Now that Roy Hodgson’s appointment as Liverpool manager has been confirmed, it’s time for him to work his magic. With no significant transfer budget, the boss is going to have to choose his targets carefully, ensuring that those he does sign come off. We can’t afford mistakes.
The positions that require urgent strengthening are obvious to the fans. After last season’s debacle the need for attacking reinforcements is clear for all to see. Another quality striker to support Fernando Torres is a must, perhaps even a replacement for the Spaniard if the worst does happen. Hodgson also needs to look on the wings, central midfield and at left back. The newspapers in recent days have been filled with players said to have been lined up as Hodgson’s first signing. Joe Cole, Rafael Van der Vaart, Steven Taylor, Gilberto Silva, Danny Murphy, Maynor Figueroa, Brede Hangeland….the list goes on. All have at times shone in recent times, each offering something different and some with undoubted quality. Hodgson will not be interested in all of these players, some linked merely to fill the back pages. Yet whilst it’s still speculation and rumour, what would the fans make of it should any of the links prove more concrete?
In previous articles I have clearly stated my approval for the potential signings of Joe Cole and Rafael Van der Vaart, two of the best quality players on the market this summer. Signings like that would not just excite the fans but the players also, the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres would relish playing alongside them, players that will improve the squad.
In Liverpool’s financial state it would be hugely surprising if Hodgson was not to make an effort to attract the pair to Anfield, an opportunity that the club cannot and should not be passing up given the cost of each player. If they decide their future does not lie at Anfield then that is their choice but at least there has been an attempt. Those two players apart however and the list will not please too many supporters.
Steven Taylor whilst at times looking like a decent young defender, is prone to lapses in concentration and mistakes. He certainly hasn’t developed into as strong a player as some expected a couple of years ago. With Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger most people’s first choice partnership then Taylor will be a squad player at best, not forgetting that Martin Skrtel is there also. Steven Taylor would be best served staying at Newcastle United, a club where he’s guranteed to play every week and help them to retain their Premier League status in the upcoming season.
Gilberto Silva, linked as a replacement for Javier Mascherano is without doubt a quality player. The former Arsenal midfielder had a steady World Cup for Brazil, proving that he still has the quality to play in such a strong side. The fact that he is still a first choice for the national side highlights his qualities as a footballer. Arsene Wenger perhaps let Gilberto Silva leave a little too soon. Despite his obvious talent, Silva is still in the very latter stages of his career, with not too many years left. He is certainly no replacment for Mascherano, arguably the best in his position in the world and with years on his side to improve yet further.
Danny Murphy is a player that all Liverpool fans remain greatly fond of having provided such good memories whilst playing for the club, particularly against Manchester United. Many were sad to see him go when he left the club following the arrival of Rafael Benitez. After seeing the performances and quality of his replacement however, Xabi Alonso, fans recognised that the right decision had been made. Whilst his return would be a nice gesture on the part of Roy Hodgson and may please some supporters, his return would not signal progress.
Maynor Figueroa impressed many last season with his performances for Wigan, no more so than his outrageous free kick against Stoke City, a contender for goal of the season. With rumours over Emiliano Insua the left back position is certainly one that needs to be filled and Figueroa could do a good job for the club. Given his age and experience, particularly at international level with 69 caps, then Figueroa seems more well equipped than Insua to secure this position. Having not played at a top club however in his career supporters will be cautious over whether he can make the step up. If a reasonable transfer fee can be agreed though then this could potentially be a good signing.
As the weeks pass, the number of players added to this list will grow by the day. We can only wait. Roy Hodgson will have his targets, of which many he’ll be keeping as close to his chest as possible. Liverpool currently make headlines. But don’t believe everything you read…
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