So it looks like Stuart Downing will become a Reds players after all?
I’m surprised that it appears to have all come together so quickly as only last week Aston Villa appeared to be steadfast in their desire not to sell the winger. However, our renewed bid, an improvement on our earlier offer of £15m, seems to have tipped the balance? There are also rumours about Joe Cole going to Villa Park as a make weight?
Recent readers of this blog will, before or after drawing a conclusion about how I should get a life, have noticed that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about us acquiring Downing. So I guess this now puts me a position since he has joined us? All I can say is that I hope he proves me wrong and has me holding up my hands and eating the preverbal humble pie…actual I don’t think I’d be able to eat humble pie if I was holding up my hands but you know what I mean! Anyway what do I know? Those closer to Downing have shown more diplomacy and respect and greeted the news of his impending arrival warmly. Said Jamie Carragher
“He’s been a top player in the Premier League for the last six or seven years and he will definitely make a difference, with his ability to go outside and down the line to get quality crosses…. He was Aston Villa’s player of the year and he will give us something that we have been lacking, genuine quality on the left hand side. Every team looking to compete needs quality players in each position and that is what we are getting back towards.”
And Dirk Kuyt
“I think he did very well for Aston Villa last season and I believe he was their best player. I already knew of him when he was playing for Middlesbrough. He’s a very good winger and a player in the team who could be very helpful for us”
I guess Dirk Kuyt might have more to lose with Downing’s signing? With Suarez and Carroll presumably taking up the two main striking roles Dirk would be accommodated on the wing however, now that Downing is here? Nevertheless it goes without saying that it is good to have competition for places.
Presumably Downing won’t have any problems settling in? He is experienced enough and knows Stevie G, Carragher, Andy Carroll and Glen Johnson through the England squad. On the negative side he will be 27 soon so one wonders about the value for money we will be getting for our fee but equally this could be a positive he is entering what many regard to the be period of his playing career where the best football is played? If you are an anorak then, in Downing’s favour, you can refer to the much bandied about statistic that the winger made more crosses in open play than any other Premier League player – hopefully they were accurate!
Ultimately any reservations should be kept in abeyance. I guess, after the singing of Suarez and Carroll I want everyone to be exciting and dynamic however every team needs a player with Downing’s work rate if not his charisma. It would be unfair to jump to conclusions, especially since the player hasn’t been given a fair crack of the whip, and it hardly needs saying that everyone should get behind him and the rest of the team.
Meanwhile the magical far eastern mystery tour continues. Fresh from Wednesday’s victory against the Caveman of Guangdong we now face Malaysia All-Stars XI tonight. This sounds like a footballing version of the Harlem Globe Trotters. I expect them to bamboozle Jamie Carragher with an series of intricate keepy uppies before flicking the ball between his legs and firing home via both posts and cross bar! Nonetheless it is good publicity for the club in that part of the world. Even the training session yesterday was attended by a crowd of around 40,000. I don’t know if the following is an indication of the regard Liverpool are held in the far (they are popular) or just a bit of hype from the Liverpool Echo…
“Excitable cheers would go up as Andy Carroll nonchalantly struck a loose ball into the net when limbering up and even the routine of dynamic stretching caused a stir amongst many before the gentle jog round the pitch saw many fans euphoric. The £35m man did offer a tongue-in-cheek salute when one of his efforts in shooting practice found the net, only to be outdone by Jay Spearing who upped the celebration stakes when finding the top corner soon after.”
Next week Charlie Adam does his boot lace up!