Behind every great man is a great woman, and in football you will usually find a great goalkeeper behind every successful defence. With this in mind, it seems as though the latest mishaps from Simon Mignolet and Adam Bogdan has all but convinced Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to dip into the January transfer window and find a new man to play between the posts.
The latest name to be linked is Olympique de Marseille shot-stopper Steve Mandanda. France’s No.2 is apparently looking for a new challenge, and when asked if he would be returning to the Ligue 1 side after the winter break he hinted towards interest from an English club.
This is the ninth season Mandanda has spent at the Stade Velodrome, and with the 2016 European Championships around the corner, the 30-year-old will see this as his last chance to challenge Spurs’ Hugo Lloris for France’s No. 1 shirt.
In January, Mandanda can speak to other clubs, with his contract up in the summer, meaning that Marseille will likely accept deals for around €4 million so they don’t lose him for nothing at the end of the season.
A veteran of over 300 Ligue 1 appearances, it would be harsh to say that his best days are behind him, but neither is he in the same league as Thibault Courtois or Manuel Neuer. However, on his day, he has the ability to make some tremendous acrobatic saves.
Now the wrong side of 30, he would love show he still has the ability, like he did in 2013, by keeping seven straight clean sheets in the league. His recent performance against Saint-Etienne at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard showed he isn’t far off that level.
French goalkeepers are all the rage in England at the moment, with Aston Villa’s Remi Garde also keen on bringing Mandanda to the Premier League.
With his side four points adrift at the bottom of the table, it is thought that a goalkeeper is one of Garde’s priorities this winter. If he can’t convince the Marseille ‘keeper to join his relegation battle, there are other Ligue 1 options he could pursue.
Similar to Mandanda, Saint-Etienne’s Stephane Ruffier has also made it known that he is looking for a new adventure this season. An ever-present since he joined Les Verts back in 2011, it will be weird to imagine the France international not standing between the posts at Le Chaudron.
The 29-year-old is in the more precarious position as France’s No. 3 goalkeeper, with Benoit Costil, Alphonse Areola, Paul Nardi and others pushing for a shock call-up in Didier Deschamps' squad. This could be a bad time for the former Monaco man to move, but showcasing his ability in the Premier League could cement his place, rather than see him lose it.
Nine times out of 10, Ruffier is dependable and commanding, but then after doing something amazing he’ll mess up a routine catch or a chance that looks saveable. It doesn’t happen often, but enough that it sticks in your head.
Ruffier’s contract isn’t up until 2018, so the transfer fee could be an issue for someone of his age, but don’t expect Saint-Etienne to stand in his way.
That can’t quite be said for the situation that Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu finds himself in this winter. Signed from Palermo at the start of the QSI revolution, the Italian was demoted this summer as the Parisians brought in Kevin Trapp from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Ever since he arrived, Sirigu has rarely let his club down, however, it seems his relationship with Laurent Blanc has all be disintegrated, and regardless of the mistakes that Trapp has made, there is no way Sirigu will be handed the No. 1 jersey.
A move back to Serie A seems the most obvious destination this winter, but PSG’s €10m asking prince could put the likes of AC Milan off of a move. That would open the door for English clubs to move in.
That sort of fee won’t be a problem to most, the only problem would be finding a project that suits the Italian. Relegation battles with Aston Villa and Newcastle United will be a tough sell, so step forward Klopp.
If Liverpool have eyes on the Champions League places, Sirigu is a better option than Mandanda at this stage of both their careers. The Italian has his sights set on Gigi Buffon’s shirt for the Euros. Only a high profile move and the promise of first-team football would give him a chance.
Mandanda would be a good move for the Reds, and an improvement on what they currently have, but Sirigu has the ability to win over the Kop and turn Liverpool into contenders.