BOSTON, MA - JULY 25: Joe Cole #10 of Liverpool reacts after hitting the crossbar with a shot against AS Roma during a pre-season tour friendly match on July 25, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Transfer deadline day is three days away, and with the various in the knows not having yet fully recovered from their Assaidi-related embarrassment it's been oddly quiet when it comes to Liverpool. Still, with the hours ticking down the whispering has at least begun. And most of that whispering so far involves the potential for a series departures if Brendan Rodgers gets his way…
"That is above me, that deal. It's a financial deal that will be done at board level—if Liverpool and us can agree. If you are asking me on a playing level would I like him in the squad, then of course it would be a nice dimension for us."
Topping the list of potential departures is Andy Carroll. It's been no secret that Liverpool have looked to offload the big striker this summer, and also no secret that previously Sam Allardyce and West Ham had agreed a deal in principle to take him to London only for Carroll to scupper that move with demands of Newcastle or nothing. Now, after earlier toying with the idea of re-acquiring their academy graduate, Newcastle have come in for Carroll with a firm offer while manager Alan Pardew has openly talked of his desire to see the player join his squad. However, knowing that Liverpool is desperate to sell and that Carroll is only willing to move if it means going back home, Newcastle's offer is believed to only be in the neighbourhood of £12M.
Liverpool were willing to compromise on their valuation—believed to be somewhere north of £20M—when West Ham made their intentions clear, but allowing Carroll to go for less than half of what they paid for him in January of 2011 seems in another universe entirely. Unlike in West Ham's case of a loan that included a mandatory purchase clause, however, the Newcastle offer would be a cash up front affair with no risk of losing out on a payday next summer should his new club find itself relegated. And if Carroll really isn't in Rodgers plans—no matter that he has occasionally said encouraging things about him only for those things to be shortly followed by new rumours linking the player away from Anfield—there's an argument to be made for Liverpool getting what they can and moving on, even if it looks bad on the books and in the back pages.
Regardless, there does appear to be an interest in getting a deal done on both sides, which means that the only real question is whether a middle ground acceptable to both clubs can be found before the window closes on Friday—or in enough time for Brendan Rodgers to bring in another player to replace Carroll with before the window closes on Friday.
It isn't just Carroll whose departure appears increasingly likely, as West Ham are believed to have offered Liverpool £2M for the services of Joe Cole. With the arrival of Oussama Assaidi and a series of impressive performances by Raheem Sterling on one hand and Cole's continuing injury struggles on the other along with growing doubts he would even make the bench regularly if he remained at Liverpool, this seems like it should be an easy decision for the club. The real question may be whether Cole is willing to take a pay cut to secure a return to London and the prospect of playing time with the club he started his career at.
Meanwhile, Jay Spearing to Bolton remains a likely possibility and the Charlie Adam to Everton rumours that have lurked in the background for much of the past month are a thing that continue to exist, but whereas in the cases of Cole and Carroll there appears to be legitimate movement—or at least new twists to the rumours from vaguely reliable outlets and sources—when it comes to Spearing and Adam it's mostly the same whispers that have been there for weeks now. There's also an expectation that Dani Pacheco will be offloaded to any side that shows the slightest interest in taking on his wages, with most expecting him to end up with a club in the Liga Adelante or down the La Liga pecking order before Friday is over.
When it comes to incomings, then, the pickings are more than a little slim, and mostly they revolve around the nonsensical revival of a rumour that had gone quiet for much of the past month, with suggestions that Liverpool are after Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge once again gaining momentum. On the surface it might make a kind of sense, as no matter one's opinion of Sturridge as a player, it's clear that Liverpool could use more depth in attack, and if Carroll does secure a return to Newcastle the need to bring in another striker will become even more urgent.
However, even if Liverpool were interested in Sturridge, one would have to wonder what would motivate Chelsea to sell him when he provides them with their only senior option at striker behind Fernando Torres. Chelsea are hardly a club that has to sell to buy, and with the window running down and it looking increasingly likely that the Blues won't increase their options up front before it ends, it's difficult to understand why they would want to sell Sturridge even if Liverpool were willing to pay the £12-15M he is reportedly valued at.
In the end it's almost certain that the Daniel Sturridge transfer rumour revival is little more than lazy journalists and desperate rumour mongers going back to the well and running with a name they ran with before—just as was the case with Theo Walcott earlier in the month, and just as has been the case with countless rumoured Liverpool targets in the past from David Silva to Arda Turan to David Villa. As Liverpool showed with the Assaidi transfer, they are now more than capable of keeping any dealings quiet on their end. With that in mind, and with a departure for Sturridge making little sense from Chelsea's end, there's little reason to think such rumours are true and few places it would make sense for them to be coming from if they had any basis in reality.
Brendan Rodgers, though, has certainly said that he hopes to make a few more signings yet. At this point, though, he does in all likelihood need to sell in order to do that, and there do appear to be a few leading candidates to be sold. Who might arrive in their place if those outgoing deals can be done is, at this point, a complete mystery.