Liverpool have been linked with a transfer move for a new striker. Enzo Fernández and a current Anfield star should encourage FSG to make a bid quickly.
It’s happened again. Three of the most potentially heartbreaking words in football: just ask Spurs fans. But it is Liverpool to whom they are most applicable at present, specifically in the transfer market.
Enzo Fernández looks like the real deal, having played a crucial part in Argentina’s World Cup triumph. He was named Young Player of the Tournament for his efforts. That will offer further encouragement to Liverpool in their apparent transfer pursuit.
And yet reports linking Liverpool with Fernández first surfaced in the summer. Almost as soon as he swapped River Plate for Benfica, Sky Sports revealed that the Reds had been keeping a ‘watching brief’ on the player.
By letting Benfica act first, Liverpool have had to watch Fernández’s price tag increase more or less tenfold. Whether they will pay the £105m ($120m/€128m) release clause is another story, but they will surely have to get somewhere close to it if they are intent on acquiring his services.
Worse still, this is far from the first time Liverpool have been burned. Indeed, one of the signings they did end up making in the summer was an example of the very same thing.
Another Benfica star, Darwin Núñez could end up costing Liverpool £85m. And yet the club had been watching him going back to his days in South America (The Athletic). Adding in the Fernández release clause, that’s a potential transfer outlay of £190m — a very expensive waiting game.
Of course, there are valid reasons why Liverpool often choose to wait. The Premier League is the strongest division in the world, and it is hard to predict how well players will adapt. Experience in Europe tends to be the most convincing bellwether, and signing talent further along in its development is an inevitable consequence of sitting at the top of the football food chain.
But Fernández in particular calls much of that logic into question. Liverpool have been pretty heavily linked from the moment he set foot in Europe. Even now, the extra evidence amounts to just six months. If the club are so keen to sign him now, he would surely have been worth the risk in the summer.
All of which brings us to the latest Liverpool transfer link, to forward Jhon Durán. Ominously, the Daily Mail reports that Benfica have just joined the race for the 19-year-old: that alone should be a motivator for FSG to act fast.
Durán comes from another ‘weak’ league, the MLS. Even more than the Argentinian top flight, this requires a very big leap to the Premier League. But with Núñez already at Liverpool, the Colombian would not be placed under any significant pressure at Anfield, and could develop in his own time.
The perennial dilemma is that a lack of constant first-team exposure could mean Durán does not develop as hoped, meaning Liverpool would indeed be better off letting him go to Benfica, which would in turn send his price skyrocketing. But this is what loans are for — the club can bank the talent now, and reap the benefits later.
With Benfica already potentially burning Liverpool twice, it is important to try and avoid a third instance. With that in mind, a transfer for Durán looks like it might be a smart move.