Aaron Hunt has started the season in an impressing fashion, bagging five goals in his last six games. The son of a German father and English mother, he was even considered by Capello to be a potential reinforcement for the English national side.
Whilst a call up for the Three Lions is out of the question after Hunt declared his willingness to represent Die Mannschaft (the German national side) instead, a transfer to the English Premiership is still on the cards. Hunt will be out of contract after the summer and Liverpool, Man Utd, and Chelsea have already declared an interest in the versatile player.
When a player has the Premiership’s finest gunning for his services, as well as national team manager Fabio Capello, you can be darn sure Aaron Hunt can be an asset to the Premiership and could have been an asset to the national team. The question I wish to answer for you is why. Why can Aaron Hunt be a credit to the Premiership and the national team?
First of all, there’s the mental side of things to consider. The English national side has always been known for its tendency to fight hard, but eventually just fall short in a tragically heroic fashion. Some call it losing their nerves, others attribute this to mental issues, but the fact remains some teams, like for example Germany and Italy, rarely suffer from this problem.
As Gary Lineker aptly phrased it once, “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.” The Germans just tend to keep going until the final whistle and their perseverance often pays off, as the team has the uncanny ability to snatch wins in the dying seconds of a game.
Being half German and having played in the Bundesliga for most of his career, Hunt shares this perseverance and combative spirit the Germans call “Kampfgeist”, which roughly translates as fighting spirit of combative spirit.
This season alone, Hunt has scored a few decisive goals in the last fifteen minutes of the game, most notably a brace against Nuernberg, which saw his club Werder Bremen come-back to 2-2 after being 2-0 down for the majority of the match.
The English national side could have used a player like Hunt, who just keeps going and has the tendency to be just in the right spot, even in the final seconds of a game. The same applies to any of the Premiership clubs I mentioned, they can all use a player who just keeps going and tends to score decisive goals.
Next up, there’s the issue of which positions Hunt can play, as the 23-year-old is quite a versatile player. He has played in a multitude of positions over the past few seasons at Werder Bremen, and he has done so quite well. His performances upfront, in the centre of midfield and down the left flank as a winger have been good enough to get Capello interested anyway.
Hunt is naturally left footed, which could add more depth to the squad, in the process solving a recurring problem that has plagued the English national side for some time, namely its left flank. Joe Cole has been inconsistent in his performances when he has played. Steven Gerrard, whilst playing well on the left flank, is not quite as good as he is for Liverpool and is probably better suited for a more central role due to being a right footed player.
Regarding a transfer to the Premiership, any team can use a utility player like Hunt, who is capable of playing well in three different positions. Man Utd for example could use someone to cover for and ultimately replace Ryan Giggs, whereas Liverpool could use a proper striking partner for Fernando Torres or even a deep-lying midfielder to back up and provide for the Spaniard.
Let’s also look at the consistency issue. Some players tend to drift in and out of form, playing superbly one week and rather poor the next. Hunt is more stable and consistent in his performances. He may not be as spectacular as some of the big(ger) names in world football, but he always manages to make a positive impression during a game.
His consistency was a reason for German national team manager Joachim Loew to add him to his latest line-up, claiming Hunt had "sehr konstant gespielt und mit guten Leistungen einen Schritt nach vorne gemacht", which basically praises his consistency and the progression he has made so far.
Once again, which national team or club side wouldn’t want a player like that on their books? A skillful player who puts in consistently decent performances in a multitude of positions? Sounds like an ideal squad member to me…
When looking at his performances over the past few seasons, we can only conclude that Hunt is a pretty complete player, as one would expect from a player who can play in several positions on the pitch.
Hunt has a reliable first touch, which helps him both upfront and as a winger. He is a technically skilled player, capable of dribbling past an opponent and creating space for himself. He has also shown on several occasions he has a good cross, which is a pre-requisite for a winger.
As stated before, Hunt also has the ability to score goals and equally important, he scores a nice variety of goals. He can fire a nice shot, he can head quite well and he has the poacher’s instinct to be in the right position inside the box, all important trademarks for an offence-minded player.
Regarding his physique, Hunt has shown on several occasions to be quite fast and difficult to muscle off the ball. He also possesses the stamina to work in midfield yet still be dangerous with surging runs forward.
Though he has suffered a few injuries over the past years, he probably has the physique needed to succeed in the Premiership, not to mention his other assets which would make him a quality member of any club’s squad and which would have made him an impact player for the English national side.
The quality-price ratio is not, nor has it ever been, a factor of importance for the national side. However, potential Premiership buyers will love this aspect of Aaron Hunt and a potential transfer to the English Premiership.
As previously mentioned, Hunt’s contract with German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen is due to expire this summer and the versatile forward has not yet signed a new deal. That means that any club interested can either sign him during the January transfer window at a marked down price or wait another six months and sign him for free.
For this relatively cheap investment, a potential buyer would receive a fairly young player, neo-international to a respectable football nation, capable of playing in a multitude of positions, with the skill set to be an impact player and someone who would need little or no time to adapt to English culture, as he’s half English and still has family living in England.
So basically, when you consider the relatively low transfer sum, as a buying club, you’d be taking a very low risk. You’d get a talented player on a bargain deal, which means a good quality-price ratio, which is something all clubs love these days.
As you can see, Hunt could have offered a great deal to the English national side and would be able to offer a great deal to any Premier League side willing to invest in the German youngster.
The lad has the right character, the right physique, a developed skill set and offers some much needed versatility, all for a fairly low price. How could any team still be hesitating to make a bid for this bright prospect?