Liverpool Transfers: Why Michu Would Be the Perfect Foil for Luis Suarez
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We will soon be approaching that time when the transfer window once again opens for action and managers the length and breadth of Planet Football go cap in hand to reluctant club chairmen with lists as long as the Nile of potential new recruits.
Liverpool head coach Brendan Rodgers, being the type of assiduous character that he is, already knows just how many new faces, and who exactly, he wants to bring to Anfield this summer in order to complete Phase Two of the "Rodgers Revolution."
Phase One, of course, took place in the recent January transfer window when both Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge were signed for a combined £20.5 million, however, Rodgers now wants Liverpool’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), to bring "another three or four quality players" to Merseyside so as to avoid the same mistakes that Manchester City made last summer.
Then, the recently-crowned Premier League champions failed to add to their already impressive first-team squad and while they stood still in the transfer market, their rivals did not, with the subsequent consequences there for all to see this campaign.
And FSG must heed this crucial lesson if they are to realise their, Rodgers', the players' and the fans' dream of getting back into the UEFA Champions League next season after what will have been by then a painful five-year absence.
Central to this summer’s transfer strategy is, as Rodgers himself said, bringing in players of "quality, not quantity," one of who must be another attacker to act as a foil for the irreplaceable Luis Suarez.
For starters, despite Sturridge’s recent arrival the Reds are still short of quality players in attack, making them desperately reliant at times on their Uruguay international for goals, inspiration and creativity, while it would also be prudent of the club to start planning for that day when Suarez is no longer a Liverpool player.
Now, although the Northern Irishman may have earmarked three of four new signings, in actual fact the Merseysiders need just two new players this summer, one the aforementioned forward and the other a new centre-back.
However, with a reported transfer kitty of just £20m according to The Telegraph Rodgers must be smart when the window reopens, which in effect means rather than shopping in Selfridges, he will need to start lowering his sights a touch to see what bargains he can pick up in the likes of Primark.
And rather than going for reported striking targets such as Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Gameiro (£10.5m), Fenerbache’s Moussa Sow (£10.5m) or Inter Milan’s Antonio Cassano (£8.8m), via the Daily Mail, Sky Sports and Express respectively, Liverpool would be far better advised spending a similar chunk of that kitty on in-form Swansea City forward Michu (11.5m) to act as Suarez’s sidekick at Anfield next season.
For starters, and perhaps most importantly given the fact that unlike some of his rival top-flight coaches Rodgers cannot afford to make any mistakes in the transfer market given his limited budget, Michu has already proved himself a big hit in the Premier League with Swansea this campaign.
And so Rodgers need not concern himself about splashing FSG’s cash on a technically-accomplished attacker from abroad who then misfires badly in front of goal for some unknown reason as soon as he swaps leagues, a scenario which we have seen happen on numerous occasions over the years.
No, 21 goals in just 38 matches in all competitions for the south Wales club, including 17 strikes in only 30 league appearances, are proof enough that the Spaniard can adapt to the peculiar demands of the English Premier League, something the front man himself touched on earlier this campaign when he noted: "The English style is different to Spain due to the importance on physicality in England.
"But that does not bother me because I am used to being in combat with opposition defenders because that is my game."
So Michu clearly knows where the goal is, that much is clear, however, it is not just the volume of goals that the 27-year-old has scored this campaign, but both the variety of strikes and the importance of those goals that really mark the striker out as something special.
Whether it be tap-ins, volleys, half volleys, long-range strikes, headers, solo runs followed by coolly-taken finishes, or wonder goals, you name it, Michu has scored it this season, while his strikes away at Arsenal in the league and a home to the Gunners in the FA Cup, as well as at Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, demonstrate a big-game temperament that should never be underestimated when buying a player.
Meanwhile, as well as both knowing how to put the ball in the back of the net and being hungry for goals, from a technical point of view the attacker also crucially possesses a tremendous work rate, can hold the ball up well while bringing teammates into play, is exceptionally strong in the air while also being adept on the floor and can lead the line in either a 4-3-3 or simply as a lone front man.
It is the latter point that really marks Michu out as such an attractive new addition to the Liverpool forward line next season, as Rodgers is a coach who absolutely demands the utmost adaptability from all his players, whether they be defenders, midfielders or attackers, as it gives him more options when it comes to team selection.
So, Michu could play as the central striker in a 4-3-3 formation, with Suarez wide left and Sturridge to his right, he could feature as a lone front man, say, in a 4-5-1 lineup, he could play alongside Suarez or Sturridge in a 4-4-2, in the hole supporting either the Uruguay or the English forward (as he has done at times at the Liberty stadium this season behind Danny Graham), or simply not at all.
Which of the following strikers should Liverpool sign next season?
And so it is these multitude of attacking options that Michu provides by his flexibility (remember that he started life out in Spain as a midfield player with Real Oviedo, Celta de Vigo and then Rayo Vallecano) that really make him such an ideal foil for Suarez at Anfield next season.
Meanwhile, do not forget also that at just 27 years of age Michu could be a Liverpool player for a good five more seasons, the best years of his career in effect, which would very much appeal from a business point of view to FSG.
Sturridge, Michu and Suarez up front as an attacking trio at Anfield next season then anybody? Well, the more you think about it, the more sense it actually makes, with the Spaniard potentially being the signing that finally propels Liverpool back into the promised land of the Champions League.
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