Erling Haaland may be taking in a long goodbye at Borussia Dortmund, and Glen Johnson believes Liverpool can “definitely” compete with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for the superstar striker.
The prolific Norway international's stock has soared during a goal-laden spell in the Bundesliga, scoring 76 goals in two years, and it is considered to be only a matter of time before he bids farewell to BVB.
Various landing spots are being mooted for the 21-year-old, with suggestions Liverpool may look to join the hunt and Jurgen Klopp is being encouraged to enter into transfer talks with his former club.
Are Liverpool in the mix for Haaland?
Quizzed on whether Liverpool can compete with big-spending Madrid, Man City and PSG for the most-coveted of signatures, former Reds defender Johnson – speaking in association with BoyleSports – told GOAL: “In terms of the stature of the club, definitely, but they do business totally differently.
"We all know that Liverpool sign players with an awful lot of stats involved and they have certain salaries that they will and won’t pay, whereas Real Madrid and PSG will pretty much do whatever they want.
“Of course it is going to be hard to compete on that level, but the top players have got their heads screwed on and hopefully they don’t just follow the big contracts.
"Wherever they go, they are going to be very well paid so they have to be patient and pick the right club, rather than being attracted by big numbers.”
Who else could Liverpool look at?
Klopp is not expected to be busy during the January window, but further funds may be invested during the summer.
Liverpool found value when landing Virgil van Dijk and Alisson in previous windows, so who could they turn to next?
Johnson said: “I like Raphinha. I think it’s a realistic signing as well. Everyone talks about the Mbappes, but those deals aren’t easy to get over the line. I think someone like Raphinha could easily work.
"Obviously the big one is Haaland. Everyone knows that if Liverpool’s front three don’t score, they usually struggle. They definitely need some more firepower up there. The kid looks special as well.”
If a raid on Dortmund is lined up for Haaland, Liverpool could ask questions of his club colleague Jude Bellingham.
Johnson added, with the Reds being linked with the 18-year-old England international midfielder: “If you got a chance to sign him, then you have got to do it.
“I don’t think there is any one position at Liverpool that is a major weakness, but these top players don’t come around often and doors to sign them might only open once.
“I’m a big fan of Jude Bellingham. Do they need him right now? Probably not. Would he be an unbelievable player for them in the next eight years? Definitely.”
Is Raphinha the most realistic addition?
Liverpool may end up finding the funds for Haaland and/or Bellingham, but a raid on domestic rivals Leeds for Raphinha could prove easier to pull off as the Brazilian winger is already in English football.
Pressed on whether the South American would also be happier filling a squad role on Merseyside, Johnson said: “I think [Haaland and Bellingham] would be open to it because they are joining a mega club to win mega trophies and they are super young.
"I don’t think they would be banging the door down to say ‘I’m starting every single week’. They are used to playing every week and know they will bring some special stuff, but sometimes you have to be patient.
“With Raphinha, he would be going to a top club, playing with world-class players, and it would be a step up for him.”
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