With the 2012-13 English Premier League season rapidly approaching, Brendan Rodgers has wisely continued to bolster the Liverpool squad by adding Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi.
Andy Hunter of the The Guardian reports that the Reds will send £2.4 million to Heerenveen for Assaidi’s services.
The 24-year-old scored 10 goals in 19 Eredivisie appearances for his club last season and managed to hit the back of the net nine times in 30 league matches during his 2010-11 campaign.
He is a talented and confident winger who is not afraid to attack from the touch line and take players on. He is a skilled dribbler and capable of wrecking havoc with his moves.
Liverpool is certainly in need of a player with Assaidi’s attributes. Brendan Rodgers relied heavily on his two young wingers at Swansea City this past season, and he will hope that his newest signing can be similarly productive.
While managing in Wales, Rodgers coaxed five goals and two assists out of Nathan Dyer on the right side, while also getting eight goals and four assists from Scott Sinclair on the left.
These players spread the field and opened up space for Rodgers’ possession-oriented tactics. The new Liverpool boss will use Assaidi and the other Liverpool wingers in the same manner.
However, the Reds’ incumbent wide players did little to inspire confidence in their abilities last season. With Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy no longer in Liverpool, Jordan Henderson and Steward Downing are the only players left who spent significant time on the outside.
Downing was the butt of many jokes from Liverpool supporters after managing no goals or assists in 36 Premier League appearances, although he did score twice in FA Cup matches. Mirror Football’s Brian Reade notes that the line, “Looks like Stewart Downing’s got his first assist of the season,” spread across the Internet after Kenny Dalglish was fired.
Henderson featured primarily as a central midfielder, but he was equally ineffective playing both on the wing and in the middle, finishing the season with just two goals and one assist.
Joe Cole is back from his loan with Lille, but he did not impress much in his first stint with the Reds. Still, his past production makes him the most promising option on the outside.
With a 30-year-old player as the club's best hope at the position, Rodgers was wise to add a talented but inexpensive winger. Assaidi is not the type of player who will drastically improve the Liverpool squad, but he adds depth to a position at which the team lacks consistent play.
Rodgers proved in his time at Swansea that knows how to make shrewd decisions in the transfer market, and he has continued to show sound judgment this summer.