With the Dutch press suggesting that new Ajax manager Frank De Boer will allow striker Luis Suarez in the January transfer window, I thought it might be interesting to look at the controversial Uruguayan striker in more detail. I have underlined three reasons below that make me uncertain over whether a move for him would be a good idea:
Courting Controversy – Two incidents over the last year have seen Luis Suarez being thrust into the limelight for the wrong reasons. The first came during the World Cup quarter final against Ghana. He handled the ball deliberately on the line in the last minute of extra time and was sent off. He was then seen celebrating when Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting spot kick leading to a penalty shoot-out which Uruguay won. Suarez has ever since been labelled a “cheat” or unsportsmanlike.
The second incident came back in November in a league game against PSV Eindhoven. After an argument between the players, Suarez bit opponent Otman Bakkal on the shoulder. The 23 year old was fined and was given a seven match ban by the Dutch FA. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf pronounced him to be the “Cannibal of Ajax.”
Goal scoring record – The biggest doubt of course for any striker coming from Holland to the Premier League is whether they have the ability to continue their excellent goal scoring record they had in the Eredivisie. Mateja Kezman and Alfonso Alves are just two names that come to mind, who had excellent goal scoring records in Holland, but failed to impress in the Premier League. Suarez has an excellent goalscoring record for Ajax with 81 league goals in the last three and half years, but will this be replicated in England?
Before his lengthy suspension, Suarez had gone nine matches without scoring a goal and had only scored 1 goal in five Champions League matches. European competition is where standards are highest and his record in this season’s group stage was not great, although he had success in previous seasons in the Europa League. The biggest deciding factor if he is to be successful, will be down to his technical and physical attributes. In this area though I think Suarez will be fine as he can hold up the ball as well as having a fair bit of pace.
Partnering Fernando Torres – Another question mark is whether Suarez and Fernando Torres could be partnered together at Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish has already reverted back to playing 4-5-1 and I doubt Suarez would be comfortable playing in any other position other than alongside Torres. The Uruguayan does not have the physical qualities to play as a lone striker like Torres nor would it be easy for him to play out of position in the two wide areas. A change back to 4-4-2 would be necessary and the question becomes, would Suarez compliment Torres in the forward line?
Certainly they bring different attributes to the party. Suarez likes coming deep for the ball and getting involved in build up play, while Torres likes getting in behind defences. I still would however prefer a different stronger, target man figure alongside Torres, so the Spaniard could feed off knock downs and be free to play his own game rather than be the sole target man himself. Suarez would be a different partner but I could see the partnership working out.