Villarreal v Liverpool Semi Final Leg Two – UEFA Champions League
The summer of 2023 will be an interesting one for Liverpool.
It might sound strange to gaze at a period of time that is three transfer windows away, but everything is pointing towards next year being a particularly sizable one at Anfield as far as incomings go.
After signing Luis Diaz six months earlier than had been initially planned, it is unclear if Jurgen Klopp and new sporting director Julian Ward will oversee a huge amount as far as the arrivals lounge goes at the AXA Centre in 2022.
Given Liverpool have a squad that has been good enough to compete for a quadruple deep into May – a collection of players who have been championed as perhaps the strongest ever at the club – then it would seem strange if the Reds did embark on a huge spending spree this summer.
That is perhaps not what most supporters will want to hear, but bringing a string of players to the club at a huge cost indicates a squad that needs freshening up and improving. It is difficult to improve significantly on what Liverpool have at the moment.
Diaz was earmarked for the summer months after nudging to the top of a shortlist that also contained Premier League pair Raphinha and Jarrod Bowen of Leeds United and West Ham, respectively.
But after bringing the Colombia winger in from Porto for a fee that could rise to £50 million six months earlier than planned, it is not clear if Liverpool will take another big plunge into the transfer water when the window opens later this year.
It is more likely to be a case of minor tweaks here and there and reacting to what happens in terms of outgoings.
With the futures of Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Neco Williams and Nat Phillips all undecided, the Reds might just be getting their ducks in a row to be reactive rather than proactive right now.
Liverpool expected to focus on strengthening one position during what could be exciting summer of 2023
Next summer, however, is expected to be a big one in terms of one particular position.
Anfield sources have spoken of the potential for a big-money central midfielder in the summer of 2023. Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni is a player of interest, but those at the club have spoken of their belief that he will sign for Real Madrid.
The France international has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s emerging central midfielders during his time in the first team at Monaco and that is a type of profile Liverpool are interested in: A young, hungry talent with his best years ahead of him.
But while Tchouameni remains someone who the Reds are keeping tabs on, another player who is being looked at is Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
At the age of just 18, Liverpool know that there is no rush to bring the England international to Anfield. Instead, an extra 12 months at one of Europe’s best ‘finishing schools’ in BVB would be ideal as he continues to develop into a top-quality midfielder.
With Dortmund expected to lose Erling Haaland this summer, it would be difficult to get them to the negotiating table over Bellingham too. So there is a relaxed approach inside the club over that potential deal, but he is certainly someone who Liverpool are watching closely right now.
In 2011, Liverpool spent £16m to land Jordan Henderson from Sunderland at the age of 20, knowing he would be a mainstay of their team for the best part of the next decade. Perhaps the Reds’ captain has even overperformed, having led the team to Champions League, Premier League and Club World Cup glory over the last three years.
If Liverpool’s next big investment in the center of the park is half as successful then they will have got that transfer deal right too. For now, though, they are relaxed and biding their time before 2023.