When Andrea Dossena arrived at Anfield a Liverpoool supporting friend of mine assured me that he was going to be an absolute star and much better than the recently departed John Arne Riise. “He’s Italy’s first choice left back” he proudly declared. That much was true; after settling well at Serie A side Udinese following spells with Verona and Treviso Dossena had found himself preferred to Fabio Grosso who risked being a forgotten man for his country due to his mediocre performances in France for Lyon.
Liverpool paid £7 million for Dossena when he arrived in the summer of 2008. The price looked relatively high but the general consensus was that Dossena would be worth it – he was an Italian international after all. Dossena began the season as a regular for Liverpool but failed to impress, looking slow and clumsy and proving the weakest link in a side that looked to mount an unlikely title challenge. Dossena was dropped in favour of Brazilian Fabio Aurelio and unhappily revealed
“I am not fully happy with my level. I must now get to a high level and maintain that, but first I have to battle to win selection. I am learning all the time.”
Dossena was given the chance to redeem himself and show his worth when Aurelio then picked up a bad injury in November but the Italian continued to look off the pace and poor. Despite the lack of other options in their first team squad, Liverpool sought to resolve their Dossena problem by promoting youngster Emiliano Insua to the first team. Insua looked a damn sight better than Dossena had and the Italian international now found himself playing second fiddle to a youngster which he was not happy about. Dossena was completely out of favour now and, despite goals as a substitute against both Real Madrid and Manchester United, Liverpool fans were calling out for him to be sold.
It was clear that Dossena wasn’t wanted – in the summer of 2009 his squad number was given to Liverpool new boy Glen Johnson with Dossena being given the rather unimportant number 38 shirt instead. Despite this Liverpool failed to find a party willing to sign Dossena for the amount they wanted to recoup on him and so it was that the full back remained with the club.
There was no reprieve for Dossena as the returned Aurelio and talented Insua continued to keep him out of the team, he made just 3 appearances in the first half of 2009/10. Early on in the January transfer window it was announced that Dossena had been sold back to Serie A, joining Napoli for £4 million – £3 million less than Liverpool had paid for him.
Dossena’s is a classic case of a player failing to adapt to the Premiership; impressive in the slower tempo of Italian football, Dossena never looked capable of dealing with the pace of Premiership players and the way the game is played over here and so it was that he always looked slow and uncomfortable. It’s likely that he’ll reinvent himself at Napoli but Dossena has proven himself incapable of playing in the Premiership and will not look back on his time at Liverpool fondly at all.
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