Exclusive Neil Jones column: Gravenberch and Andre transfer latest, Liverpool’s Salah stance, and more

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Liverpool could be sleepwalking towards HUGE mistake in the transfer market

My personal opinion is that if Liverpool do not make at least one more signing before the end of the window, then it would be a huge mistake on the club’s part. But with just a few days remaining, that possibility is certainly growing.

The word from within the club is that they are very much ‘open to opportunities’, which means if the right player is available at the right price, they will make a move. But as we’ve seen previously, Liverpool’s definition of ‘the right player’, or more specifically ‘the right price’, can be pretty narrow!

There are lots of stories surrounding Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich, and were he to become available late in the window (there is a good chance) then I think Liverpool would certainly be in the mix. They like his profile, his potential and his ability to play multiple positions across the midfield. If the price was right, it would make a lot of sense.

There’s also Andre of Fluminense, and I’d not be surprised if we saw a deal for him lined up, maybe for January, once the South American season is done and dusted. Whether they would sign him AND another midfield player, though, I’m not as sure.

Personally, I believe a defender is a necessity for Liverpool in this window, but that looks less and less likely at the moment. It looks like they are going to go with what they have, but things can change quickly. A lot of fans will hope that is the case!

Potential exits and loans to watch out for

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool

There will be some departures at Anfield before the window closes, but the aim for Jurgen Klopp is to keep his main squad together. The club have insisted that they will resist any offers for Mohamed Salah – none have arrived yet – and have played down talk of exits for Joe Gomez and Thiago Alcantara.

Nat Phillips is one who will be allowed to leave, and the Bundesliga is a serious option for him. At 26, he needs a move and I expect him to get one this week, finally.

In terms of loans, Tyler Morton is wanted by Hull City, Luke Chambers has interest from a number of clubs and a decision will be made on young talent Bobby Clark, who will get a new contract and could then move to the Championship.

A few other U21 players could also get fixed up with temporary moves, though I expect both Ben Doak and Jarell Quansah, who have featured in the Premier League this season, to stay.

Liverpool’s summer has been underwhelming, but no one has had a great window

If nothing else was to happen in terms of incomings, I’d say it’s been a pretty underwhelming window for Liverpool. Sure, they have bought well in Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, and added a bit of experience in Wataru Endo, but this was a window in which we expected the club to show serious ambition and really respond to the disappointments of last season.

Instead, we find them in a familiar position; with a good team but weaknesses that haven’t been addressed. They are still at the mercy of injuries to key players – Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk – still have too many players with question marks around their age, form or fitness – Matip, Gomez, Thiago, Curtis Jones, Stefan Bajcetic – and the general feeling is that, once again, they have talked a better game than they have played in the market.

In terms of the rest of the top six, I don’t think anyone has had what I would call a brilliant window.

Manchester City, naturally, remain strong, and Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic are fine players, but the loss of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez will be felt this season, and Kevin De Bruyne’s injury hurts them.

Manchester United have gambled big on Rasmus Hojlund, and we’ll see whether that pays off. Chelsea have spent big and bought a lot of talent, but it may take time before that bears fruit, if ever. Arsenal got a lot of praise for their business, but Jurrien Timber is injured, the jury is still out on Kai Havertz and Declan Rice alone won’t turn a team into winners. I still have my doubts about the Gunners.

Tottenham look to have got the right manager in Ange Postecoglou, and have added quality in Micky van de Ven and James Maddison in particular, but losing Harry Kane will hurt them badly as the season goes on. It might look OK now, but as summer turns to autumn, injuries mount and things get tight, Spurs will miss Kane’s ability to win matches on his own. Richarlison is no replacement.

Finally Newcastle. They’ve added a few good players in Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes, Lewis Hall and Tino Livramento, but are they covered in the event of a big injury to, say, Sven Botman, or to Bruno Guimaraes? They’re getting better and better, but they’ll have a job on their hands to get top four, especially once the Champions League kicks in.

Overall, I’m looking at City as the winners in this market, although Chelsea’s business is the most interesting for me.

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