Liverpool Transfer News: Grading Simon Mignolet Move and Reds' Summer Additions
Liverpool have no doubt learned from the failures of last summer, as they are close to snapping up their fourth purchase of the summer.
The transfer of Simon Mignolet appears imminent. The Daily Mail's Simon Jones reported the Reds agreed to a £9 million fee with Sunderland for the 25-year-old Belgian goalkeeper. Brendan Rodgers went so far as to speak with talkSPORT about what Mignolet's role with the club would be:
Our squad was very thin last year and it was great we were able to introduce a few young players from our academy, but it’s very important that we have competition in every position and that wasn’t always the case.
Pepe Reina and I went out for a meal a couple of months before the end of the season and I told him exactly what we were going to do, which was to provide real competition in that area.
He was fully aware of my intention over the course of the last few months. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to Pepe.
Mignolet would certainly be a much better option than Brad Jones. Jones did well when called upon, but it was clear he's not good enough if the Reds want to move up the table.
An optimal option would be Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but that's just unrealistic. Of the players available to Liverpool, Mignolet was as good it was going to get.
Whom is the best purchase so far for Liverpool?
He's been steadily improving at Sunderland, and his performance last season was a bit lost in the Black Cats' relegation fight.
The only real issue that could crop up for the club is if Pepe Reina wants more first-team football. It's easy for him to welcome in a new player now. If he continues to lose playing time, that could turn into a problem. That's only a hypothetical at this point, though.
Should this move happen as expected, it would have to be an "A-." Mignolet is a very good keeper and would fit in very well with the club.
Here are grades for the Reds' other three summer transfers.
Kolo Toure: B
You kind of forget about this move, both because it happened so early in the summer and that Kolo Toure is actually still playing football.
The club will sign the 32-year-old centre-back on a free when he is officially released by Manchester City on July 1. Toure has only made 51 Premier League appearances over the last three seasons for City, so the writing was on the wall as to his future with that club.
With Jamie Carragher retiring, the Reds replaced one aging centre-back with another. It's a move that makes a lot of sense because Toure can still play a key role for a team coming off the bench and making the occasional start.
The purchase gets the grade it does because there are still a lot of questions regarding the back four. Until the club gets a better centre-back, you can't fully judge the success of the Toure purchase.
If the Reds add a younger, more talented defender, then Toure will in fact just be cover and he's the perfect substitute for Carragher.
If the club sticks with what it has, only signing Toure will look poor as it isn't enough to address the defensive issues.
Iago Aspas: A
The 25-year-old striker only has one year of first-division experience as he has played at Celta Vigo his entire career. Last season, Aspas scored 12 goals and assisted on another five. Those numbers aren't bad considering he made the jump from the Segunda to La Liga. Celta were also almost relegated, so it's not as if he had a great supporting cast.
Aspas has a lot of versatility on the pitch. He can play as a target man at centre-forward and score himself, or he can drop a little deeper and run at the opposition while setting his teammates up to score.
He'll fit into Rodgers' system very well. Aspas can handle the ball well enough, and his movement is superb.
The only issue with Aspas could be his attitude. He's a bit of a character, and that can sometimes lead to problems on the pitch. Aspas had five yellow cards and a red last season. Having dealt with Luis Suarez, though, Rodgers will have experience dealing with a temperamental striker.
Luis Alberto: B
Alberto had a great season for Barcelona B in the Segunda Division last season, scoring 11 goals and recording 18 assists.
You can't get too overboard with this signing, though. Alberto has played little in the first division. At 20 years old, there's still no telling where his career could go or what his actual potential is.
It's a good move that still has a chance of ending up poorly for the club. After a few years, you'll get a much more accurate grade for this signing.
One thing that is funny about this move is people are knocking Liverpool for signing an inexperienced youngster, while giving Manchester United a free pass on Wilfried Zaha. Alberto is arguably just as prepared for first-division football as Zaha, and he came in for less than the £10 million Manchester United paid up front for Zaha.
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