Much has been written in the last week or so about Ajax striker Luis Suarez moving to Liverpool in the January 2011 transfer window.
As the clubs try to agree a deal that will satisfy both parties, the question to ask is what Luis Suarez can offer to Liverpool?
Goal scoring record
Suarez has scored 81 goals in 108 league appearances for Ajax. Purely as a ratio this is an excellent scoring record. We should of course remember that scoring goals in the Dutch League is different to scoring goals in the English Premier League, but needless to say, his record suggests that he certainly knows how to find the net.
This is even more apparent when we add his record in Europe, 16 goals in 30 appearances, and his international goals, 16 in 36 games. His partnership with Diego Forlan at the World Cup in South Africa was one of the highlights of the tournament.
Luis Suarez favours his right foot but can play with either. He is comfortable playing as the main striker or second striker, his partnership with Forlan demonstrating this. Not the tallest striker but still gets his fair share of headed goals. And although not the fastest striker in the world, he has enough pace to be of genuine concern to defences.
You could describe Suarez as a fighter. Whether this is an asset or a liability has been questionable in his career so far. The infamous handball incident at the 2010 World Cup showed that he is willing to do anything to win. His comments afterwards showed that he is not ashamed of this either.
In November he received a 7 match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal. In his time at Ajax Suarez has received numerous yellow cards, many for petty arguments.
It is also clear that this drive to win is the force that pushes him to the successes he has had and contributed to the sheer number of goals he has scored.
At 23 years of age (24 on the 24th of January 2011), he is young with many years of improvement ahead of him and nowhere near his peak years yet.
Watch Suarez in action below -
Good fit for Liverpool?
So would Luis Suarez be a good fit for Liverpool? I see the following advantages of bringing Suarez to Liverpool.
- The boy has goals, and plenty of them, in him. For the past 6 to 12 months Liverpool have been lacking in goals, particularly if Torres is off form or not available. We need someone else capable of creating chances and taking chances.
- Torres needs a capable partner. I think Suarez could be a great partner because he would take a lot of weight off of Torres’ shoulders. He would do this in several ways – his goalscoring threat, his link play, his fighting abilities would all occupy the minds of opposing defences giving Torres more space and time to work his magic.
- His attitude, in some ways could be an advantage. That will to win, that fight could be just what we need right now. Every team needs a player or two who fight for the cause. It inspires and lifts players around them. Especially if harnessed in the right way by the manager.
- His age is also another advantage and fits in well with the owners philosophy of buying young, talented players whose value will appreciate in the coming years rather than depreciate.
The disadvantages I see are
- His attitude could of course turn out to be a disadvantage if it becomes destructive and cannot be controlled. Liverpool football club demands fair play and fair spirit from it’s players alongside the determination to win. The likes of El Hadji Diouf and their spitting antics do not go down well with the Anfield faithful.
- It is always a risk when you bring a player who has done well in a foreign league to England as you cannot tell if they will adapt well. A great scoring record in Holland doesn’t necessarily mean the same would happen over here.
Overall, I think that Luis Suarez has a lot to offer to Liverpool and would be a great addition to the club right now. And I also believe that Kenny Dalglish would harness the fire Suarez has and help him excel for Liverpool.