Premier League • England

Roberto Firmino exclusive: Most likely side to sign departing Liverpool star revealed with two factors deciding move

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino arrives ahead of the Premier League match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Saturday October 22, 2022

Departing Liverpool star Roberto Firmino will not be short of offers this summer – and Ben Jacobs has told TEAMtalk the side he feels are most likely to sign the Brazilian.

Firmino will be a man in demand this summer with his time at Anfield drawing to a close. The forward will depart Merseyside after eight seasons, leaving as a bona fide club legend.

Described as the heart and soul of the club by Jurgen Klopp, Firmino has decided to move on in search of regular first-team football.

And he will not be short on offers with clubs all over the globe keen on his signature.

Indeed, reports on Friday indicated a link-up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr could be on the cards.

And while they have been confirmed as a genuine option, Firmino, at this stage, looks likely to turn them down.

There is also interest from MLS too, with Atlanta United and St Louis City both recently linked. He could also move to Turkey with Galatasaray seriously keen, while a return to his homeland is also another possibility.

For the time being at least, Firmino’s agent insists any decision on his future will be put on hold until the summer.

He wants to dedicate his entire focus on Liverpool and ensure they have the best end to the season as possible.

Next up for the Reds is an extremely tough Champions League clash at Real Madrid.

And Klopp may well need Firmino in reserve if they have any hopes of clawing back their 5-2 deficit from the first leg.

READ MORERoberto Firmino agent makes Liverpool exit promise to make Klopp smile as next club are sent warning

One side ruled out of running to sign Liverpool star

Assessing where he will end up next, trusted transfer journalist Ben Jacobs has shared what he knows on his future.

“Whether or not Firmino, at this stage of his career, would seriously consider Saudi Arabia I think remains to be seen,” Jacobs told TEAMtalk. “There’s a desire from Al Nassr to be very ambitious.

“But Firmino doesn’t strike me as the kind that is going to be particularly financially-oriented in his decision making. Galatasaray are another one that love the player. And those links at their end are genuine, although they haven’t yet made their move. That may come over the coming weeks.”

As far as Atlanta United are concerned, Jacobs has ruled them out of the equation.

“And within MLS, Atlanta United have historical interest in Firmino. They’ve always known that, as he hits his early 30s, they might be able to have a window of opportunity.

“However, it’s too late for them now, because they’ve done their business and they’ve brought in a striker ahead of the new MLS season. This is why I stress ‘historical interest’.

“But they’re not the only MLS club that have looked at Firmino as a player that might be a realistic possibility to bring to America. There is a drive from MLS clubs, ahead of the World Cup in America, Mexico and Canada in 2026.

“And because of that World Cup, there’s a lot of backing from external partners that might be able to make these type of deals viable. So we can’t rule out MLS as a destination.”

Atletico Madrid favourites to land Roberto Firmino

However, Jacobs reckons Firmino will snub all those offers to stay at a major European club.

And he reckons that, if he receives assurances over regular action, a move to Atletico Madrid looks the most likely outcome.

Jacobs added: “I also still wouldn’t rule out just a European club with Champions League football that can offer Firmino game time, and that’s why I’m still told that Atletico Madrid are the ones to watch.

“And if you’re Firmino, and you’re given a new territory, a return to Brazil, MLS, or just another big European club or Champions League football, my sense is that, as long as the game time is there, and he’s not going to be a squad player there, then he will choose the latter.

“That type of move, that gives him Champions League football for another season or two, could be very appealing.

“He’s very settled playing in Europe, and in the Champions League. And I don’t think he thinks his career is done at elite level. So I think that’s what’s intriguing about this.

“So even if he could secure a sentimental return to Brazil, or pick up a big wage offer, that’s what he’s thinking [staying at the top level].

“As a result, I think that he’ll have several offers and won’t be short of suitors. He definitely won’t be short of glowing references from Liverpool.

“But as I say, I’m still told that Atleti is one to watch over the coming weeks.”

Finances not an issue

Explaning in more detail, he added: “I think that Firmino won’t be overly concerned about taking the most lucrative offer. He will want the right fit, the right culture, and the right amount of likely game time. Those factors will be a big motivating factor in where he goes next.

“And don’t also be surprised if he takes his time a little bit of time. He doesn’t need to decide right away.

“So I think the focus will also be about making sure Liverpool qualify for the Champions League. And in doing so, he wants that best possible send-off on the football field. He’s not of the mind to overly scramble and worry about knowing who the next club is in March. That can wait for April or May.”

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