign away at Norwich City.

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