Why Iago Aspas to Liverpool Is the Most Fascinating Transfer Story of the Week

Laura Greene@@Greene_LFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2013

Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas.
Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas according to the Liverpool Echo, who report the striker will be traveling to England next week to discuss personal terms. 

His name may not be one of the star attractions in football gossip columns and there's a chance you might never have heard of him.

However, Aspas to Anfield could prove to be one of the most interesting moves of the summer, as much for his skill as for who he might be about to replace.

Aspas has scored 12 goals and registered five assists for Celta in 2012/13. He has been one of the key players in a relegation-threatened season for a side that has netted just 36 goals between them.

Primarily a striker, Aspas cannot be pigeon-holed as such. Technically gifted and blessed with great vision, he's best classed as an all-rounder. The Spaniard frequently drops deep, works the channels and can operate on both flanks. He also plays provider, taking on the playmaker role with ease.

Described by the Mirror’s David Cartlidge:

"The 25-year-old plays each game like it’s his last, getting in the faces of opponents and going to the ends of the earth for his team. He’s energy, enthusiasm, and endeavour. But he’s also skill and sublime."

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague said of the striker on Twitter:

While very different in terms of physique and style, it’s impossible not to reference Michu, who signed for Swansea from Rayo Vallecano in summer 2012. If Aspas can have as big an influence at Anfield as Michu has had at the Liberty Stadium, Liverpool fans will consider him a snip at £7.7 million.

However, did Brendan Rodgers buy Aspas as cover for Luis Suarez? Or was he bought in to replace the Uruguayan?

It’s an intriguing debate.

Suarez, who scored 23 goals in the Premier League for Liverpool this term, will face six games on the sidelines next season, as part of a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

The 26-year-old is an asset and a liability, all rolled into one.

Suarez has regularly been the subject of speculation linking him with a move away from Anfield. The bite incident, coupled with Liverpool’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League, left many thinking that he had played his last game in a Liverpool shirt.

He was quoted in the Independent in March, as saying:

"If another team comes around with more prospects of competing in international club competition games, which is willing to have me, they are welcome. We would talk to the club, we would see if I want to go, if I don't want to go."

Suarez has been linked with Juventus in the Daily Mail, and Bayern Munich have also been linked with the striker in the Express.

But it's speculation linking him to Real Madrid that seems to be gathering momentum. Rumours were already circulating back in January, according to the People.  

However, this week saw the clearest indication yet that Suarez may be about to leave Merseyside. In an interview with Uruguayan radio station 890 Sport (via the Guardian) he hinted that criticism from the English press may force him to exit the Premier League.

In Andy Hunter's article for the Guardian, Suarez also conceded that it would be hard to decline an offer to join Real Madrid:

"To say no to Madrid would always be difficult and more so with the team they have. I have a contract with Liverpool, but it would be very difficult to say no to Real Madrid. There are a lot of rumours in the transfer period, but you never know until firm offers are made."

And it seems that in this case, there has been no mistranslation of the radio interview. The Guardian’s Sid Lowe tweeted:


Aspas can also be accused of being hot-headed, having received a four-match ban himself this season for a headbutt in the Galician derby against Deportivo La Coruna, as reported on ESPNfc.com.

It will be interesting to see if both he and Suarez will be at Liverpool next season.

Aspas will sign a deal with Liverpool after appearing in Celta Vigo’s last game of the season against Espanyol this weekend and, if the Spanish side are relegated, Liverpool could see his fee reduced to £6 million.