Liverpool’s midfield rebuild has taken them in many directions this summer.
The early arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, for a combined £95m, gave the impression of a Liverpool recruitment team with a plan and in control, before the unexpected departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho saw things unravel.
The focus shifted on to a desperate search for a new defensive midfielder and big-money moves for Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo fell apart very publicly, with both ultimately opting for Chelsea.
Instead, the Reds have ended up with Wataru Endo. The 30-year-old, £16m arrival from Stuttgart is far from a characteristic Liverpool signing under FSG and Jurgen Klopp and, while it could yet prove shrewd business, the way the transfer came about suggests a flailing, disjointed strategy.
READ MORE: What can Wataru Endo bring to Liverpool?
There could well be more arrivals before deadline day next week, with a fourth midfield arrival and a defender still on the agenda.
Meanwhile, the Athletic reports that as well as Caicedo and Lavia there was a third name identified when looking for a Fabinho replacement: Boubacar Kamara.
It is claimed that the Reds’ data department came up with the three names, including the Aston Villa star, as a possible solution to the hole left in the midfield after Fabinho’s departure.
While Liverpool’s pursuits for Lavia and Caicedo were heavily publicised, and there have been links to the likes of Ryan Gravenberch, Andre Trindade and Cheick Doucoure since, there has been little to nothing about serious interest in Kamara. How come?
Why haven’t Liverpool bid for Kamara?
One obvious reason is likely that Villa do not want to sell.
The 23-year-old France international was only signed by his current club a year ago, in a €25m move from Marseille, and has impressed in Unai Emery’s midfield.
While FootballTransfers puts his xTV (expected transfer value) between €30.2m – €50.4m, the reality is that it would surely take a lot more than that to bring Villa to the negotiating table.
Having seen the likes of Caicedo, Lavia and Rice go for big money this summer, selling clubs are putting a premium on defensive midfielders, while Kamara is under contract until 2027.
With rumours suggesting Fulham and Crystal Palace want up to £80m for Joao Palhinha and Doucoure respectively, it’s not hard to imagine Villa would ask for an even greater amount considering Kamara’s age, potential and international credentials.
Villa, unlike some other Premier League sides, are not a club who need to sell, solidifying their position.
Though Liverpool’s failed £100m+ bid for Caicedo shows the money is there for the right player, recent reports claim the focus is no longer on securing a specialist ‘number six’ having landed Endo in the position.
READ MORE: Who could Liverpool still sign before deadline day?
The Japan international and Stefan Bajcetic are expected to compete for the deep-lying midfield berth, while any further midfield signings must be ‘multi-functional’ – potentially turning the focus to the likes of Gravenberch and Andre and away from Kamara.
With such little time left in the window, it would take a monumental shift for Liverpool to land Kamara, with other targets surely prioritised over the Villa midfielder, in spite of how much the data team have appreciated his talent.