Is Glen Johnson Really the Missing Piece of the Jigsaw for Liverpool?
Every summer, and indeed some Januarys, since Rafael Benitez took charge at Anfield, he has been building a jigsaw, one that could finally end Liverpool's two-decade long wait for a Premier League title.
As soon as he arrived, he set about destroying Gerard Houllier's competent but sub-standard jigsaw and bringing in new pieces.
As we have seen this grow over his tenure, we have also seen Liverpool's league performances improve, culminating last season with their best ever Premier League finish.
This led many fans to believe that the jigsaw was one or two pieces away from completion.
However, with a relatively tight budget to work under, there were worries that no big signings would be made.
Today, however, reports surfaced suggesting that Liverpool have won the three-way battle for Glen Johnson's signature.
This is a victory in itself. Players want to play for Liverpool more than they do Chelsea or Manchester City, even if it means a potentially smaller wage packet.
The figure being quoted is £17 million, which is likely to be a large chunk of Benitez's summer spending money.
It is understood that this would include payments Portsmouth still owe Liverpool from Peter Crouch's transfer, and that Benitez is planning on selling one or two players to make way for Johnson.
Still, the money spent, and the lack of previously expected money coming in from the Crouch transfer, could have a serious effect on the rest of Benitez's buys, depending on who he ships out.
Andrea Dossena's name is being bandied about, and that wouldn't be surprising, but Benitez will be lucky to get anything over £4 million for him.
Another name being whispered is that of Alvaro Arbeloa. I find that hard to believe considering Arbeloa's decent performance last season, and the fact that Benitez may be looking to add to his squad's depth.
The more likely and sensible option would be to cut our losses on Philipp Degen.
If Glen Johnson is indeed Liverpool's only big signing of the summer, however, then will he really be the missing piece in the jigsaw? Surely a winger or an extra striker would be a wiser choice?
Johnson showed what he is capable of last season, and his performance in England's most recent match, albeit against lowly Andorra, was of the highest quality.
He can create, and even score goals.
In Arbeloa we currently have a competent right-back. He can do a job and is a solid player, but he is by no means spectacular.
Johnson is closer to that "spectacular." He is among the best right-backs in the Premier League, and Liverpool need the best if they are to challenge for the title again next season.
But for a long time now I have been saying Liverpool need another match winner, and that isn't Glen Johnson.
Yes, having him in our side will improve it, and I guess that is what Benitez is thinking, but he is not going to provide that extra spark to turn troublesome draws into wonderful wins.
He isn't a bad attacker, and is capable of moments of magic, as his fantastic volley last season showed, but they are few and far between, and understandably so considering his position.
Overall, I think Johnson is a very good signing for us, if indeed the transfer goes through, but I hope he isn't the only big signing this summer. Otherwise Liverpool may be found wanting when drawing away to Stoke again next season.
Is Glen Johnson the final piece of the jigsaw? No, but he is an important one.
Quiz Question No. 9:
For which team did Glen Johnson start his professional career?
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