This summer promises to be a one of uncertainty at Anfield, as there is continued speculation surrounding the futures of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres and the uncertainty over Rafael Benitez’s future with the club. With Liverpool set to miss out on a Champions League place after yesterday’s draw with Fulham putting them six points adrift of fourth place Man City, who also have a game in hand, Liverpool need to reassess their transfer budget and prepare to spend big in the summer. One of the players who has been linked with a move away from Anfield is defender Emiliano Insua, who was linked with a £5 million move to Spain yesterday. Insua has come under immense critiscm this season for a string of sub-par performances, but does he have what it takes to make it at Liverpool or should he be shown the exit?
The 21 year old Argentine full back has been made a scapegoat for Liverpool’s poor form this season, after a number of high-profile errors, notably in the defeat to Manchester United and the defeat to Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League tie, to name a few. Insua’s lack of pace, timing, decision making and positional sense have come under scrutiny and been exposed numerous times this season. But it should be remembered that Insua is only 21, he is still raw and has not played much first-team football before this season. He has effectively been thrown in at the deep end this season because of Fabio Aurelio’s constant injury problems.
This season, Insua has been a regular for Liverpool, playing in 31 of the club’s 34 Premiership games and 41 games in all competitions, which is three times as many games as he has played in the last three seasons at Liverpool. While Insua loves to get forward and burst down the left wing, providing 5 assists for the team this season, it is his defensive game that has let him down so far. His tackling, decision making and positional play need a lot of work if he wants to keep his place in the Liverpool side next season. Rafael Benitez has defended Insua after so much criticism was aimed at the young defender, saying:
“It is not just one situation where you can point to someone. The team has to take care of the situation. We have to share the responsibility.”
With Fabio Aurelio set to depart in the summer, Liverpool are short of quality at the left back position and have been linked with a summer move for Lazio’s Aleksandar Kolarov in recent weeks. If Liverpool fail to land Kolarov or another left back, can Insua step up to the plate and start delivering for the club?
It’s important to remember that Insua is still only 21 and still possesses that potential that made him one of Liverpool’s top prospects up until a year ago. The youngster is improving all the time and working twice as hard to try and stop opposing wingers. Great decision making and positional sense is not an attribute that most full backs possess at 21 and it is something he can learn in time. Insua just needs the confidence from a few good games and a get a break from being persecuted by the media and we will see an improvement in his play, as the potential is still there for the youngster to be a good player. Insua may be better served as a back up next season to whoever Liverpool sign at left back, as he could play a few less games and develop his defensive attributes and all-r0und game. He could then directly learn from the new arrival and become a better player because of it.
This season has provided Insua with a lot of moments and mistakes he can learn from and has provided him with some key areas where he can improve his game. Hopefully, the Argentine defender can build on his performances and start delivering on that potential next season and he would be worth a lot more than £5 million in a few years time.
What do you think – should Liverpool keep Insua at Anfield or should they let him go?
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