Liverpool’s world-record signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson has set up Simon Mignolet for a “decisive” week, the player’s agent has said, amid links to La Liga champions Barcelona.
Mignolet, 30, is looking for a move away from Liverpool in this transfer window after the club signed Alisson from Roma for £65 million earlier this week.
Barcelona are one surprise name to be linked with the Mignolet, although his agent appears to have played down such notions by saying his client is seeking a greater chance of playing time.
He told Belgian news outlet Walfoot: “Our goal is to find a solution for Simon to play and Alisson’s arrival doesn’t change that.
“We know that a player of €60-70 million won’t find himself on the bench. We are looking at the situation and looking for a solution to his playing time.
“There are options, the next few days will be decisive.”
The fee Liverpool paid to Roma for Alisson set a new world record for the transfer of a goalkeeper and, with Mignolet missing a large part of last season after being dropped in favour Loris Karius, pushes the Belgian even further down the Anfield pecking order.
And with Barcelona braced for the departure of their own backup goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, the Catalan club reportedly see Mignolet, who has made 200 appearances for Liverpool, as a potential replacement.
Mignolet’s agent has said that the player was seeking to leave Merseyside this summer anyway and that Alisson’s arrival will only speed the process up.
Alisson completed six out of six take-ons in the league last season; the most by a goalkeeper in Europe's top five leagues with a 100% success rate.
Comfortable with the ball at his feet. 🕺 pic.twitter.com/NyzhxCWRlw
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 22, 2018
Simon Mignolet to Barcelona? La Liga giants have done stranger transfer deals
The Barcelona links may seem peculiar. Mignolet is not the most fashionable player at time of writing.
Mignolet to Barca is the weirdest thing I’ve heard all transfer window😳
— SS (@SerialSalah) July 21, 2018
— Football News (@skysportsnews89) July 22, 2018
Mignolet going to Barca is the most absurd rumour of 2018
— Mustafa (@MustafaUnlucan) July 22, 2018
Philippe Coutinho apparently wants his good friend and former teammate Simon Mignolet to join him at Barcelona.
Ffs Barca need to stop signing our best players its getting ridiculous
— Firminion (@SG8_TheKop) July 21, 2018
There is also Mignolet’s lack of game time in 2018 and track record with costly errors during his time at Liverpool, but A.) Barca could do worse should they need to replace back-up ‘keeper Jasper Cillessen and B.) this wouldn’t be the first time the Spanish giants have made an unexpected move for an unfancied or out-of-favour player.
In the 2014 summer transfer window, Barcelona made a double swoop for Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen and Valencia’s Jeremy Mathieu – the combined transfer fees were reportedly in the £35m region.
Vermaelen was an undoubted talent in his heyday but had only featured in 14 league games for Arsenal in the previous season, his injury problems were a constant blight on his time in north London.
Mathieu was a slow but solid performer during his time at Valencia, making 182 appearances in his four-and-a-half years at Los Che. Despite this, he had just turned 30 when Barcelona made their move and only had a handful of caps for France – Barcelona would have been expected to invest in a much bigger defensive name at the time, but then again they would go on to spend £65m prising Luis Suarez from Liverpool.
One of Barcelona’s more puzzling pieces of recent transfer business came in 2017, when they spent around £35m on Tottenham Hotspur flop Paulinho. Yes, after departing Spurs in 2015, Paulinho went on to score 28 goals in 95 games for Chinese outfit, Guangzhou Evergrande. Under Tite, Paulinho continued to be an important player for the Brazil national team but his time in the Premier League was so forgettable that he had fallen off of many people’s radar.
And to make matters even more peculiar – despite being Barcelona’s third-highest scorer last season with nine goals, Paulinho is now back on loan in China.
So the idea of Barcelona signing a talented-yet-error-prone ‘keeper as back-up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen does not appear altogether too extraordinary. The question is whether Mignolet will resist the prestigious lures of the Catalan club in his quest for greater playing time.