In the recent January transfer window, Liverpool captured the respective signatures of two up and coming young forwards – Ajax’s Luis Suarez and Newcastle’s Andy Carroll – but which player will go on to make the biggest and most significant impact during their stay at Anfield? It’s time to crack out the crystal ball.
Liverpool’s pursuit of Luis Suarez threatened to be the biggest bore of the transfer window with both clubs dragging their heals during negotiations. Ajax were thought to be looking for around £23m, but with Liverpool only offering a frankly laughable £12.7m, it took right up until transfer deadline day for the player in question to sign on the dotted line for £22.7m.
Many have added caution to the Liverpool’s purchase of Suarez, citing previous players to fly the Eredivisie nest for the bright lights of the Premier League only to fail miserably despite their success back in Holland. The Dutch league is an extremely difficult league in which to gauge a player’s true quality from. The likes of Mateja Kezman, Afonso Alves, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Marcus Allback and Georgios Samaras are testament to this and all flourished in Holland but failed to live up to the hype when transferred to the more competitive English top flight.
The trick that many people miss with these deals though is that Suarez has real international pedigree to go along with his superb record in Holland (111 in 159 across all competitions) that the players listed above were sorely lacking.
With his three goals and a diabolical helping hand, Suarez played a huge part in helping steer World Cup surprise package Uruguay all the way to the semi-finals. Suarez’s movement, pace and finishing ability marked him out as a fine prospect and the 24 year old offers the Liverpool attack a dynamism it‘s been sorely lacking for some time now.
The quality of the Eredivisie varies wildly, but the only thing holding Suarez back at the moment is the poor record of his predecessors. Suarez is capable of playing off a front man or up top in a conventional two-pronged partnership. His versatility and adaptability will be welcome asset in the club’s armoury.
His power and low centre of gravity are ideally suited to the Premier League too and while I imagine Liverpool will most definitely get their money’s worth with concerns to the value of the deal, I see bigger things awaiting Suarez than Liverpool. I honestly think that Liverpool will be the making of the player and the club will act as more of a stepping stone for the player and a move to one of La Liga’s hegemonic duopoly, Real Madrid or Barcelona, awaits.
Liverpool, more than any other Premier League club, have fallen foul to the aforementioned duo. Xabi Alonso left for the Spanish capital after becoming alienated by Rafa Benitez’s pursuit of Gareth Barry the season before last. And just this season, Javier Mascherano also left the club after agreeing a move to La Liga champions Barcelona. A move to La Liga appears to be the natural progression of things nowadays if a foreign footballer enjoys a successful stint at one the Premier League’s top clubs. I fully expect Suarez’s time at Liverpool to follow this already well worn route.
Andy Carroll’s £35m move to Liverpool on deadline day sent shockwaves throughout world football. A grossly inflated fee due to the premium that you pay for home-grown players was always inevitable, as was the added fee for doing your business in January, but still, the price Liverpool paid does seem awfully steep.
I argued in an earlier article though, that Liverpool saw Carroll’s deal as an investment as much for the future as for the present. With Carroll in the side, Dalglish, or whoever is in charge, can stamp a new style of play on the side, one with Carroll as it’s focal point.
Dalglish has already steered the club away from the hoof and hope tactics that dogged the Hodgson era to a more free-flowing attacking style of play. Carroll’s strength and size up top could prove an immensely valuable asset at bringing others into play further down the line.
If Carroll stays at Liverpool for say, around 7-8 years, and manages to score 20 goals a season as well as improving the performances of those around him, then £35m doesn’t start to look like such a bad deal. He is the heir apparent to Alan Shearer for England and he certainly has an exciting career ahead of him.
When it boils down to it, I think Carroll will have a bigger impact at Liverpool than Suarez. The Uruguayan will be a massive success but his stay is destined to be a short one, whereas with Carroll, the club potentially have the focal point of the club’s attack sown up for the next decade. The potential longevity behind the Carroll deal as opposed to the Suarez deal just nudges the Geordie fractionally ahead in my humble opinion.
What does everyone else think?