It’s getting clearer and clearer that Nuri Sahin won’t be continuing his illustrious career at Anfield, so Liverpool are out looking for another midfielder to fill his place in the rotation and depth charts. Another name that has come up recently is that of Josip Iličić from Palermo.
Iličić, a 24 year old Slovenian, fits the bill and the mold the Liverpool ownership are looking for more than Wesley Sneijder. They want young and not too expensive. While Sneijder’s transfer fee shouldn’t be too high, reports of the wages he might demand could derail the negotiations and plans to bring him over. Iličić is a different matter. Iličić will probably get a raise if he does come to Liverpool, but he makes €500,000 a season for Palermo, so it’s not like he’s used to something too outrageous.
There shouldn’t be a question about Iličić looking for an exit. Palermo have fallen from being nearly a Champions League team in recent seasons, usually finishing fifth or sixth, into the relegation zone this season. They’ve won only 15 points from the first 18 matches, while Maurizio Zamparini is exchanging managers like most of us would be doing with old socks.
Iličić has been one of the players relatively on form, ranking second behind Miccoli in the scoring charts, so far with four goals in the Serie A. Palermo’s attack has been woeful, with only 15 goals through the first 18 matches. Iličić, an attacking midfielder, does shoulder some of the blame, but a lot has to do with the unrest at the club which hasn’t really helped players’ confidence.
Iličić’s best season so far was his first in Italy. Palermo signed him for only €2.3 million in 2010, and he enjoyed a successful debut season in the Serie A playing alongside Javier Pastore, scoring 8 goals and adding 7 assists. Without Pastore, Palermo finished barely above the relegation zone, a trend that has continued to this season.
If Liverpool do make a move for Iličić, it’ll probably be costing them anywhere between £7-12 million. With Daniel Sturridge on his way, already costing £12 million, if that deal does come through, it’ll be interesting to see how much Liverpool’s newly cautious ownership is willing to spend.