Another day, another player from somewhere in Europe has been linked with a move to Liverpool.
This time it’s Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele and those with a decent memory will know that it’s not the first time that a move to Anfield has been mentioned in the press.
Jurgen Klopp has been credited as a fan of the former Borussia Dortmund talent, so much so that there have been strong links previously.
A possible replacement for Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane, or even added competition to the front three, have been mentioned as possible labels for Dembele were he to have joined Liverpool.
What makes the last link the most interesting is the fee, or rather lack of, that would be involved in any deal.
According to TeamTalk, the Reds are one of a host of clubs who could sign Dembele next summer when his contract at the Nou Camp expires.
Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester City and Juventus are also said to be in the running.
There have been suggestions from Spain in recent months that Barcelona have opened talks and are keen for the 24-year-old to agree a new deal with the club.
Despite reports in August claiming he was on the verge of signing a new contract, he’s yet to put pen to paper and his future remains uncertain.
This could open the door for Liverpool. But should they explore the option?
Signing a player for free does not mean as much in modern day football. When a club makes a signing, what often gets the most attention is the transfer fee.
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Were Dembele to move to Liverpool on a free transfer, the Reds would still have to pay him the wages required for a player of his standard.
Given Dembele plays at one of the biggest clubs in the world and was signed for a fee that could reach up to £135.5m, he’s likely to command a sizeable wage by comparison to the rest of the Liverpool squad.
But let’s say, hypothetically, Liverpool will have the money available to afford to sign Dembele next summer – is it the right thing to do?
Dembele is still a France international that was, at one time, thought of as one of the brightest young prospects in world football.
The main problem is his injury record.
Since signing for Barca in the summer of 2016, Dembele has missed 96 games through various injuries, with three separate hamstring problems taking up the bulk of those.
Take away his injury record, even though it is quite unfortunate, and you still have a talented winger who certainly fits into the mould of what Klopp wants from his wide forwards.
Pace, skill, the ability to press from the front and beat a defender one-vs-one. That talent is still there to be harnessed.
We could speculate for hours about whether a particular player is the right addition for Liverpool.
The truth of the matter is that the Reds have a meticulous process for signing players and very rarely do they get caught up in the hype around deals or just bring someone in to make up the numbers.
Of course, there has just been one rumour at this stage and we have a long way to go before we talk seriously about Dembele potentially being a Liverpool player.
The point is this – were the money to be made available in the wage budget for someone like Dembele, he could well be a gamble worth taking.
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