Football FanCast guest columnist Geoff Phillips feels that David Silva would more than soften the blow of losing Xabi Alonso.
I will be amazed if there isn't a Sunday newspaper tomorrow that won't be running some story about Xabi Alonso and his possible move to Madrid.
The media both in Spain and England have more than played their part in engineering these negotiations and although I believe that Alonso's head has been turned and he will probably move to the Spanish capital in the next few days, I really feel there has been far too much negativity from certain sections of the Liverpool fans about the result of losing someone of Xabi's influence – Yes I would hate to see him leave, but to suggest it is all doom and gloom is wide off the mark. There are alternatives out there, especially one of the Spanish variety.
In the past week we have been heavily linked with the Italian Alberto Aquilani and why Roma initially denied that he will be sold, have since changed their stance and would be prepared to do business should a decent fee come in. Aquilani certainly has good qualities and he is similar to Xabi in style, but for a long time I have felt that David Silva would be the ideal player to come in, albeit that Rafa may have to adapt the system somewhat to facilitate him.
Silva as we know is extremely versatile, playing on either wing or centrally behind a striker. Although Xabi plays his game in a slightly deeper role alongside Mascherano and to great effect, I have always felt that at times the formation was restrictive and as a result we have lacked that drive and runner from midfield that can take on players and help out both Gerrard and Torres. Torres in particular has always championed the efforts of Benayoun and the way he brings a cutting edge from midfield; something that you don't necessarily get all the time from Alonso, as that isn't really his game. I think at times last season, especially at home during our dodgy run of draws we just use to keep possession and yet didn't have that one player who could bring something different from midfield to open the opposition up. When Benayoun was brought in during the latter third of the season, things started to open up from midfield and why Yossi has great abilities, David Silva is a far better player.
I accept that to accommodate Silva it may mean that Rafa has to revert to a more diamond shape in midfield with Mascherano simply the anchor man, but I can see it actually bringing a more positive and dynamic look to the midfield with Silva simply there to provide the ammunition and pulling the strings for the front two. We are all aware of how well Silva links up with David Villa so the prospect of both him and Gerrard in close proximity around Torres will certainly see us as more of a threat going forward and give us a greater chance of opening up the more stubborn defences that we continually find parking the bus at Anfield.
So do you agree that Silva would represent the ideal replacement for Alonso, should he indeed move to Madrid? Do you think that we could benefit in a change of system in midfield in order to help the front two and unlock those stubborn defences? Obviously in my eyes the answer to both these questions is yes and should we get the £30m that we are holding out for from Madrid then we should have at least half of the money left after purchasing Silva to enhance and strengthen the squad elsewhere.
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