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EPL: John Arne "Ginger" Riise Set to Return to the Premiership?

ROME, ITALY - MAY 07:  John Arne Riise of AS Roma and Christian Zambrotta (R) of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AS Roma and AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico on May 7, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMay 8, 2011

Hurray, John Arne Riise is being pursued for a return to the Premiership by the manager who brought him to Liverpool over 10 years ago.

Sadly, though, it is not Liverpool expressing their interest in the talented and electrifying attacking left back.

No, instead, after insisting his recent health scare will not deter him from reforming Aston Villa, former reds manager Gerard Houllier is lining up a reported £3 million bid for the 30-year-old Norwegian player.

Famously nicknamed "Ginger" by his teammates at Anfield, Riise was edged out of Anfield after a season on the bench which culminated in that own goal against Chelsea in the Champions League.

His exit, in hindsight, for the Kop was one that proved a detriment to the Liverpool squad. His definitive power behind the ball had left the team behind, and the grass was not necessarily as green with his replacements, such as Fabio Aurelio.

Liverpool had lost a fundamental part of their attacking armoury. The force that Riise possessed on quite a few occasions had resulted in magnificent and thunderous strikes that gave the opposing team's goalkeeper minimal chances of stopping. Throughout his time at Liverpool, this resulted in a tally of 21 competitive goals for the side. 

It's a shame that Riise could transfer from Roma to a side in the Premiership that is not Liverpool, but at least it is a long-awaited return to the division that made him a hero. 

If Houllier gets the main name on his transfer wish list, then we welcome back John Arne Riise with open arms. The Premiership has well and truly missed him. 

With a few years left in his professional career, here is hoping that a move will just see a continuation of the style of explosive play and tenacity portrayed in his years at Anfield. 

And should the transfer take place, a consequential return at some point to Anfield will no doubt be met with a rapturous response from the fans who recognised his worth. These are the same supporters who showered their anger towards Rafa Benitez upon his fall out from Liverpool. 

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