There was a time when Liverpool had several players on their books wanted by teams in the Premier League and Championship. Just last summer, Neco Williams moved to Nottingham Forest for £20 million. Sadio Mane left generating £35m just under 12 months ago. There was also Takumi Minamino, who brought in £15.5m.
Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent left Anfield just a few seasons before, joining Fulham and Rangers, respectively, for a combined £19.5m. The funds made it possible to focus money elsewhere.
Cast your mind back to 2020 when Sheffield United paid £23.5m for Rhian Brewster. It was a great sale by Liverpool, although Sheffield United and Brewster haven’t had a good time.
The last few seasons also saw teams interested in Nat Phillips. But the big central defender never left on anything more than a loan, as there was always a feeling he might be needed if an injury-hit one of Jurgen Klopp’s four centre-backs.
Liverpool need a squad rebuild this offseason. The midfield is the focus with three players (James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) leaving after the expiration of their contracts. The defence is also in need of some work. A new centre-back and right-back would be ideal, although Conor Bradley will be given a chance in preseason to show he can be Trent Alexander-Arnold’s backup.
Without Champions League football, money may be tight this summer, forcing Liverpool to sell to raise funds for new players.
Back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is Liverpool’s only saleable asset this summer. Of course, Kelleher is the only saleable asset of the players the club can afford to part with. The goalkeeper made just three appearances during the season (although he could play on the final day against Southampton) and there is a desire from Kelleher to play first-team football.
This summer should see several goalkeepers move clubs in the Premier League. Hugo Lloris, David Raya, and Emiliano Martinez are all expected to move clubs. Manchester United’s David De Gea could also be on the move after several high-profile gaffes this season.
Although Kelleher hasn’t played often for Liverpool, there are plenty of clubs interested in him. No formal offers have been made according to reports. But the transfer window doesn’t open for a few more weeks, giving teams time to assess their options.
There is hope among Liverpool’s hierarchy that Kelleher will remain at the club. He is the heir apparent to Alisson Becker. But Alisson is not slowing down having recently recorded his 100th clean sheet. Kelleher is 24 years old and ready to move on to regular football. He can’t be blamed for not waiting for Alisson to step aside.
The Irishman’s lack of playing time has prevented his transfer value from increasing this season. He is valued at around £7m by Transfermarkt. Liverpool could get around £15m to £20m for him, but that will depend on the demand for Kelleher’s services.
The club does not want him to leave this summer and a high transfer price could turn off teams. Kelleher’s contract runs until 2026, and the Reds are in no hurry to sell. If the goalkeeper stays, he could be able to take over the No 1 shirt in a few seasons. The unpredictable nature of football means Alisson may not be around Anfield in three years. Yet, Alisson could still be a Liverpool player.
Kelleher has played just 20 times for Liverpool, keeping 10 clean sheets. The Irishman kept clean sheets in 50% of his appearances, a remarkable feat for a player with so few opportunities. Kelleher is a Republic of Ireland international and has appeared 10 times for the national team. He most recently played a full 90 minutes in March against Latvia, as the Republic won 3-2.
Liverpool would need to sign a new back-up goalkeeper if Kelleher leaves. Reports indicate the club will offer Adrian a new contract, whose current deal expires this summer, to remain with the club for at least another season. Academy goalkeeper Harvey Davies could have a bright future, but the highly-rated 19-year-old is still raw and inexperienced.
Kelleher’s sale may be forced upon the club. Funds could be needed to add quality outfield players. Liverpool could keep him around just as they have Phillip, but allowing him to leave may be the best for both parties. Kelleher has earned regular first-team football, whether it is at Anfield or elsewhere.
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