James Milner is reportedly set to leave Liverpool on a free transfer this summer, exposing the magnitude of the Reds’ problem
Liverpool was always going to have a busy summer transfer window, but this latest development has made it even more difficult.
On Thursday, it was revealed that James Milner will leave the club as a free agent in the summer. According to the Liverpool ECHO, the 37-year-old is on the verge of joining Premier League rivals Brighton.
Milner has been with Liverpool for the last eight years, and his departure, if completed, will be a significant loss to the club, Jürgen Klopp, and the players. But he will not be the only one heading for the exit.
Roberto Firmino has already confirmed that he will leave the club when his contract expires this summer. He joined Liverpool in the same summer as Milner in 2015, and he will be a huge loss to the Reds and Klopp.
As things stand, Liverpool has three other players who are out of contract this summer. Naby Keta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Adrián are their names.
Following his loan spell with the Reds, Arthur Melo is almost certain to leave Liverpool this summer and return to Juventus. While he has only made one appearance and played 13 minutes since joining the club last summer, he is one less option for Klopp to choose from next season.
That’s six players who look increasingly likely to leave the club for nothing in a single summer. Whatever perspective you take, questions about Liverpool’s future plans must be raised.
You can’t fully assess the club until the summer transfer window has closed and Liverpool’s business has been completed. That won’t be the case for another three months.
Liverpool may lose six players for nothing, but if all of them are replaced in some way in the transfer market, there will be few complaints. Even so, not many defenses will believe that allowing six players to leave in one window for nothing is the best business practice.
It should be noted that Liverpool is not new to allowing players to run down their contracts and leave for free. Emre Can was the first major player to do so in 2018, and he was followed a year later by Alberto Moreno, and then by Adam Lallana in 2020.
But that’s not all. Gini Wijnaldum left for nothing in the summer of 2021, and Divock Origi was released just last year.
Given all of this, it’s not surprising that Liverpool is willing to let players leave on a free transfer when their contracts expire. What’s remarkable about this summer is that six players are almost entirely involved in the first-team squad.
Do all six players appear each week? No, but that is beside the point.
Klopp will require a large squad for next season, as the current group of players is arguably smaller than it should be, especially given the number of injuries sustained over the years. So, if you’re automatically losing six players without bringing any money in, the club is already on the back foot.
It is now too late to reconsider keeping some of the players who are out of contract this summer. What matters most for Liverpool is having a plan for rebuilding the squad in the future.
This will necessitate a significant overhaul of the playing squad, with several new arrivals required. However, rather than signing individuals for the sake of it, it is also important to bring in quality players who are capable of performing the way Klopp expects them to.