Liverpool believe they are poised to sign Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
After having their initial transfer offer of £ 6.5 million ($10.2m) rejected by the Black Cats, Liverpool look poised to make an improved bid for the 24 year old, perhaps as early as this week.
Part of the speculation arises due to club managing director, Ian Ayre, pulling out of a scheduled appearance at a conference on football economic opportunities in Rio de Janeiro this past weekend. Instead, Ayre opted to remain in Europe and pursue discussions with Sunderland.
While Mignolet has avoided commenting on the matter of a transfer, he has indicated a reluctance to sign a new deal at Wearside, giving Liverpool hope.
Sunderland, to their credit, see the writing on the wall. Instead of pulling a Dortmund and refusing to sell the wantaway player before his contract runs, the Black Cats are merely holding out for reasonable value, which they believe is £10 million ($15.7m).
Here are a few somewhat conflicting but ultimately complimentary thoughts about Liverpool and Mignolet —
First, if Liverpool are truly done with Pepe Reina and Mignolet is the man they want in net, then fine. Sign him. £10 million ($15.7m)? That’s a steal.
Do I believe there are more talented keepers for ‘the Pool to purchase? Absolutely. Within the Premier League, I rate both Stoke’s Asmir Begovic and Swansea’s Michel Vorm above Mignolet.
Why? Both are better shot-stoppers which, for me, is the most important attribute in goalkeeping.
I also love Begovic because he’s an athletic behemoth (6’5″ with shoulders like a cargo plane) who sounds like he could be an Ivy League professor. Seriously. Ask the Bosnian international any question and he’ll not only respond thoughtfully, but in perfect, articulate English.
My love for Vorm is largely because I believe he has the fastest reactions of any keeper in the world. Simply enough, no one gets corner-to-corner quicker than Vorm.
But don’t take these as knocks on Mignolet – I rate him higher than Reina and believe he could be fantastic at Anfield. I admire the Belgian because he has ice in his veins under any situation and he single-handedly saved Sunderland from relegation this season, conceding an astounding 54 goals in 38 matches.
It’s for these reasons that Sunderland should demand at least £12 million ($18.8m) for Mignolet’s services, and not a dime less.