Former Liverpool Player John Arne Riise on His Way out of the Premier League?

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIJanuary 16, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: John Arne Riise (L) of Fulham celebrates with Clint Dempsey of Fulham after Dempsey scores the first goal of the match during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Norwich City at Craven Cottage on March 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

After spending 10 years in the Premier League, news emerges today that former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise is on his way out at current club Fulham.

Due to an alleged spat with manager Martin Jol, the out-of-favour Norwegian has been told he can leave the club this month. With the transfer window still very much open, there is opportunity for him to look elsewhere. 

Now at the age of 32, Riise may only have a handful of years left in him. You can't help but feel that his decision of where to go, needs to be made from a logical and progressive viewpoint. He needs to ensure he goes where he can play his style of football. 

Fulham are good at what they do. The Craven Cottage team bulldozed their way into the Premiership and immediately set themselves up as a team who were hard to score against. They didn't need to net a bounty of goals themselves, as their clean sheet consistency ensured they remained in England's top flight.

John Arne Riise, as a contrast, could be regarded as an attacking defender. 

For a period of time, Fulham had Clint Dempsey in their ranks; a player who could score a multitude of goals per season, and as a result, represented a facet of Fulham's game that could push them firmly into the top half. When the American left for Tottenham last year you expected that Fulham would quietly slip back into their normal form. 

If you look at Riise's journey at Liverpool, and to a lesser degree his time at Roma, you do wonder where he was expected to fit in the Fulham lineup.

At Anfield, Riise was a player who could run at the opposition. His thunderous strikes on goal became a familiar sight, which anyone other than Alan Smith, could see the potential in.

For anyone picking Riise for their fantasy football team, you could gain plenty of points from a player who scored more goals than your average defender. 

As his years have advanced, it is certain that Riise's pace and power will have seen a reduction. Yet it is worth noting that in his two years at Craven Cottage he failed to muster a single entry onto the Fulham score sheet.

If you compare this to his seven goals at Roma and 21 at Liverpool, you get a glimpse as to the sort of defender he has become. 

I have always wondered what would have happened to Riise had he stayed at Anfield. As an integral part of the Champions League-winning campaign in 2005, his exit from the club seemed born out of a dip in form that combined with an own goal that sent Liverpool out of the 2007-08 campaign. 

Liverpool have not since reached the dizzy heights of the Champions League final four, and in part this is due to the total disappointment of the players brought in, who were promised to be stronger than the likes of Riise, but ultimately weren't.  

If Riise does now decide to leave Craven Cottage, he needs to select a team that will utilise the best he has to offer. He should not just be a defender fighting from the danger area. He needs to be at a club where his full attacking potential can also be recognised.