If recent reports are to be believed, Liverpool are involved in a battle with Arsenal to acquire the signature of Anderlecht's Cheikhou Kouyate. However, there's no reason why Brendan Rodgers would engage in a bidding war over a player he simply doesn't need.
According to Metro, Kouyate's agent stated to Turkish-Football.com that he is currently in talks with the Reds and Gunners, with an agreement seemingly close to completion:
I have been in talks with representatives from Liverpool and Arsenal over Cheikhou Kouyate. Arsenal are very interested in Kouyate. It’s very likely that he’ll be joining a Premier League club soon.
Kouyate is a talented centre-back. That's not in question. What is questionable is the merit of this rumour when Liverpool currently have a wealth of options at that position—to the extent that perennial favourite Daniel Agger is being linked with a move away from Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers has already stated that he will not be drawn into spending money for the sake of making a January purchase. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo (h/t to the Daily Mirror), he outlined his plans:
There is greater demand on the types of players that we want to bring in. They have to be available first and foremost.
If the right player is available not just for now but for the future we will look to do that. If not, we may have to go with what we've got for the rest of this season and reassess in the summer.
That doesn't sound like a manager who is looking to add another centre-back to his squad. Kouyate does offer some versatility; he can play both at right-back and in midfield.
It would be sensible for Liverpool to add some midfield talent, but bringing in a centre-back to play as a right-back or defensive midfielder doesn't sound like "the right player" that Rodgers mentioned in the above quote.
A hybrid player is often a member of the squad who provides depth and solidarity, but no obvious trait that would enable them to jump to the first team on merit.
While Kouyate is much more of a defender than a midfielder, the question remains: would he oust any of the team from their position to slot immediately into the squad?
When the deal is looked at in that manner, the answer has to be "no." battling Arsenal for a player unlikely to see the field—for either team—without the intervention of injury seems pointless.
Players like Mohamed Salah and Yann M'Vila have been linked with a January move to Merseyside—although the Salah move is reported to be disintegrating—and they are the sort of players the manager will be looking at.
Liverpool have a good record in the January window recently, having brought in Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho last year, so Rodgers will be keen to maintain that run.
Kouyate just isn't the answer right now.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!