Liverpool FC: 3 Transfer Targets for 3 Transfer Days, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
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Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has yet to renew his contract with Schalke '04, and it might be time for Liverpool to flex some muscle to bring in the Dutch goal-scoring machine.
For some clubs, Friday's deadline couldn't come fast enough; others would do everything in their power to stop the world from turning, if only for a few more moments.
29-year-old Huntelaar is at the stage in his career where he has one, maybe two more opportunities, to sign a lucrative contract with a top club.
His resume is sterling, and his goal-scoring record is face melting. He's played in top clubs all over the world including Ajax, Real Madrid, AC Milan and currently Schalke.
In 378 career club appearances, he's scored 249 goals. That's roughly two goals for every three matches. What's more is his best season was last season, so it's not like he was spectacular at a young age and has begun to taper off like so forwards do.
Last season, he scored 48 goals in 47 caps. I'll let you do the math, but that means he scored more often than he appeared. The Hunter, as he's come to be known, scored 29 of those in 32 league matches.
Louis van Gaal, a manager every bit as prolific as Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho, holds Huntelaar in the highest regard. A 2009 article from The Independent compares The Hunter to the great Marco van Basten, and in it van Gaal gives Huntelaar the highest praise:
In the box, he is the best player in the world, bar none.
Huntelaar's most appealing aspect is obviously his ability to bulge the net. He does this by exercising expert control and truly exquisite touch. He can blast them or place them just right.
The Hunter also has a bit of flair about his play style and can be a bit "cheeky" at times. When successful, like a clever back heel, it can electrify the crowd and uplift his side. When unsuccessful, it costs potential points.
As good as he is with the ball at his feet, Huntelaar also has a quality header and can direct a ball away from the keeper when the occasion calls for it.
In fitting with Rodgers' system, the Dutch international can also hold the ball and open up play for team mates.
While there aren't many to his game, the Dutchman does have a few draw backs that Rodgers might take issue with.
He's not the fastest forward around, not by any means. Would he be able to keep up with pacey wingers the likes of Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez? Even though Liverpool's mantra is no longer to knock it forward and give chase, a bit of pace wouldn't hurt a forward in Rodgers' system.
Huntelaar, for all of his many qualities and at times, brilliant positioning, might not always go after the ball. He seems much more comfortable letting it come to him. This may or may not be a draw back for the new Reds' system, but it is a point worth mentioning.
Signing a 29-year-old to the Premier League, regardless of how good he's performed in other leagues, goes against the youth movement that Rodgers is carrying on with at Anfield.
We did point out that this could be Huntelaar's last big time deal before he does begin to taper off. So, the question to ask is: Would Liverpool be getting a player at his peak for a couple of years, or a player that is all downhill from here?
Those numbers are hard to match, and even more so in the EPL.
There's no doubt that Huntelaar is a world-class finisher. That point is not up for debate. The aptly named Hunter could provide that killer instinct so lacking with the Reds calculated attack, but at what price?
If the price is reasonable, and Rodgers can free up the funds, Klaas-Jan does provide a very intriguing target. He certainly looks more potent on paper than Daniel Sturridge, also targeted by Rodgers.
If the price is in the neighborhood of £15 million pounds, Rodgers' would have to really be in love with him to sign him at this stage in his career.
That said, if the Northern Irishman can offload Andy Carroll for £15 - 20 million and replace him with Huntelaar, it wouldn't be the worst trade off in the world. You have to figure a front man like Huntelaar would at least fit in a lot better than Andy Carroll.
Rodgers has pretty much run the gamut with his four signings so far. He brought in a bargain winger with huge upside potential in Oussama Assaidi. He triggered a lofty buy out clause for Joe Allen, who has proved to worth every penny so far, but it's still early. He signed one the most promising young midfielders on loan from all-world Real Madrid in Nuri Sahin, and he brought in a familiar face in Fabio Borini.
Would Klass-Jan Huntelaar be a hit at Anfield?
The latest reports have Liverpool and Bolton agreeing to a £3 million transfer for Jay Spearing, according to the Daily Mail.
Joe Cole looked set to make a return to West Ham on loan, but that potential move is being called into question by The Evening Standard. There's still time yet for the 30-year-old to find his place in today's EPL, but Friday night is fast-approaching.
It still remains to be seen if Newcastle are going to up their offer on Andy Carroll, and that seems to be the crux of Rodger's ability to buy more talent.
Clint Dempsey's story is seemingly changing by the hour, but the latest has Sunderland seriously pursuing the 29-year-old, according to the Daily Mail. If that ends up being the play, then Dempsey might be better staying put at Fulham. Everyone is waiting for Liverpool to table an official bid, but as each day passes, it seems more and more unlikely.
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