By the time you read this Lago Aspas might be a Liverpool player. He underwent a medical yesterday and the club is in the process of finalising his deal, which will see £7m or so going into Celta Vigo’s coffers.
So, if he signs, where will Aspas fit in? It is no ones fault, the club should be commended for moving so quickly to get their man, but I think the timing of the signing is unfortunate. The prospect of Luis Suarez leaving looms large over the club and I guess many scribes, and fans, will make a direct comparison between Aspas and the Uruguayan and draw negative conclusions. This is unfair.
Aspas does not have the experience of Suarez, he hasn’t been capped for his country and hasn’t played at the top club level, Celta Vigo only just avoided relegation from La Liga last season. In that time Aspas scored twelve goals Suarez netted around thirty in all competitions. On these cold facts alone Aspas clearly shouldn’t be regarded as a direct replacement for Suarez but was that ever the intention?
Lets be positive. I think for some of the time last season Aspas also played in wider position which I guess makes the dozen goals he scored more impressive, especially as Celta Vigo were struggling? Swansea and Arsenal were also interested in him both clubs, particularly the latter, have good track records of unearthing and bringing along new young players form abroad. Aspas may follow suit and develop into something along the lines of Suarez in a few years and I guess that’s the hope behind the signing? However for his sake I believe we should play down the Suarez comparisons. Things will presumably ease in this area if Luis does go and Brendon Rogers uses whatever funds he gets from the deal to buy a more proven replacement? In the meantime for Aspas it’s surely a case of “work in progress” and, hopefully, “one to watch” rather than a likening to Luis?
If Suarez does go then the club will immediately know what is required of them, they will need to secure a replacement. A more tricky prospect is the defence. Jamie Carragher’s retirement has left a big hole if not in terms of play (his appearances were limited last season) then most certainly experience. A replacement is needed and I’m assuming Kolo Toure is designed to fill in for some of the gaps. I guess one of the key features in a defence is consistency and continuity. Of all the units on a football field the back four, plus the keeper, is the one that must have the best understanding. Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Carragher, Glen Johnson, and to a lesser degree Luis Enrique have been together a long time however, sometimes they concede goals which suggest they’ve only just been introduced to each other before the game!
Last season the errors seemed to be spread evenly across the back four however, regular readers of this nonsense (hello to both of you) will know my opinion on Glen Johnson and, in an ideal world, he would be first in my book to go. If Johnson isn’t going to play in midfield then he should not play for this club at all because as a defender …. well don’t get me started. However, of all the regulars it now looks as if Martin Skrtel will be first to go possibly to join Rafa at Napoli. At least Skrtel has been open and honest about the fact that he won’t be averse to a move describing last season as one of the worst he’s had. Sometimes I guess a move is best if only to freshen up things (Martin’s been with us for around five years), a new challenge and all that? Skrtel will be familiar with Rafa and his ways and also his mate, Marek Hamsik, plays there.
The departure of Skrtel will presumably increase the urgency for new blood, various young foreign players have been mentioned. Kyriakos Papadopoulos is one but Schalke appear to be asking for too much. Sporting Lisbon’s Tiago Ilori, at present, looks a more realistic prospect but, at first sight, I prefer to Ajax’s Toby Alderweireld who seems to have plenty of club and international experience and plays in country more suited to the Premiership style?
“England and Germany are the best leagues where I think I can take the next step, I have to go somewhere where I can play football a bit and where my style of play suits. On the other hand, I do not want to play for a team at the bottom of their league. I want to leave Ajax for a nice club, otherwise I’ll just stay in Amsterdam.”
Not quite bottom of league but hopefully not “nice”, on the field at least? We shall see, presumably it will be a case of (and may I be the first to get this one in) Toby or not Toby!