After speculation in recent weeks over Yossi Benayoun, there have been many rumours about possible midfielders who could replace him on Merseyside. One of the most recent is the possibility of Atletico Madrid winger Simao Sabrosa coming to Anfield. The Portuguese winger was subject to a £12million bid back in 2005 by Liverpool but the move was scuppered by Simao’s then club Benfica when they increased their asking price. The winger eventually moved to Madrid in 2007 and has had an inconsistent time during his spell in Spain. He is now said to be unhappy at Atletico after the Spanish club finished ninth in the table last season and is looking for a new challenge.
Simao had been somewhat of a young prodigy and had made his debut for Sporting Lisbon at the age of 17 after coming through a youth system that had already developed Luis Figo among others. After just two seasons he was transferred to Barcelona for a massive €15million in 1999 but he failed to impress in his two years at the Catalan club. He returned to Portugal with Benfica for €12million in 2001. Here he made a name for himself scoring double figures in all six seasons he was with the club. The most successful campaign came in 2004/05 when he scored an impressive 22 goals in all competitions as Benfica won the league title for the first time in 11 years. Such performances brought him to the attention of Rafa Benitez but after the deal fell through with Liverpool, he came back to haunt the Reds after scoring at Anfield to knock the title holders out of the Champions League last 16. After his move to Atletico though, the higher level of opposition saw his goal return reduced, although he still managed 10 in his first season at the club in the 2007/08 campaign. His performances in the last two seasons however, have been less spectacular and he scored 2 league goals this campaign.
So what sort of player would he be for Liverpool if Rafa decided to make another move for the winger? He is 30 years of age, a fantastic dribbler of the ball and is predominantly right footed although he does play frequently from the left hand side. Sound familiar? In many respects he is very similar to Yossi Benayoun although he is the best part of 6 months older than his Israeli counterpart. One thing Simao does have over Benayoun though is his capability from set-pieces and he is an expert free kick taker who can threaten any opposition goalkeeper within 30 yards of goal.
Like Benayoun, Simao does still possess pace and acceleration alongside his dribbling skills and he is a creative force in the Spanish club’s midfield picking out passes for Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero. He is not an out and out winger though, similar to Benayoun, and when he plays on the left hand side he loves to cut inside and attempt a long range shot or offload to a fellow team-mate. He does switch with fellow winger Jose Antonio Reyes but manager Quique Sanchez Flores seems to like both players cutting in from the wings and crossing or shooting from distance.
So if we did try and buy Simao we would be getting a similar player to Benayoun although the Portuguese international is slightly older than Benanyoun and might cost as much as £9million to buy, probably £1-2 million more than we would get selling the Israeli. He has also scored 3 less goals in all competitions than Benayoun this season and that maybe a concern considering we are looking for more goals from our midfielders next season. As talented as the Atletico winger is then, my thoughts for any prospective winger signing would be to find one who is willing to stretch defenders out wide, providing greater width to provide openings for others. A pacey, out and out left footed winger would be my ideal player.
Follow us on twitter @live4Liverpool
Live4Liverpool is recruiting columnists. For further info contact the site editor at email@example.com