Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier has identified Auxerre striker Djibril Cisse and Blackburn midfielder Damien Duff, as his key transfer targets for the summer.
Despite failing to qualify for the Champions League, Houllier will be given money to spend by the board and Cisse and Duff, valued at a combined £25 million, are his priorities.
Auxerre’s Cisse is conservatively valued at £13 million while Duff would cost in the region of £12 million. However, the extra funds required will be provided by sales from the current squad with Emile Heskey, Vladimir Smicer, Markus Babbel and Dietmar Hamann all expected to depart Anfield.
Houllier intends to meet up with Auxerre boss Guy Roux at the French Cup final on May 31 to discuss the possibility of signing 21-year-old Cisse.
“There are various things we want to raise at the meeting, not only for this season but for the future,” said Houllier.
“There are a couple of players we are interested in – we are not only going to talk solely about Cisse.”
Meanwhile, Duff, a long-standing target for Houllier, is seen as the solution to Liverpool’s perceived lack of creativity.
“He’s not the only target we have, but we need a bit of creativity between midfield and the strikers. If they (the board) give me the money, I’ll happily spend it in that area.
“We made an offer last season and they said he wasn’t for sale,” said Houllier.
“We can’t do both Cisse and Duff if I’m honest, or at least we’d have to sell first. We’ve had some offers but I would like to keep the nucleus of my team. We’ve got some special players here and it would be silly to sell them because they’ve had a bad season. But there will be some difficult decisions ahead and I know I’ll have to take them.”
“We don’t need potential anymore,” Houllier added.
“We need talent that can go straight into the first team.”