With the Reds prodigal son Alberto Aquilani approaching the twilight of his latest loan spell away from the club and AC Milan seemingly wary not to trigger his automatic 25 game £6 million buy-out clause after the classy midfielders 22 appearances, it looks like the Italian giants faith in investing in him is wavering after failing to start the last four games.
Kenny Dalglish has been following his progress closely and seems happy to have him back if the Rosoneri fail to stump up the cash: “If they don’t want him, tell the boy you don’t want him. They will do what they have to do. If they don’t trigger it or they don’t want him, it’s not a problem. I’ll be disappointed for the boy, but then he’ll come back here as he’s our player”.
If the Italian does return he brings calm and intelligence to a midfield who have all too often surrendered possession cheaply this term. Fears about his fitness have come up again this season but he has been fit since March and in fine form by all accounts. With Dalgish’s midfield recruits underperforming for the majority of this season Aquilani may be the short term solution to cure us of our middle third malaise.
The Italian is not the only one who is set to make a summer return. Joe Cole’s £90 grand per week may be an expensive deterrent despite the fact that we have been heavily subsidising during his time at Lille which the club president admitting he will be difficult to keep:
“We will see. I haven’t found a machine yet that lets you make beautiful bank notes by pedalling. It’s true that the league table will have a bearing on Lille’s recruitment.”
The Englishman’s return may not be as be as popular to most Kopites after his ill fated time at the club chasing his illusive fitness throughout. Cole is the epitome of a player with immense talent but has badly suffered from never finding his true position. He was often used out wide under Hodgson and never really shone. My abiding memory of him in a red shirt is of him trudging off the pitch after his number was up, substituted again after failing to stand up to the rigours of the game. Nevertheless he has revitalised his game in Ligue 1, offering creativity and goals alongside Europe’s most wanted Edin Hazard.
I don’t believe any radical changes need to be made to the squad, just some minor adjustments which can freshen up a side which is haemorrhaging confidence. Taking these players back and giving them another chance is not a big risk. Aquilani looked like our best player in pre-season last year and after we sold Raul Meireles it seemed like the creativity was ripped out of our midfield especially with Gerrard out for a large chunk of the season. Both players suit sides who aim to play expansively which for all our faults this year we have, whereas particularly in the case of Cole, he never suited Hodgson’s “drop off and contain” playing philosophy.
As I said previously, these are only short term solutions, we will need to cast our net further afield to attract the young talent we need to drive the club forward, but bringing back experienced talent is not a bad idea for the present.
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