THE January transfer window is now upon us and no one can deny that Liverpool need to offload a few players (read under-performers) and bring in replacements.
While reports suggests the deal for Daniel Sturridge is all but done and the England international will be unveiled within days, there are however a few players that Liverpool need to sell, and given their lack of depth in the squad bring in immediate replacements.
Stewart Downing scored his first goal in a Liverpool shirt a week ago. That however doesn’t guarantee that the same will continue to happen. This was evident in the very next match against Stoke, where he failed to make any kind of impact. In his defence however, bar Luis Suarez no one came close to putting the kind of performance they put in against Fulham.
Downing is a talented player and is capable of doing a lot better than what he’s doing right now. Things however haven’t gone the way everyone expected and he failed to make any impact since his arrival from Aston Villa for £20 million.
The failure to bring the same form and success he had as a winger at Villa was not due to lack of chances. In fact, he had been given the chances and the time by the coaches being a regular in the first team line-up for most of the last season, he still failed to do anything and ended the first season at Anfield with no goals or assist to his name. After a year and a half, I don’t think things are going to improve very much. I would love to keep him and still give him chances, however as a team Liverpool just cannot afford to keep too many under-performing players in the squad right now and it will be the best for both to part ways.
Joe Cole signed for Liverpool amidst much fanfare and everyone, including me thought we got a major coup in securing the England international on a free transfer. However things haven’t been very smooth ever since he joined Liverpool. Cole’s best days are behind him now and in my opinion, it’s not a very good idea to have a £90k a week player in a squad who doesn’t play week in week out. On the other hand Rodgers just doesn’t have any choice. Liverpool need someone right now who’s got quality and time on his hands and clearly Cole is not that person. He needs to go and the sooner the better.
Oussama Assaidi arrived at Anfield in the summer from SC Heerenveen, but did not get the same attention as Fabio Borini and Joe Allen, which has allowed him to play freely whenever he got the chance – he hasn’t been disappointing so far. He has featured in just three matches in the Premier League, all coming on as a substitute, however he has been pretty regular in Europa fixtures.
Though small injuries have limited his opportunity to make an impact in the side, from what I have seen, I see a lot of promise in him. Downing’s exit could open the door for the Moroccan to adapt and improve. He isn’t the kind of winger who’s going to provide tons of assists or get a lot of goals, but he could help to ease some of the scoring burden off Luis Suarez.
Tom Ince has been linked to a move back to Anfield and it is suggested he would be allowed to leave Blackpool if the right kind of offer is tabled for the 20 year old winger.
The former academy player is a natural on the left wing, the position that Downing has played in for the majority of his time with the club. Ince has been having the time of his career so far at Blackpool, scoring 13 goals with 10 assists from 22 Championship appearances. It is clear Liverpool not only need someone who can get those assists from wide areas but someone to help Suarez from his duty as the only goal scorer – Ince could provide just that.
Though he has signed a long term contract with Barcelona which will keep him at Camp Nou till 2016, a €10 million release clause in his new contract means he can still be available if the right price is offered. He is an exceptionally talented winger who has an eye for a goal. Having already played with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Villa and Messi, this 20 year old starlet can bring flair and creativity up front that has been missing for Liverpool for some time now.
Though a January move might not be possible, Liverpool should keep tabs on Tello; he is a star in the making and he can still be a long-term target.
Some interesting youth in the line-up, to balance the list with experience, here is someone who has been in my wish list for the past two seasons. Dries Mertens, the little Belgian who plays for PSV Endhoven, is a winger by trade but equally effective as an attacking midfielder. Mertens hasn’t been amongst the assists charts, however he is a prolific goalscorer for club and country. In 12 Eredivisie games this season, Mertens has scored 7 goals. Last year he scored 20 in 23 league matches. For past two season Liverpool have struggled to find the back of the net more often than not, he can bring the versatility upfront laden with goals that the Reds need to keep their hopes of top 4 finish alive.
Thanks a lot for reading. Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. You can find me on Twitter @LEONGUI7E