After Kenny Dalglish left via the exit door at Anfield over the summer after being sacked, the club sought to tinker with their style of play and subsequently made the appointment of Brendan Rodgers in his place. The knock-on effect has seen a number of first-team regulars futures now up in the air, one of which is winger Craig Bellamy, but can the club really afford to let him go?
Mark Hughes has repeatedly been linked with a move for his former charge from their time at Manchester City and with the Welsh national team this summer. The QPR boss has bolstered his squad so far this summer with a series of sensible if unspectacular signings which include the likes of Robert Green, Park Ji-Sung and Andrew Johnson, and Bellamy would fit in neatly with the period of consolidation currently taking place at Loftus Road.
QPR vice-chairman Amit Bhatia stated just a few days ago: “Craig is definitely a name that has been mentioned, a name we’ve discussed.There are a few options. We have been a fan of Craig Bellamy for the last few years, ever since he became available.” Now during the silly season, which this time of year the transfer market undoubtedly is, there are thousands of quotes and rumours flying about as the mad dash to secure the signatures of your chosen targets early takes place, but there appears to be some sense to this particular switch.
Hughes moved to cool speculation last week, but simultaneously refused to rule out a move in the future when he said: “There has been a lot of speculation over Craig. Yes I know him very well. But at the moment it is all speculation. Now I have more time to prepare the side and get the quality players that were lacking before. I can say that QPR has a great future and obviously we will do better than last season. We are confident that we won’t be struggling.”
He would help add some much-needed strength in depth up front and out wide to the Hoops’ squad, while from the player’s perspective, the temptation to link up again with a manager that he knows and trusts must be strong, but should Liverpool retain his services?
Bellamy started just 12 league games last season for Kenny Dalglish, but featured a further 15 times as a substitute, scoring six times and collecting three assists. Even though he faded badly as the season wore on, with an anonymous appearance in the FA Cup final against Chelsea the nadir of his poor form, he was most certainly a relied upon first-team member and he would have played a lot more were it not for his knee complaint.
Therein lies the major obstacle to his prolonged stay at Anfield, the concerns over his fitness and ability to play more than two games inside a week. However, his pace, even at the age of 33 years old, is a crucial asset to any side and it’s something the current squad really doesn’t have a whole lot of, even if this has since being addressed to an extent by the arrival of Italian Fabio Borini.
You also have to factor in the likelihood of Rodgers setting his Liverpool side up in the 4-3-3 formation that he used at Swansea, a system that is tailor-made for Bellamy, who is not only versatile, but tactically aware and extremely hard-working and with an impressive 88.6% pass completion record, he’d also suit the new possession-based style that Rodgers is looking to pursue with.
It’s hardly as if the new boss is blessed with forward-thinking options either, with both Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez having moved on to new clubs since the end of last season, particularly while speculation continues to surround the respective futures of both Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll and Bellamy is the perfect squad member for a club competing of four fronts and with aspirations of finishing in the top six.
The club’s ambitions have quite rightly been adjusted for next season by the club’s owners and in a period of transition, change is always likely to be made at playing level, but Bellamy remains an adaptable and useful member of the squad at present. Even if QPR firm up their interest with something more concrete, it would be wise for Rodgers to reject their advances, for the Welshman still has a part left to play at Anfield.
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