Benfica winger, Nolito, has been subject of speculation regarding his future at the Portuguese club and the Mail reports Liverpool’s alleged interest in the player.
Kenny Dalglish is believed to be keen on the former Barcelona player and is ready to invest £15 million to secure Nolito’s signature. Nolito, whose full name is Manuel Agudo Duran, rejected the offer of a new contract at his former club in order to gain regular first team football with Benfica.
Liverpool may look to the 25 year old to add some spark to their lacklustre midfield this season to further Dalglish’s aspirations to finish in the top 4 next season. But is Nolito the right man for the job?
Nolito can play in a number of attacking positions but has been utilised mainly as a wide-man mainly from the left for his current club, similar to that of Barcelona’s former pint-sized winger Ludovic Giuly.
He is certainly a player in the Barcelona mould; his quick feet, jinkin runs and incisive through balls have made him a favourite at the Estadio da Luz and ultimately attracted external attention from other clubs. The predominantly right-footed player has found success through cutting in from the left hand side and making diagonal runs into the box.
He is by no means an orthodox winger who gets to the by-line and creates chances through numerous crosses. Here is a link to a video that shows the typical play of the talented Spaniard.
Nolito has scored 11 goals for his club this season including a brace in a 4-1 win against league rivals Maritimo; it is surely no coincidence then that Nolito’s name should be linked with a summer move given his performance at the weekend. A goal in each of his first five appearances for Benfica, and his immaculate form this season has inevitably brought with it many plaudits and admirers from across Europe.
Liverpool have definitely suffered this season, not that I am complaining, but it must be a frustrating time to be a Reds fan. Despite their success in both domestic cup campaigns, reaching the FA Cup Final and winning the Carling Cup, their erratic league form especially since the turn of the year has been nothing short of abysmal.
After a good start under Dalglish, the Merseyside team have struggled to gain any sort of momentum, more specifically at home with only five wins in seventeen games at Anfield, and have struggled and subsequently dropped an abundance of points against lower table teams that many would expect to be comfortable wins for Liverpool.
Much of this can be down to the poor form of a handful of Liverpool players; new signings with great promise that have simply not lived up to their massive price tag. Andy Carroll for example, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, all great players with big reputations in their own right before coming to the club. But they have frankly not provided the goods when required.
Downing in particular may start to worry about his future at the club with the speculation surrounding Nolito, as they both ply their trade in the same position.
The inability of Downing to perform, and the success of Nolito this season would certainly suggest that the Benfica man would be a good signing for Liverpool. I’m sure Dalglish would try just about anything at the moment to get his under achieving Reds side back on track.
As an Everton fan naturally I do not think Liverpool should pursue Nolito, simply because he would be a great signing for them. Hopefully it’s not a done deal, but should it happen, it certainly would be an immense addition to the Liverpool squad, and would go a long way in helping them to mount a more serious challenge on the Champions League places next season.
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