After the abysmal showing put forth by Stewart Downing this season, it is abundantly clear that Liverpool are in desperate need of an effective wide man.
Downing failed to live up to his £20 million price tag, and now it is up to the owners (and whoever the new manager will be) to find a replacement.
2011/2012 was a breakout season for hot-shot 19-year-old Iker Muniain. The "Spanish Messi" scored 10 goals and provided 10 assists across all competitions this season for Athletic Bilbao—10 more in each category than Stewie.
Even though his transfer value has inflated over the season—according to transfermarkt.co.uk, Muniain is worth £17.5 million—Fenway Sports Group should seriously consider signing the explosive left winger.
Here are three reasons why Iker Muniain would be the perfect summer signing for Liverpool.
Let's start with the obvious—at 19 years of age, Iker Muniain is already better than the wide players Liverpool currently has on their roster.
Stewart Downing might as well not even be on the pitch week in and week out.
Jordan Henderson is still developing, but he's playing out of position.
Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez, even though they work hard, are advancing in years, and their offensive output isn't where it should be (perhaps it would be if Kenny Dalglish had kept them on the field consistently).
Muniain is fast, explosive and visionary—everything the current Liverpool wideout corps lacks.
The photo above is Muniain lying in defeat after the Europa League final.
Nineteen years old and performing in a major European final. He can only go up.
Muniain is positively oozing with potential. Even though he is only a teenager, he takes the field like a seasoned veteran. As he grows older, he become even more intuitive; his already stellar passing and vision will only get better, and his goal count will grow.
Liverpool needs someone they can mold and shape into a lethal wide threat. Jordan Henderson has shown flashes of becoming that player, but Muniain has already consistently shown that potential. If FSG can manage to snap him up before Manchester United does, they will have the wide man they need to bombard the penalty box for years to come.
The aforementioned interest from Manchester United is due to Muniain's performances against the Red Devils in the Europa League, in which Los Leones ousted the Manchester club from Europe.
Muniain bossed the left side of the field all night, tearing the Manchester United defense apart with his quick, incisive passing and his explosive quickness along the touchline.
The young Spaniard knows how to command his area of the pitch and knows how to share the ball effectively, so the rest of the Liverpool squad would benefit from the teenager's accurate pass delivery.
I can only imagine how lethal a Suarez/Gerrard/Muniain-led attack would be.
Of course, this is just my humble opinion.
There are many players that have been linked to Liverpool in the last couple weeks, and there is no doubt that there will be many more over the course of the summer.
Who do you think would be the perfect summer signing for the Reds? I would love to read suggestions!
Thanks for reading! Cheers, and YNWA!