Luis Suarez has garnered quite the reputation in the last couple of years and he is now on of Europe’s top striking talents. His days at Ajax are numbered and he looks certain to depart from Holland this season with a move to the Premier League in the offing. His two main suitors are Liverpool and Spurs, both with very different projects on the go at the minute and both in very real need of a player of Suarez’s capabilities, but whose need is greater?
Spurs are enjoying a fantastic season. As I contested in an earlier article of mine this week, they are not too far off truly challenging for the title. Their main obstacle to cementing their place in the elite and proving that last season’s 4th spot wasn’t a one-off but the start of a period of dominance for the North London side, is their comparatively weak strike force compared to the rest of the top four sides.
Luis Suarez could provide the perfect partner for Jermain Defoe in attack and spearhead a concerted effort for the title. The league is wide open this year and with the only inevitable thing in such an unpredictable season being that the top sides around them will drop crucial points again at some stage of the rest of the campaign, Spurs would do well to bolster their front line with a genuinely world class acquisition while they have the chance, otherwise this season could go down as a missed opportunity.
Their strength in depth is excellent all over the pitch apart from up top. Suarez could be the missing ingredient Spurs are looking for. Their midfield is up there with the best in the league and they have creativity in abundance, but they do sometimes lack a cutting edge in front of goal against the best that Suarez could help eradicate. Jermain Defoe has been out for long periods so far this term through injury and suspension, and in his absence Peter Crouch has yet to fully stake his claim with just a solitary effort to his name despite 14 league starts. Pavlyuchenko, again while a decent option, is not committed enough to lead the line for a title challenger and his contribution can sometimes be lacking. In short, Spurs could do with Suarez an awful lot. His work-rate, finishing and pace could be a real asset.
However, I feel Liverpool’s need at the minute is greater than Spurs. Whether that means Suarez will rock up at Anfield any time soon though, I’m not so sure and surely if an offer was put to him as to who he’d rather join out of the aforementioned duo, he’d most definitely plump for the sights and sounds of London over Liverpool.
Liverpool are clearly a club on the wane. The cupboard is bare so to speak. They lack quality in so many key positions and have on over-reliance on so few players, that sometimes the burden can be overbearing on their key players. If Torres, Gerrard and Reina don’t perform for them, they rarely succeed in their endeavours.
Interim manager Kenny Dalglish looks like he’ll be given funds to spend this transfer window, but the confusing state of affairs at Anfield as to the identity of the club’s next full-time manager may put off several potential targets from joining the club, as will their dire league position.
This Liverpool side should be doing better, that much is clear. They are no world beaters and they lack the invention and concentration to put in a quality shift for the full 90 minutes at the minute, but there were signs in the first half against Everton in the Merseyside derby last weekend that there is still enough there to work with, and Dalglish, the talismanic club legend, will be hoping his presence can be used as a catalyst to push them higher up the league.
One of the main problems Dalglish has inherited though, a problem that existed under Hodgson and that he did little to remedy, and one that Hodgson himself was passed on to by Benitez, is that Fernando Torres has no discernable competition up front or a strike partner to share the load with.
David N’Gog has a decent strike rate despite his clear limitations and while he can frustrate at times, he’s not too bad a prospect considering he’s only 21 years old and arrived at the club for just £1.5m in 2008. He’d be handy to have around as the club’s third-choice striker. But let’s just say Torres isn’t having any sleepless nights that N’Gog will be keeping him out of the side any time soon. The lack of pressure on Torres has been a downfall of Liverpool‘s management in recent times.
A move for Suarez, which rather unbelievably is looking increasingly likely by the day should the rumours be believed, should reinvigorate Torres while also making a statement of intent that ambition around Anfield is not quite yet consigned to the past. Mediocrity is not something that the Anfield crowd are used to seeing, but that was all they got during the insipid Hodgson era as a state of inertia set in after consistently turgid displays on the pitch.
Dalglish looks to have removed that to an extent already and with the club just the four points above the drop zone, the club’s target of a top six finish looks as far away as ever. But, this is a tightly contested league and Liverpool are just 8 points off sixth-placed Sunderland and with a game in hand. Things can change quickly in the league this season, that much is clear, and with a decent run of results Liverpool could be right back in the thick of it.
Suarez may be faced with a choice; join an emerging, youthful and vibrantly attacking outfit on the up, or try to revive a falling giant. Money talks, and he may not get a straight choice between the two, for the choice would surely be a simple one, but Spurs have other options already within their squad that Liverpool simply don’t possess. If he were to sign, Suarez would unquestionably be Liverpool’s best signing since Torres in 2007 and their need looks greater at the minute, purely because they are performing way below expectations and Spurs are just about performing as they should be.
What does everyone else think? Whose need is greater? Would Torres and Suarez link up well? Will Redknapp have the money to move for Suarez this transfer window?