It looks like Liverpool are done playing second fiddle to some of the big boys of the Premier League, as talkSPORT reports that Brendan Rodgers is planning to steal one of Manchester United's transfer targets in Nicolas Gaitan.
Good for him. After years spent in mediocrity, Rodgers has done an excellent job of restoring some of the pride that comes with being a Liverpool supporter.
The Reds are on the rise in the EPL hierarchy once again, and winning a bid for a top talent against one of your competitors is the logical next step.
As long as it isn't Gaitan.
The Benfica striker has been one of United's targets for a while now, so it would only make sense for Rodgers to at least see what the fuss is about.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe wrote a comprehensive scouting report on the Argentinian striker back in 2012. At the time, Gaitan was seen as a talented winger with the potential to become a good, but not great player. Tighe writes:
He's definitely not world class or the best option out there, but he's also not going to cost the mega bucks that most would.
He has a few extra qualities, but ultimately he isn't that different to the wide personnel already on the books at Old Trafford and can't be considered an upgrade on Antonio Valencia
My concerns about his position in the team remain, but at the very least he's an upgrade on Ashley Young.
The words "can't be considered an upgrade over Antonio Valencia" should be Rodgers' first red flag.
However, that was 2012. Since then, Gaitan has barely made any progress. In fact, he has regressed.
According to WhoScored.com, the winger has scored four total goals for Benfica this season, including just two in the Portuguese Liga Sagres. If Gaitan were a young prospect, those numbers would be meaningless and we'd be spending more time analysing film.
The problem is that he's 26. He's not a young talent learning how to play the game at a high level or a kid growing into his body. He's an attacker in his peak years who's not scoring.
He's averaging just a single dribble per game with a 76 percent pass completion percentage. Those numbers aren't terrible, but Gaitan would reportedly cost a team £16 million, per talkSPORT. For that price, you'd be expecting something more than "not terrible."
Busby MFC doesn't seem all that impressed either:
I don't really rate Gaitan from what I've seen; only a few games but still not impressed.— Busby MUFC (@BusbyMUFC) November 3, 2013
Gaitan has a number of impressive highlight reels up on YouTube and can be both a difference-maker and incredible finisher at times. With that said, he lacks any sort of consistency and doesn't seem to be progressing the way people thought he would.
At 26, the question becomes, how much better can he still become? With a price tag of at least £16 million, Liverpool would risk buying a player that would never develop into a solid EPL contributor.
With Transfer News Live reporting that Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in his services, his price could still go way up:
Manchester United and PSG are both interested in Benfica's Nicolás Gaitán, who is valued at £37m. (Source: A Bola)— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) January 15, 2014
Liverpool and Rodgers would be better off looking elsewhere for reinforcements when the summer transfer window opens. Trying to outdo United and establishing yourself as a financial force in the EPL is one thing, but Gaitan simply isn't worth it.