Jordan Henderson’s imminent signing is a genuine statement of intent by Liverpool FC ahead of what promises to be a busy summer at Anfield.
It is no secret that (King) Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli have plenty of work to do to reshape the Reds squad this summer, and this deal would seem to fit neatly with club owners Fenway Sports Group and their long-term strategy: Sunderland Athletic’s Henderson is young and English, but most importantly talented.
Cynics will suggest that Liverpool are paying an “English premium” but they showed with Andy Carroll in January that they are willing to pay whatever it takes to land their top targets, and the speed and decisiveness with which they have secured Henderson is a hugely positive sign. How often have LFC stalled I’m buying players until preseason or even the season has begun?
And by valuing David N’Gog (above), the makeweight in the deal, at £8m, Dalglish and his team have shown that they too can drive a hard bargain. The Frenchman should depart Anfield with little but fond wishes. He may not have been the man to take Liverpool to ‘the next level’ as such, but he worked hard, scored some important goals (and a absolute beauty against Arsenal) and deserves his chance of first team football in the North East.
Comparing his development at Anfield to that of Ryan Babel, who left for around half the £11m Liverpool paid Ajax for him, it is clear to see which was the smarter piece of business.
As for Henderson himself, well at twenty he clearly has plenty of developing to do, but he also has all the raw materials to be a success at Liverpool. Indeed, he displayed as much with a mightily impressive display against Roy Hodgson’s Reds last September in a 2-2 draw at Anfield. He is composed, athletic, energetic and has the ability to cross and pass the ball with consistent quality. Carroll, in particular, will thrive on his early balls into the penalty area, as he did so successfully at Newcastle with Joey Barton.
Nobhead Steve Bruce was desperate to keep Henderson at the Stadium Of Light, which makes this deal a tiny bit sweeter. Both Manchester’s City and United had expressed an interest, but the youngster’s determination to move to Merseyside and link up with Dalglish shows that Liverpool’s pulling power, despite no European football next season, remains undiminished.
Sadly a few fans online have been whinging about us buying snother central midfielder, saying we don’t need another one. I think we do. Jay Spearing deserved the credit he received at the end of last season, but unfortunately there is no way he is the long term solution. I also can’t see us getting a full season out of Stevie Gerrard anymore, so a young lad with plenty to prove will fit in nicely to the squad.
Kenny has an absolutely massive job to do at Liverpool. It is not as if he just has to add one or two players to an already good squad. He has to reshape all of it and this is a great start.
Blackpool’s Charlie Adam (above) remains a possibility for around £8m remains a possibility (his set prices especially would be of huge benefit to us), AS Roma keeper Doni (Doniéber Alexander Marangon to his Mun) looks like becoming José Reina’s back-up, Valencia’s Juan Mata (below) is being linked with us hourly as is Stewart Downing of Aston Villa, plus we’re also keen on Birmingham City’s scouse central defender Scott Dann and Ipswich Town’s young striker Connor Wickham.
All or maybe none will follow the Wearsider over the next couple of months but either way these are exciting times at L4.