Long-time leader Jamie Carragher will see his way out after a long and successful career at Anfield, leaving a gaping hole from both a tactical and leadership perspective. If Liverpool hope to fill that void and solidify a back line that needed some work last term, they have to be proactive on the transfer market.
It’s pretty easy to do that when a defender like Kolo Toure lands in their lap.
Liverpool Football Club can today announce they have agreed a deal in principal with Kolo Toure to join the club on July 1. #LFC— Liverpool FC(@LFC) May 28, 2013
That deal, as reported by Sky Sports, will be a free transfer as Toure’s current contract is set to expire.
What the signing means for Liverpool is simple: Jamie Carragher’s retirement—while still detrimental to the short-term success of the club—won’t be as pronounced with a replacement like Toure in the fold.
Even at 32, the defender’s physical abilities haven’t diminished significantly enough to cause concern over signing him. He’s still a solid centre-back, who, for such a cheap option, will be able to contribute plenty on the pitch.
But the real value in signing Toure is in more than just production and statistics. With Carragher and his 737 matches at Anfield on the way out, Liverpool need a veteran leader who can fill his shoes as a leader and facilitator.
Toure certainly brings a lot of leadership to whichever club he’s a part of. The 32-year-old has previously captained Manchester City, Arsenal and the Ivory Coast National Team, bringing a significant level of experience and intensity with him.
Liverpool still need to continue building on their back line—and in several other positions—if they hope to finish better than seventh in the Premier League next term, but Brendan Rodgers doesn’t exactly have an unlimited budget with which to work this summer.
Before the season came to a close, Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph predicted the Anfield boss will likely have about £20 million to spend:
Unless Liverpool can somehow complete a late surge into the top four, Rodgers’ transfer kitty will again be around the £20 million mark unless he raises more via sales, the inevitable consequence of missing out on the Champions League in testing financial times. His obvious priority is two centre halves to replace Carragher and the out-of-favour Martin Skrtel.
Given his financial restriction, Rodgers could have done much worse in acquiring Toure. Veteran leadership doesn’t often come at a discount, especially not at a position vacated by a true leader like Carragher.
The true test of this signing will involve what Rodgers can do with his remaining budget during the summer transfer period, but there’s very little downside to bringing Toure aboard for the 2013-14 term. At the very least, he should minimize the loss of Carragher and give the Reds a little more depth with which to work.