Liverpool need to spend smart in the summer on wide players who will produce the goods.
Director of football Damien Comolli is a stats man, so surely he is aware that left-winger Stewart Downing has yet to score or provide an assist in 2,116 Premier League minutes.
Manager Kenny Dalglish has tried Downing, Jordan Henderson and Dirk Kuyt on the right flank to no avail.
The transfer fee of each seven wide players on my list range from a free transfer to a maximum of £15 million.
Rather than give you false hope by listing the likes of Eden Hazard, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Iker Muniain, James Rodríguez, Lucas Moura, Mario Götze and Nicolás Gaitán—here are seven alternative names.
I've seen quite a bit of Hiroshi Kiyotake and I'm sure he'll be the next Japanese star to make it big in Europe.
With his pace, his dribbling ability and vision, it will be a surprise if he isn't playing in Europe by 2014.
I believe he is better as an attacking midfielder, but he is comfortable on the right wing.
In a friendly against South Korea, he came off the bench and whipped in two assists in two minutes.
For whatever reason, Japanese clubs don't seem to value their best assets, so Liverpool should take advantage of Kiyotake.
Dortmund bought Kagawa for £290,000 and now they have a world-class footballer.
|Hidetoshi Nakata (1998)||Bellmare Hiratsuka||Perugia||£2 million
|Shunsuke Nakamura (2002)||Yokohama F. Marinos||Reggina||£1.7 million|
|Keisuke Honda (2008)||Nagoya Grampus||VVV-Venlo||Free transfer|
|Shinji Kagawa (2010)||Cerezo Osaka||Borussia Dortmund||£290,000|
Blackburn Rovers hit the jackpot when Junior Hoilett, an academy graduate, showed the world how talented he is.
It's unbelievable that Hoilett, in his final year of his contract, will be allowed to leave in the summer for free. It should have been an easy £5-10 million profit for Rovers.
This is what happens when you have owners like the Venkys who have no idea what they're doing. Hoilett has played a handful of games centrally and shown how efficient he is—three goals and an assist in five games. He plays better as an inside-out winger than as a traditional winger.
Here's how he compares to Liverpool's own Stewart Downing:
|Junior Hoilett||Stewart Downing|
* Premier League only.
What I love most about Patrick Herrmann isn't the fact he can beat defenders at will or his positional awareness, but his defensive capabilities.
He averages 2.1 tackles per game, compared to Glen Johnson's 1.9 average.
Herrmann showed glimpses of world-class ability when he inspired Borussia Mönchengladbach to a 3-1 win over Bayern Munich.
Twente manager Steve McClaren has some wonderkids in Luuk de Jong, Leroy Fer and Ola John.
John's raw ability and incisive crossing is a sight to behold.
He seems to know where to move, when to dribble, when to pass and when to shoot—but he's only 19.
Whereas Jordan Henderson looks as lost out wide as Antonio Núñez.
If you thought what Gareth Bale did to Maicon was bad, you should have seen Luciano Narsingh utterly destroy this poor kid named Martijn de Vries.
Forget about the amount of crosses and amount of times he dribbled past de Vries, I think Narsingh may have accumulated four or five assists. It was that game where Bas Dost scored five against Excelsior.
Narsingh has scored 10 goals and provided 21 assists in 33 games this season.
In case you don't know who Dries Mertens is, he's No. 14 on the left flank.
Mertens has been sensational as an inside-out wide forward—with 23 goals and 22 assists in 42 games.
He's world class in the Eredivisie but can he be world class in a stronger league?