Premier League • England

Slot told to axe 2023 Liverpool signing in massive show of strength; ‘world class’ star also at risk

Arne Slot, Liverpool

Arne Slot will help reshape the Liverpool squad this summer

A former Liverpool striker has urged Arne Slot to consider the brutal exits of Cody Gakpo and one of his Anfield team-mates, in what would be a huge signal of intent from the Dutchman.

After guiding Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title and one Dutch Cup, Slot has boldly decided to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. Rather than being the club’s outright manager, though, he will become their new head coach and work under the likes of Michael Edwards and Richard Hughes.

As often happens when a new manager comes in, Liverpool have been backed to land several top players to improve Slot’s squad.

Possible signings include Benfica midfielder Joao Neves, who is also being targeted by Manchester United, Stuttgart defender Waldemar Anton and Slot’s former Feyenoord right-back Lutsharel Geertruida.

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In terms of departures, Thiago and Joel Matip will soon leave on free transfers, and they could be followed out of the club by backup goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

But Stan Collymore, who scored 35 goals in 81 games during a two-year spell at Liverpool, thinks Slot should also put Gakpo on the market in a savage move.

As Gakpo only arrived at the club in January 2023, his sale would demonstrate that Slot is only looking for top-class players to lead the Liverpool attack.

Collymore also discussed the potential exit of Barcelona-linked winger Luis Diaz, who can be ‘world class’ at times but also suffers from unreliable form.

Liverpool latest: Cody Gakpo and team-mate under threat

‘I think Luis Diaz is obviously a talented player but Liverpool are not particularly short in attacking positions. If you look at [Mo] Salah, Gakpo, [Diogo] Jota, [Darwin] Nunez and Diaz… they can afford to lose one, and if the choice was mine, it would be Cody Gakpo,’ the pundit wrote in a recent column.

‘There is the argument that he gives Liverpool flexibility and can play as a number nine, and there haven’t been lots of rumours about him going which would suggest that he’s staying put for a season or two.

‘Diaz is an odd one because of his injuries, the situation with his father’s kidnap which was obviously very traumatic during the season… at times he looks world class but at others he struggles to get a foothold in the game.

‘It really does depend on whether Barcelona are prepared to pay £50-60million for him, in which case I’ll drive him to Barcelona. If it wasn’t a derisory offer and they offered a player in return as well, for the new manager it might simply depend on what kind of player that they’re offering.

In the pecking order of strikers at the club, you’re looking at Salah then Nunez, then Jota, then Diaz and finally Gakpo, so the Colombian is in the bottom two. Man for man, I don’t think you’ll find any Liverpool fan will put Diaz in between Salah and Nunez, for example in terms of importance to the club.

‘So I have no problem with him going because he’s been okay, but I don’t think he’s been stunning. At Liverpool, if you’re going to win titles, you’ve got to be stunning. You’ve got to hit your marks, you got to hit your stats.

‘If Barcelona come along with a good offer and it allows Arne Slot to have the kind of funds to be able to bring in a player that he likes in a position that he wants, it makes sense for me.’

Should either Gakpo or Diaz leave, then Liverpool could alter their attacking options by moving for PSV ace Johan Bakayoko or Leeds United winger Crysencio Summerville.

READ MORE: Five Liverpool players facing potential Anfield axe when Arne Slot moves to Merseyside