Scouting Report: Liverpool Transfer Target Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu
Even if the rumours are false, the purpose of this slideshow is to provide Liverpool fans what they need to know about Badu.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu's Strengths and Weaknesses
If not for Maicon Marques choking from 12 yards out, in the process relinquishing the chance to win Brazil the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu would not have become a Ghanaian hero by converting the winning penalty.
It was a Hollywood ending for Badu, who was named an outstanding player, per the FIFA technical study group: "Organiser, tremendous physical capacity, excellent defensive player and ball-winner."
However, he hasn't been as effective at senior level.
Aside from being a 2012 FIFA Puskas Award (goal of the year) nominee, Badu hasn't made much noise with his performances.
He is a bit-part player at Udinese.
He averaged 13.8 minutes per game under then-Udinese manager Pasquale Marino. While his playing time increased significantly (61.6 minutes per game) under current manager Francesco Guidolin, Badu has yet to find a niche.
His job is to break up play, yet he has never averaged 3.5 tackles or more in a season.
Badu is content with recycling possession, but his pass completion percentage (84) is not good enough for a conservative passer—it needs to be in the 90s like Lucas Leiva (91.5).
Badu has been distinctly average for Udinese.
Is Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu Liverpool Quality?
Subjectively speaking, the high football IQ speculated Liverpool transfer target Yann M'Vila exhibited when he was in the right frame of mind is not there when you watch Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.
The game came easily to M'Vila prior to his misdemeanours and being a 2012 Ballon de Plomb nominee (derisive award given to worst or most disappointing Ligue 1 player of the year; M'Vila, a world-class talent who lost his way, filled the latter category).
Badu is a reactive player relying heavily on speed to make up for his inability to read the game expertly.
When he is behind play, he loses concentration, which was what happened in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Burkina Faso. He dilly-dallied on the ball and was tackled, which led to Burkinabe centre-forward Aristide Bance scoring.
MTNFootball.com constructively criticised Badu's performances:
The Italy-based midfielder was expected to be one of the players to carry the Black Stars to the final of the tournament but failed to meet the high expectation.
That is not to say he failed completely as there are positives he can pick from his performances especially in the first match against DR Congo.
He was caught out of position in subsequent matches and was unusually slow in recovering to support the defensive midfielders.
He will continue to be a key player of the team but must work harder and be aware of team tactics at all times.
Badu would not even make Everton's starting XI, let alone being Liverpool quality.
Gareth Barry, on loan from Manchester City, is a better passer, provides a more physical presence and has more experience.
Meanwhile, James McCarthy, an all-round midfielder, is a Roberto Martinez loyalist having followed the manager from Wigan Athletic to Everton.
Trying to Explain the Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu Transfer Rumours
The timing of Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu being linked with Liverpool and Everton (as per talkSPORT) is dubious.
In seven Serie A games dating back to last November, he has started and finished the game on the bench six times, so it was strange to see Jamie Sanderson at the Metro report on December 29, 2013: "[Badu] has been personally recommended to Rodgers by his European scouts."
Therefore the rumours of Badu leaving for the Premier League might have originated from his agent.
It is an ultimatum to Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin: Play Badu every week or lose him.
If there is an Udinese player Liverpool should target, it is Allan, one of the most dominant midfielders in Serie A this season. Allan can tackle, cut off passes, dribble and create. If he works on his attacking productivity, he will be in Arturo Vidal's class.
Badu is just a stock-standard player, which is why he is dispensable in the eyes of Guidolin.
Sochaux manager Herve Renard could be the man who revamps Badu's career. Renard, who won the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as manager of Zambia, just recently signed Badu's compatriot, Jordan Ayew, on loan from Marseille, as Sky Sports reported.
"He [Badu] is one player I admire so much," Renard said in February 2012, as per GNA (h/t Goal.com). "He has an amazing spirit and has matured into a very good player."
If Renard still holds that view, Badu should force a move to Sochaux.