Dirk Kuyt, or Mr. Duracell as Rafael Benitez calls him, is one of the great unsung heroes in modern day football.
At the age of 35, Kuyt’s best years are certainly behind him, which makes rumours of a potential move to Barcelona all the more surprising. It would be an extraordinary transfer if it happened, but not an unwise one from the Catalan club.
It is easy to forget that the versatile Dutchman was first and foremost a striker; he made his name at Feyernoord 10 years ago, as one of the most promising centre forwards in Europe. A transfer to Liverpool in the Premier League followed where he teamed up with now Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez.
If anything Kuyt was a victim of his own hard work ethic, for the majority of his Anfield career he was used as a right-winger because of his impressive stamina. This quality endeared him to the Liverpool faithful, as well as his knack for scoring important goals. Kuyt was sold shortly after the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, much to the dismay of many Liverpool fans.
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After three years with Fenerbahce in Turkey, Kuyt has returned to boyhood club Feyernoord where he plans to retire. However, those plans are likely to change if Barcelona’s interest is genuine.
But why would Barcelona want to sign a 35-year-old Dutchman whom many people have forgotten about?
It would be foolish to assume that Kuyt could replace the injured Lionel Messi in attack, but then again it would be foolish to suppose that anyone in world football could replace Messi. Barcelona’s tendency to use a ‘false 9’ formation, particularly in the absence of Messi could actually suit Kuyt.
With enough pace around him, Kuyt could enjoy a similar role to Francesco Totti at Roma, whereby the Italian holds off in attack, allowing the wingers to run ahead of him, before ghosting in to convert chances in the second phase of play. Kuyt may not be as quick off the mark, but a good striker never loses his eye for goal.
Signing Kuyt would be reminiscent of another ageing striker who signed for Barcelona. When Henrik Larsson signed for Barcelona in 2004, he played a bit part in the greatest club team in the world for two years. Like Kuyt, Larsson has a knack for performing on the big occasion. For his final game in a Barcelona shirt he assisted both goals as Barcelona defeated Arsenal in the Champions League final.
Kuyt would bring invaluable experience to a Barcelona team still coping with the departures of Puyol, Valdes and Xavi.
The versatile Dutchman is one of the few players in the world who can guarantee you a good performance in any area of the pitch. For much of the 2014 World Cup, he was used as a ring-wing back, which has become something of a problem position for Barcelona this season.
So before you joke, consider the qualities that a player like Dirk Kuyt could bring to a team, even if that team is one of the best in the world.