Liverpool seem to be closing in on a fifth transfer signing of the summer with a loan move for Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho.
Jamie Sanderson of the Metro reports that the Reds are close to bringing him to Anfield on a one-year loan deal with an option for a permanent deal at the end of the 2013-14 season.
A former Porto and Lyon defender, Cissokho signed last summer for Valencia in a £5.3 million deal but is looking like making a switch to the Premier League after just one season in La Liga. The Reds are expected to pay around £850,000 to loan him for the year, with a £3.5 million payment due later to make the signing permanent.
While Brendan Rodgers has already added significant numbers to the midfield and attack since becoming Liverpool manager last year, Cissokho would become the first defender that Rodgers has spent money on, following the free transfer signing of Kolo Toure earlier this summer.
Of course, Liverpool's defence is still in rebuild mode with the manager publicly admitting he is interested in signing a new central defender, but left-back was certainly an important area to strengthen in, and Cissokho's supposed signing would be a welcome boost to the club.
For two seasons, Jose Enrique has been the only real senior option available on a regular basis to the first team.
Jack Robinson has provided cover in lesser cup matches but has yet to be really stepped up to filling in as cover, while a variety of other players have filled in at times, including Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson.
Not only were the Reds lacking depth, then, which a second senior player would help solve, but also there is an unavoidable truth that, as a first-choice option, Jose Enrique is not up to the required standard for a possession-based, attack-minded team either on a technical or a tactical level.
Is Cissokho the man to take the Reds up a level in that position?
Lyon certainly thought he had that level of quality when they paid more than £14 million for him in 2009. Cissokho hasn't quite gone on to be the explosive, skillful left-back they envisaged at that point, but his solitary cap for France is more to do with the depth available to the national team than Cissokho's own ability level.
He's a solid and dependable character when facing his own goal, has great pace and stamina and is adventurous in the positions he takes up when his team is in possession. Not known as a great crosser of the ball, Cissokho prefers to find a pass infield and move quickly into space rather than attempt to beat multiple men himself.
He would represent a good addition to Liverpool's squad, as he'll fill the tactical role of a full-back in Rodgers' team well by forwarding at pace, making the most of space and finding—quickly, as a key improvement over Jose Enrique—a more creative teammate infield.
The Valencia defender's ability to hold width high up the pitch will open up gaps for the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling to exploit centrally, while still pulling the opposition full-back wide to create gaps between the defensive line.
He's a good fit for Liverpool, a step-up in terms of first team action and squad depth and if the reported fees to be paid are correct, potentially an absolute steal.
Liverpool's good work this summer in the transfer market looks set to continue—though fans will still be hoping to soon step this up from "good" to "great", with the big-name signings yet to come.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!