Sport24.co.za | Reds are winning the transfer race

Sport24.co.za | Reds are winning the transfer race
Sport24.co.za | Reds are winning the transfer race

Cape Town - After 28 years without a league title, Liverpool fans could be forgiven for being wary of declaring, once again, that this will be their year.

However, while they have usually been outspent and outmanoeuvred in the transfer market by Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in recent years, the Reds are winning the battle off the field this time around.

Liverpool's 2018/19 transfer business began as early as a year ago, when they struck a deal to bring midfielder Naby Keïta to Anfield from RB Leipzig at the beginning of this month.

However, they were not finished adding to their midfield arsenal, and after the 2017/18 season ended, they quickly snapped up Fabinho from Monaco.

Jürgen Klopp has hailed the Brazilian's versatility, telling Liverpool's official website: "He has the ability and mentality to play at the highest level in a number of positions. He can play six, eight and two."

However, if Fabinho is to play as an attacking midfielder, he may have to compete with another one of the Reds' recent astute acquisitions, the Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri, who was signed following a prolific Premier League season for Stoke City and a productive World Cup campaign.

At the time of writing, Liverpool had also snapped up midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies on a free transfer from Chelsea and, more notably, Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker for a reported record fee of €75 million (R1.2 billion).

The only one of Liverpool's major rivals who will be anywhere near as happy with their transfer business as the Reds is Arsenal, who have added goalkeeper Bernd Leno, right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and midfielders Lucas Torreira and Mattéo Guendouzi to their ranks.

Unai Emery will be pleased with the fresh talent at his disposal, but he faces the difficult task of turning around the fortunes of a club that had stagnated under Arsène Wenger.

Even the most orchestrated spending spree cannot by any means guarantee immediate success, and with the bulk of Liverpool's squad having already gelled almost to perfection during their run to the 2017/18 Champions League final, Klopp will probably feel he is in a better position to succeed this season than his Gunners counterpart is.

Elsewhere in the league, big-name signings have been made by Everton (Richarlison de Andrade), West Ham United (Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere), Wolverhampton Wanderers (Rui Patrício and João Moutinho), Watford (Gerard Deulofeu), Manchester United (Fred), Manchester City (Riyad Mahrez) and Chelsea (Jorginho).

Wolves and West Ham, in particular, will be raring to go for the new season.

Both clubs are entering new eras, with the former in their first season back in the top flight and the latter having been boosted by the appointment of 2013/14 Premier League-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini.

This season's transfer window will close on August 9 - the Premier League chiefs decided to move its conclusion forward from the end of the month.

So far, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United are the big winners of the off-season market. If anyone is to match them, they will have to act fast.

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