After watching Liverpool’s seemingly terminal decline since the close run title challenge in the 2008/9 season, fingers have been pointed into every direction as to what the cause may be.
Is it a shaky defence? Is it a lack of creativity from the centre of the park? Is it the big players such as Gerrard, Suarez and Downing not showing their talent for assisting the front men as much as was once so greatly expected?
I will be the first in a rapidly shrinking demographic that believes Andy Carroll to be a good player…not worth £30+ million pounds, of course…but a good player none the less. I also believe that the deal did smell very much of the child seeing the mother’s purse bulging with Fernando Torres money and buying the brightest thing at the counter just as they were planning on leaving the shop.
So after hearing of this transfer story in a semi-conscious stage at 9am; in an article containing yet another report of some unknown ‘hidden gem’ from South America who would, of course, prove to set the world alight, many of you out there would forgive me for falling back asleep safe in the knowledge that this hymn sheet had been sung from more times than we care to remember…Matias Vuoso anyone? (Google him).
But I turned however crudely, to my first stop for potential transfers and ‘stars of the future’…and before you all snort with derision, it is a tried and tested method that has served me, and many English clubs well in the past. The last bastion of fulfillment for our footballing dreams…Football Manager.
I usually only employ this method on players I have no prior knowledge of…and with Jackson Martinez sounding more like one of the many drinks imbibed last night rather than any football player…I rapidly typed his name into the search engine…and waited. Suddenly, he appeared. The first signs were not good.
With my game being four years into the future, we can blame both me and the game’s complex algorithms for his sharp decline into obscurity. A less than average striker who moved from Jaguares (where he plies his trade in the present day) after scoring a mammoth 9 goals in 32 starts, to Kayserispor in the Turkish Second Division…where he was then released. I know the game isn’t true to life, I understand that.
However, as many veterans of the game like to believe, the painstaking effort taken in scouting these players is not done in vain and it very accurate in depicting footballers in an objective fashion. Believe me, if you haven’t tried it yourself, do it. It will ruin your life.
Leaving the fictional behind, I went, as the newly-coined verb states ‘Youtube-ing’, and I came up with a completely different picture of this mountain of virtual mediocrity. He is good, pretty darn good. I go on to read that he set the goalscoring records in Columbia for Medellin, and then was hastily transferred to Mexican football for Jaguares where, after only two seasons, he has secured the captaincy. As well as scoring some cracking goals.
He has scored at over a goal a game for the Mexican side (30 in 57 appearances), but whether he is the real deal is yet to be seen if he arrives in the Premiership. Despite not being a giant in stature, he seems to be both good in the air and have a tremendous eye for goal with both feet, never needing a second chance to squeeze the ball into the bottom corner.
However, the last word for some Liverpool fans may come after reading Tim Vickery’s South American column for the BBC where he is claimed to be,
‘an out-and-out goalscorer, a front-to-goal centre-forward who can finish off both feet, and with excellent spring that makes him a threat in the air’,
while in the same breath criticized because,
‘his touch and general approach play are not great, and the worry would be that he might not build up a head of steam to feel confident about his game.’
I suppose that’s something you can’t measure on a computer game.
From what I have seen in the grainy video clips from Columbia and Mexico, he seems to be highly rated, yet somewhat of a late starter to the world stage at 25. Whether the asking price of £4 million is worth it in this modern climate, I would be forced to say yes, but whether the promise of the next England number 9 can be transferred for this far away wonder…I’m yet to be convinced.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!