“If the right player comes along, it would be good if we could bring another striker in. But I’d want it to be the right man and I don’t think we should go out and just sign someone because we can. It’s important if we bring someone in that he really fits the profile I’ve sketched out. We have a juggling act to perform due to the requirement for English players in the squad.”
The latest two strikers connected with Liverpool are Toulouse’s Andre-Pierre Gignac and PSV Eindhoven’s Ola Toivonen. So what do we know of the pair?
Andre-Pierre Gignac – 24 year old Gignac started his professional career with Lorient and made his debut for the Ligue Two side in 2004. After Lorient were promoted to Ligue One on 2005, Gignac was loaned to third division side Pau but he returned to have a successful first season with Lorient in Ligue One the following campaign. After scoring nine goals in 37 league matches during the 2006/07 season, he attracted interest from some bigger clubs. Lille were said to have agreed a €4.5million for the youngster and had a pre-contract agreement with him to join the club. However Toulouse stepped in and reportedly offered Gignac double the wages that Lille were offering and he opted for the larger deal. A dispute between the two clubs ensued although he would eventually move to Toulouse.
Despite all the fighting over his signature though, Gignac struggled in his first season for the club, and only scored three goals. His performances only really took off during the 2008/09 campaign when he scored 25 goals in all competitions. His goal scoring exploits attracted the attentions of France coach Raymond Domenech and he made his debut for France in a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania last season, assisting the only goal of the match scored by Franck Ribery. He would go on to score the only goal of the match versus the Faroe Islands, two goals in return fixture in France, and another against Austria in a 3-1 victory. For his contributions to qualifying he was called up to France’s World Cup squad for the tournament in South Africa despite having a less than successful campaign at Toulouse where he only scored 11 goals.
Ola Toivonen – the same age as Gignac, Toivonen is a Swedish striker who can also play in midfield. Starting off life at Degerfors, he helped the Swedish side battle against relegation before being transferred to another relegation threatened side in Orgryte. His performances however attracted the attention of bigger clubs after he was awarded the “newcomer of the year” award by the Swedish FA in November 2006.
Swedish giants Malmo were said to be interested in the player and he was bought for a near club record fee, which had only been eclipsed by the amount paid for Alfonso Alves a few years before. After an unsuccessful first season for the club in 2007 where he scored only three goals and Malmo finished ninth, Toivonen improved immensely during his second season after scoring 14 goals and providing 7 assists as Malmo finished sixth. Subsequently he has been called up by Sweden and has scored twice for the country, including a goal against Scotland in a 3-0 win last week.
Back at club level, his successful 2008 campaign got him a move to PSV Eindhoven and scored 6 goals in 14 games at the end of the 2008/09 campaign. He followed that up with some good performances last term with 13 goals in 33 matches, and Roy Hodgson watched the player play for Sweden last week and was said to be impressed with his performance.
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