RECENT rumours would suggest that Liverpool are certainly going to be in the market for a striker, come January. And with it looking unlikely at the moment that Andy Carroll will be re-called from loan the most likely outcome of the next window is that the Reds will be welcoming a brand new striker, and more than likely a young one.
But while some names such as Huntelaar and Demba Ba inspire some hope amongst us, other names are slightly underwhelming, and leaves you asking the question: why?!
It becomes a particularly confusing situation when what Liverpool need is goals, at present, and yet we appear to be chasing players that aren’t what you might call ‘renowned’ in that department.
News over the past few days seems to suggest that the most likely target in January is the Hamburg striker; a 20 year old South Korean striker. At the rather hefty £8 million fee being touted, you might expect more than 12 goals in 52 games. His International record is similarly uninspiring, with 1 goal in 9 appearances, since 2010.
The inexperienced South Korean is known for his great pace and dribbling skills, but has yet to convince anybody that he has what it takes to become a top striker. Which makes you wonder why, when we’re struggling up front, we’d be after another young player with ‘potential’.
I’m aware that we aren’t exactly in the same tier of transfers as the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, but when the club is prepared to pay over £10 million for Fabio Borini, it makes you wonder why they weren’t prepared to pay over this for Daniel Sturridge – a player who, whilst not exactly Robbie Fowler (in terms of his goal-to-games ratio), at least has goal-scoring experience in the Premier League.
This isn’t a dig at Borini, not by any means, but he had very little top-flight experience before we signed him and it has shown already. And the worry for me if we were to go after another youngster such as Son, is that we’d have to give him 2-3 years as well, before we started to see any return on our investment.
But all the approach play in the world is meaningless, if you haven’t got a clinical striker loitering in dangerous areas to take advantage. As we’ve seen from Luis Suarez, he is a great, great player and, on his day, he’s deadly in front of goal – but we can’t rely entirely on him having a good day every week to win us games.
While I am more than prepared to give younger players time to develop, and I’m delighted with the way our youth have fitted seamlessly into the first team this season, at some point we need to bring in experienced players, with proven track records and this is why chasing young players like Son, in favour of strikers who might not have a ‘sell-on’ value in the future is beginning to be a concern for me. Building for the future is all well and good, but if we struggle in the present, then we’re only going to find it much harder to attract the best of youth going forward.