So Brendan Rodgers is prepared to let Andy Carroll go on loan. The Liverpool totem pole, if not totem, might be seen as the first casualty of the anticipated tika-taka revolution at Anfield. Carroll was a rushed, if not panic buy, and at £35million way over valued.
Carroll finds himself at a crossroads at Liverpool and in the game. The big lad up top is becoming an increasingly endangered species, the headed goal at the far post an outmoded device in the age of movement and dance.
Spain triumphed at the Euros without a conventional striker at all, preferring the more mobile Cesc Fabregas in an advanced role.
It is not Carroll’s height that counts against him, but the tactic that devolves from his inclusion. Fernando Llorente has shown at Athletic Bilbao that there is a place in 21st century football for a tall man, but in Spain he is not required to bring down cannon balls launched from the edge of his own box.
Carroll is not without dexterity, as he showed in turning John Terry inside out in his FA Cup cameo. But that is not his default use.
He was seen as a special weapon by England to be deployed from the bench, offering in the words of Alan Shearer ‘something different’. In truth he offered the opposite; something old, something predictable, something that all but Stoke and a few others in our game abandoned a decade ago.
Perhaps a move abroad would allow Carroll to shed the stereotype and become a proper asset to England as opposed to the chaotic wrecking ball he is seen as now.
AC Milan are rumoured to be interested. Joe Jordan and Mark Hateley, traditional lumps of Anglo Saxon oak, enjoyed great spells at the Rossoneri, so you never know.
Mark Hughes made Ji Sung Park his signature signing, which could turn out to be smart business. Park polarised fans of Manchester United. His indefatigable spirit, his willingness to run himself into the ground for the shirt propelled him straight into the hearts of some. Others were frustrated by his inability to impose himself offensively, to spread authority in the big games.
He was the default choice of Sir Alex Ferguson in critical fixtures. While he showed his value as the fulcrum of a defensive midfield three, he was never able to threaten in the final third as he did for PSV in Holland.
He was in essence a negative option for Ferguson, whose preference for Park ahead of Antonio Valencia in the pivotal Manchester derby at the Etihad at the end of last season arguably cost United the title.
Park was also given the nod at Wembley against Barcelona in the European Cup final last year and proved equally ineffective. That is not to say among lesser gods Park will not flourish, as he did as an offensive midfielder in Holland. Park has quick feet and a first rate engine. Often overwhelmed at Old Trafford, he might well be the main man as the big fish in a smaller pond.
We are entering a period of transfer frenzy, exotic names linked to all and sundry.
Chelsea are chasing Oscar of Brazil, United want his compatriot Lucas Moura. Both are ‘tracking’ Fulham’s Moussa Dembele. Robin van Persie is expected at City any moment on a £250-a-week package. Liverpool are chasing Fabio Borini and Clint Dempsey. Spurs are on the point of making Emanuel Adebayor a permanent fixture.
Arghhh! I’m going dizzy already.
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