Liverpool: January Transfer Rumors
Winter is upon us all but for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers, what they will be looking out for is the January transfer window. This month, the Reds boss faces a daunting task, with clubs like Real Madrid keeping a close eye on the massive pool of talent at Anfield.
Firstly, Rodgers is not expected to do any major transfer business this month - but he has been sending scouts to watch emerging West Ham talent Ryan Joseph
. The highly-rated 16-year-old hails from the Hammers' youth academy, plays at right-back, and is an important player for the Under-18s team.
Joseph also made his senior team debut, ironically, against Liverpool, breaking a West Ham club record as the youngest player to appear for them in a Premier League game, and made a huge impression on Rodgers.
The Northern Irish manager is also looking to boost his side's limited options in defensive midfield, and could look to launch an audacious bid for Xabi Alonso
Arriving at Liverpool in 2004, Alonso played 143 Premier League games before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009, and is adored by the Kop.
Although currently regarded as an important member of the Bayern Munich team, the 35-year-old is also understood to be unhappy at the Allianz Arena and has apparently fallen out with manager Pep Guardiola.
Bayern will not block a move and Guardiola will allow Alonso to leave, but his wage demands could prove a stumbling block for Liverpool. The Spaniard earns about £190k per week at Bayern.
Xabi Alonso's wage demands could prove a stumbling block for Liverpool
's placing in the FIFA Ballon d'Or has perhaps added to his popularity among Europe's top clubs, with Real Madrid leading the chase for the Liverpool forward.
Aside from Real, Borussia Dortmund are interested in taking the officially third best player in the world to the Bundesliga, while Tottenham want the Italian to stay in the Premier League and switch sides to play at White Hart Lane, though the last option is probably the most unlikely one.
Balotelli is understood to be most keen on a move to Real Madrid, but is willing to wait until the summer before making a decision.
If he does decide to leave, Liverpool will not be held to ransom as Balotelli's £135k a week contract does not end until 2020.
Mario Balotelli is one of Real Madrid's January transfer targets
Bayern Munich's interest in midfielder Lucas Romero
has persisted since the summer, but his amount of suitors has only increased this month, with Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain among them.
The Argentina international has performed well for Liverpool this season and Rodgers is determined to keep him in England, but Romero could be tempted to leave after just two and a half seasons at Anfield to seek further glory in France.
If that happens, Liverpool will demand at least £45-50 million for his services.
Despite signing a new contract in the summer, Raheem Sterling
is being pursued by both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Since establishing himself as a key player, Sterling has never looked back and has played a major part in the Merseyside club's recent title wins.
But Barca and Real want to tempt the winger to pack his bags for Spain and La Liga, where he will be joined by similar talent like former teammate Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale.
Barcelona and Real Madrid want to add Raheem Sterling to their squad
Real seem bent on poaching as many Liverpool players as they can, with Serbian winger Lazar Markovic
also on their list.
The Serb, who has made 80 league appearances since Rodgers brought him in three years ago, has been an extremely consistent presence in the Liverpool side, and despite not standing out like Sterling, Sturridge and Balotelli, is undoubtedly one of the team's most important men.
Markovic, who is also wanted by Dortmund, could exit but Liverpool would request a fee much, much higher than the £20 million they paid for him in 2014.
Lazar Markovic is the third Liverpool player wanted by Real Madrid this month
Back to Ligue 1, there are rumors circulating that Monaco want to persuade former PSG captain Mamadou Sakho
to return to his native France and play for them.
But a transfer is unlikely to go through as Sakho has made clear to his agent that he does not want to leave Liverpool.
With an upcoming Champions League First Round tie against Inter Milan in February, Rodgers does not intend to weaken his playing squad, and it remains to be seen if any of this speculation will come true.