Liverpool Transfers: Why Victor Wanyama Would Be a Good Summer Buy for the Reds
Liverpool and transfers seem to go together so well; why else would the gossip sections of the media be crowded with the Reds and linked players, months before the window even opens?
Usually we can discount a majority of players who are linked with Liverpool as unsuitable, unlikely or unthinkable. Once in a while, though, names do appear which would seem to benefit the first team enormously, at a reasonable enough price and seemingly a tactical fit.
Here are five reasons why Wanyama would be a very good signing for the Reds this summer.
The Basics: Age, Cost, Resaleability
It is clear that pretty much all Liverpool transfers have to meet a set of basic criteria these days; the player has to bring value to the side, be of an age whereby he could still improve technically and tactically and also be a young enough player so that he could be potentially sold on again, further down the line, and provide some kind of income.
Should he not be sold, Liverpool would want several years of quality service from the player, so the age remains an important factor.
Wanyama turns 22 in the summer, making him a prime candidate for consideration; he has amassed over 150 senior games already, plenty of experience for a youngster, as well as 12 international caps. While he would cost significantly more than the estimated £1 million Celtic paid for him, he would still represent something of a coup if he could be signed for in the £5-£10 million region.
Given that he already has Champions League experience, has been targeted by several clubs outside of Scotland and has stated he will not renew his deal with Celtic (via Yahoo!), there is a great chance he will be sold this summer, reducing Celtic's power to demand a high fee.
Fills a Problem Position Nicely but with Added Versatility
First and foremost, Liverpool would presumably be looking to utilise Wanyama as a central midfielder.
With the likes of Lucas, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and others at the club, it's not a position which would perhaps be thought of as a "problem area" of the pitch, but recent performances, and goals conceded over the course of the season, indicate that there are still improvements to be made.
Wanyama would bring real quality and drive to the centre of midfield, but he would also offer an important variety at times; he has performed many times this season for Celtic as a central defender.
Not only will Liverpool be looking to bring in a centre-back or two this summer, which Wanyama might be able to double up as cover for, but he would also allow in-game tactical variations to occur when it suited manager Brendan Rodgers.
A quick switch to a back three could take place by simply shifting Wanyama backward or bringing an additional defender into the game from the bench to push the Celtic man forward into midfield.
Brings a Lot of What Liverpool's Midfield Lacks
Bottom line: Liverpool have been too soft in midfield for too long.
The departures of Javier Mascherano and Momo Sissoko left a gaping hole in the Reds' centre of the park, and though the likes of Lucas and Gerrard bring their own abilities, and plenty of them, neither are constantly snapping away at the opposition and pressing the play like a machine in midfield.
Wanyama is perfectly capable of doing both.
An interesting, though not strictly necessary, addition that he would bring to midfield would be that of a comfortable left-footer. It's not a requirement by any means, but it would open up play at times rather quickly when the ball moves left-to-right across the centre of the park than the Reds' all-right-foot midfielders do at present.
A big aerial presence would also be a welcome addition to the Liverpool midfield, who are far too timid in the challenge on occasion and do not pose a major goal threat from set pieces.
Attainable for Liverpool, Even Without European Football
Where Liverpool may yet struggle this season in the transfer market is in convincing targets to join them over other potential suitors.
With some players, however, that may not be such a problem.
It is now extremely unlikely that Liverpool will play in next season's Champions League, while even the Europa League may prove a step too far since the Reds must reach fifth place, overcoming Everton and Arsenal in the process.
Even so, Wanyama is currently playing in Scotland, something of a backwater of football right now with the demotion of Glasgow Rangers and the lack of serious competition for Celtic. Though they featured in the Champions League this season, and will again next, there is a great chance that Wanyama would trade in eight or 10 competitive fixtures a season at Celtic to play 40 or so at Liverpool.
He is within the right price range, is a young player who can improve further and can slot in to a similarly young side as himself and help the team grow.
It looks a must-do deal for Liverpool to look to.
Improving the Defensive Third Helps Balance out the Attack
Liverpool have looked irresistible at times going forward this season, especially since late January, but they have also been undone by a lack of balance sometimes between the front four and the rest of the team.
With Luis Suarez playing in the "10" role recently, a lack of energy and pressing ability in midfield has proved costly, especially against Southampton where the Reds were outnumbered and outfought.
In the same way as having Momo Sissoko back in the day was worth having an extra midfielder on account of his work levels and unending stamina, so would Wanyama provide a similar edge to the team. It would allow Rodgers to continue with a more attack-minded front quartet at times; not always, but certainly when the opposition was deemed to be weaker.
Wanyama would also operate in a role of midfield positions—the true holding player in front of the defence, a box-to-box midfielder showcasing his full range of athletic talents and as a more progressive midfielder helping Liverpool press as high up the field as possible.
In each of these roles, he would allow others to be more effective and have more time on the ball, making him an important part of the team and an extremely effective summer signing.