Liverpool’s new signing Raul Meireles could be described as a “powerful playmaker” and an “all round midfielder.” In some ways he is similar to Xabi Alonso and in others he is more like Javier Mascherano, but in any case we have found a top class midfielder for a good price. The €14m (£11.5m) that was agreed for the player was due to the fact Meireles only had a year left on his contract and the transfer went through very quickly. Once it was clear that Mascherano was leaving for Barcelona, Hodgson moved quickly and a bid was made for the Portuguese international on Friday night, as revealed in the Guardian. By Sunday afternoon he was presented to the crowd at Anfield for Liverpool’s match against West Brom, being handed the number four shirt vacated by Alberto Aquilani.
Meireles first came to prominence in the European Under 16 Championships with Portugal in 2000 and made his senior debut for Aves in 2001. After 2 seasons, he returned to Boavista where he spent a time as a youth player, and after playing just one season with the club, he attracted the interest of his hometown club Porto. After a difficult start to his spell with his new club where he started a fair few games at left back, he came into his own during the 2005/06 season playing alongside Lucho Gonzalez in central midfield. He helped the team win the league, Portuguese Cup and Super Cup during that season.
He went on to win 3 more league titles in his next four years with Porto, and in 2009 his club won their fourth championship in a row. Meireles also made an impression in the Champions League, scoring against Chelsea in the 2006/07 campaign, as well as facing Liverpool the following season. At international level he didn’t really get a look in until qualifying for Euro 2008. He scored his first international goal against Turkey in the tournament and subsequently became a regular during Carlos Queiroz’s side campaign to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. He scored the decisive goal in qualifying against Bosnia in the crucial play-off match and started off the scoring in the 7-0 rout against North Korea at the tournament in June.
So what sort of player will we be getting? As I said above he is most certainly an all round midfielder. Meireles loves to get stuck into a physical battle. He has a high work rate and is a dynamic, dominant force in the centre of midfield. Although not an imposing player at 5ft 10, he is not a character to be messed with, and he has been criticised in Portugal for his uncompromising style. This however is only one side of his game. He is also an incredibly classy midfield player in the style of Alonso. Like the Spaniard he is known for his long raking diagonal balls, and his range of passing is second to none. Although he is not renowned for scoring that regularly, he is capable of scoring spectacular goals and can chip in a few important ones when needed (e.g Portugal v Bosnia).
This man has really come into his own over the last two years and is now an essential member of the Portugal side. He played more minutes than anyone else in qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa and for Porto he has been their central playmaker for the last four years. At 27, he is getting into the prime of his career and let’s hope he continues his excellent form at Liverpool
Follow us on twitter @live4Liverpool
Live4Liverpool is recruiting columnists. For further info contact the site editor at email@example.com