by Daisy Cutter
The Cutter understands from a reputable source that new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has wasted no time in implementing his Anfield revolution by already instructing the club’s hierarchy he wishes to overhaul the midfield and informing them of his two prime targets.
The identity of the first will come as little surprise to most. Icelandic star Gylfi Sigurdsson proved to be a Premier League revelation during his six month loan spell at Swansea and whilst the Welsh outfit were convinced their £6.8m deal to make the move permanent was all-but-completed his parent club Hoffenheim have angrily pointed out that no contracts have yet been signed.
The Germans are expected to use Swansea’s unsuccessful bid as leverage to bump up the fee but an approach in the region of seven million should still be enough to comfortably see the talented 22 year old head to Merseyside to continue his football under Rodgers.
The hijacking of Sigurdsson is the closest the Reds will get to bringing in any of Swansea’s bright passing side that so illuminated the top flight last term after an agreement was put in place by chairman Huw Jenkins that prevents Rodgers from poaching any of his former players for a period of twelve months.
This news firmly puts to bed the mounting speculation on an imminent approach for the ‘Welsh Iniesta’ Joe Allen that the Cutter has been informed was never in the pipeline to begin with. Instead Rodgers is determined to secure the services of the ‘Dutch Xavi’, 20 year old Jordy Clasie from Feyenoord, who has been interesting him for some time. Doing so will not be easy – the youngster recently evaded the clutches of Arsenal and Chelsea by committing himself to the Rotterdammers until 2015 and his form has been so resplendent of late he was considered extremely unfortunate to miss out on the Dutch Euro2012 squad. Rodgers however views the Under-21 international as the ideal figure to bolster a midfield that he intends to mould to fit his pure footballing philosophy. A bid topping £8m will test the resolve of his employers whilst the challenge of English football might well tempt the starlet despite his recent wish to continue his education on home soil.
Appropriately Clasie shares several attributes with Swans schemer Leon Brittan a player who, lest we forget, was statistically the superior of Xavi for the first half of last season. The boy from Haarlem in northern Holland was considered too slight of build to make it at the highest level but has proven his doubters wrong by becoming the passing architect surpreme, rarely losing possession and always content to keep things moving with tick-tock simplicity. Like Brittan he is also surprisingly tenacious in the tackle and was never seen to be outmuscled in a campaign for Feyenoord that saw them over-achieve with a second placed finish in the Eredivisie.
Whilst teenage scoring sensation John Guidetti grabbed most of the headlines it was Clasie who had the scouts flocking to De Kuip and most pertinently of all Rodgers is amongst his most ardent fans, long coveting a player who epitomises everything he holds true yet viewed frustratingly beyond his reach at Swansea. Now that he’s bossing a club with much more pulling power a move – or so the Cutter has exclusively been told – is being tentatively prepared as we speak.
So where does this leave the current Liverpool midfield that was expensively assembled by Kenny Dalglish last summer and yet have all undeniably underperformed to varying degrees? Admittedly this is purely speculation but to our mind Jordan Henderson – a player who often comes unstuck when ambition sets in but who’s an otherwise neat and tidy player with much promise – will presumably remain and no doubt improve under the tutorage of his new coach as too will Downing though the ex-Boro winger will struggle to hold down a regular starting place. The future looks most ominous for Charlie Adam who generally disappointed last term following his switch from Blackpool and least fits in with Rodgers’ vision of a tiki-taka engine room. Swansea passed the ball on 2000 more occasions than Liverpool last year – an incredible stat – whilst Adam’s passing average fell woefully short of 80% throughout 2011/12. The statistics don’t lie and the Scot might soon find himself frozen out of Brendan Rodger’s Anfield revolution.