Richard Hughes hints at future as Liverpool handed transfer chance they can't pass up

Liverpool are yet to launch into action in the transfer window.

New sporting director Richard Hughes has been working alongside Arne Slot for the past several weeks, and with players now returning to the AXA Training Centre, they will be able to get a better idea of what is needed to supplement their squad.

And Hughes admitted that he didn't expect the transfer window to kick into life until later in July at the earliest, with a 'crescendo' predicted in August as clubs truly get to work.

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But it was another line from Hughes in his unveiling press conference that may have peaked Liverpool supporters' interest, with him admitting the club will take an opportunistic approach to the transfer window.

And so, what does that mean for the rest of the summer? And should Liverpool supporters be encouraged or concerned? Our writers have their say:

Paul Gorst

The connotations of the word "opportunistic" have perhaps led to some apprehension from a fanbase that is always demanding when it comes to the transfer window at Liverpool.

It has floated the idea of the club dashing around in the final hours of the window desperately trying to add to their squad but the reality is quite different.

As always, Liverpool will be measured in their approach when it comes to incomings although the idea of the club being, as Hughes puts it, "opportunistic" does at least present the prospect of them moving slightly away from the recent strategy that has underpinned recruitment.

Under Jurgen Klopp, the general cookie-cutter model was in place with players tending to be between 22 and 25, around the £35-50m mark and with somewhere between 150-200 senior appearances already to their name.

Liverpool paid Dominik Szoboszlai's £60m buyout clause last summer and Ryan Gravenberch was only 21 when he arrived but the general plan has largely been stuck to in recent years with captures of the likes of Ibrahima Konate, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz, while Darwin Nunez's initial £64m price-tag was spread over a six-year deal rather than the five typically preferred.

Thiago Alcantara was undoubtedly an "opportunistic" deal given he was seeking a fresh challenge with less than a year on his contract at Bayern Munich, while Takumi Minamino fits that description too given a modest £7m buyout clause at Red Bull Salzburg.

The addition of 30-year-old Wataru Endo represented a deviation from the usual script but Liverpool's interest in Leny Yoro and Anthony Gordon are both indicative of that "opportunistic" model with the Reds laying in wait should Real Madrid miss the boat on the Lille defender and the latter being offered to them as part of Newcastle United's efforts to come in line with the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability Rules last month.

Hughes's declaration does suggest that Liverpool will remain poised and primed for anything they can look to wrap up relatively quickly rather than any prolonged and protracted search for players in certain positions, like the much-discussed efforts to recruit a defensive-minded midfielder last summer.

In meantime, however, expect links and plenty of them.

Joe Rimmer

Liverpool are often at their best when they take an opportunistic approach to the window alongside longer-term plans.

Take 2018, for example. Liverpool had been discussing the possibility of signing Alisson Becker from Roma but believed the deal dead when Real Madrid showed an interest. Eventually Madrid backed off and Liverpool sprung into action. One £68m deal later and the Reds had their long-term goalkeeper sown up.

A year earlier and Liverpool moved on deadline day to bring in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after he'd turned down a contract at Arsenal. He more than played his part in the next five years of success under Jurgen Klopp.

The list goes on, and if Hughes can move quickly for quality players - think Leny Yoro - should Liverpool sniff out a chance, then they mustn't pass up the chance to give Slot the best possible squad.

Hughes hasn't had a chance to work on longer-term transfers but Liverpool's recruitment team, including Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter, will know what's needed next to supplement Slot's squad, and we need to see that play out after those at Euro 2024 and the Copa America return.

But opportunistic? I'm all for that. It's the right approach. as long as it's not the only approach.

Richard Garnett

A new broom sweeps clean but as was the case with Trigger's broom in Only Fools and Horses, this one has got several new heads and handles. Arne Slot finds himself in the rather advantageous position of having slick operator Richard Hughes at his disposal for transfer decisions and with Michael Edwards and Julian Ward also back higher up the chain with FSG, Liverpool have no shortage of recruitment expertise to lean on.

Up to this point, Slot's arrival at Anfield has been relatively low-key, perhaps understandable given his predecessor, but I suspect we are in the calm before the storm. The Dutchman needs time to properly assess his already-strong squad and identify areas for improvement. That process is somewhat delayed by the Euros, Copa America and the holidays that will follow it.

But as Hughes has already hinted himself, August could be a different story. Liverpool have lost some out-of-contract players this summer but they remain in a strong position and that means that they could have the resources to pick off gems and gate-crash deals if they think the circumstances are right.

Players like youngster Leny Yoro and Bayern Leverkusen star Jeremie Frimpong are appealing but feel like targets that should only be done on the Reds' own terms. The same could be said of Atalanta midfielders Ederson and Teun Koopmeiners. With no Profit and Sustainability concerns to hamper their efforts, there's every chance that the AXA Training Ground could be welcoming some unexpected faces in the weeks to come. It will be fascinating to watch.

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