After Liverpool’s failure to secure Champions League next season, a recent transfer rumour has given Reds supporters something to get excited about.
And although this player is Juventus’ midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, it’s hard to understand why Liverpool supporters even think this signing would be a good idea, yet alone one to cheer about.
The Reds have to make some really exceptional signings this summer, with emphasis firmly on the long-term development of the club if they want to be able to keep up with their top four rivals. You only have to look at how last summer’s eleventh-hour acquisition of Mario Balotelli turned out to see that big name players may impress supporters but they don’t always deliver big impacts on the pitch.
Liverpool’s current squad boasts the young talents of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson, so if the club can hold onto them and continue their positive progression then the next few years should be quite bright at Anfield. But only if they have a decent squad and manager to support them.
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Pirlo is undeniably talented but, with his 36th birthday just days away, they’d be better off offering him a coaching role rather than a shirt number. The Italian has never played in the Premier League, either, which is much more physical than Serie A, and considering his age it might not be an environment in which he’d particularly thrive.
With the Merseyside club just two games away from losing Steven Gerrard, having failed to properly renegotiate a new contract for him ,why would they be interested in signing Pirlo who would only ever be a short-term replacement. If Liverpool’s aim is to adequately replace Gerrard then they should go with someone who is under 30 and can commit to the club for the next few seasons at the very least. Pirlo can’t play forever, despite what some Juventus and Italy supporters hope, and Liverpool will not want to have to replace him in the next two or three years.
This summer Liverpool need to get their transfer dealings completed as early as possible or they’ll be left with the scraps once again. Their reputation across the continent is not what it once was, but there are many young, talented players at home and abroad who still hold the club in high regard
With eyes firmly fixed on the future, a better long-term option to replace Gerrard would be someone like 21-year-old Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan. The Croatian international is a versatile youngster who can play in central midfield or as a deep-lying playmaker. Kovacic has featured for Inter’s first team since signing in January 2013 and although he recently renewed his contract for another five years, he is being heavily linked with Liverpool at a cost of around £15million. The midfielder has impressed in Italy and has many years of football ahead of him, something that Pirlo does not.
Pirlo will be playing a Champions League final and he is on course to win his sixth Serie A title before he’s expected to leave Italian shores for one last adventure. After such a successful season and with another year left on his contract, he could see out his final 12 months or may even accept an extension. But if he does leave Juventus then the more relaxed environment of America’s MLS would be the perfect place to go next.
Numerous top players have gone across the pond to enjoy one last big payday and Pirlo should perhaps do the same. Liverpool need someone who is hungry to prove themselves and win over the supporters, not a player who has seen and done it all and should probably be winding their career down, not learning how to adapt to one of Europe’s most competitive leagues.