Liverpool are in a funny position. Despite the reputation of the club worldwide, it would be fanciful to assume that the big beasts of European penalty boxes would swap the Champions League for Anfield at present, so while I'd love us to sign Higuain, Falcao or Cavani, I've adopted a realistic stance when looking at the strikers we could sign. World Class would be nice and all that, but at the moment we just need to find someone to put the ball in the bleeding net who will also be able to dovetail with Suarez and make the step up in class.
Darren Bent, Aston Villa.
A couple of years ago I was interviewing an international centre half. Hardly a thrilling affair, but when I turned the dictaphone off he surprisingly became more animated. One of the subjects we talked about was Darren Bent. “Can only run in a straight line, terrible at link up play and mostly easy to mark,” he said, before adding, “but he’s a menace in the box, almost impossible to pick up at times, it’s baffling, and impossible to plan against.” And that is why he is on this list. Stan Collymore has slated Bent in the past, saying that he is an A as a goalscorer but a D as an all-round player but, in all honesty, who cares? He has a better record than any striker in the Premier League over the last three seasons, scores consistently against the top clubs and has done it with lesser teammates than Rooney, Drogba, et al. £20 million should do it.
Abel Hernandez, Palermo
An international teammate of Suarez and Coates, Hernandez was a star at u-20 level, scoring six in ten games and already has three senior goals for his country. His scoring record at Palermo stands at a shade under one every four games, but considering he is only 21 and already in his fourth season in Serie A there is nothing too shabby about that total. Standing 6’1” with a prodigious leap, he is predominantly left-footed and at his best playing off the shoulder of the last defender, but also adept at going wide and deep to pick up the ball before turning and using his Wanchope-esque dribbling to drive at defences. €15m should get him, but as Palermo’s chairman is a nutter it could go higher.
Loïc Rémy, Marseille
Like many young French strikers before him, the 24-year-old had something of a nomadic career before Didier Deschamps paid #15m to take him to Marseille at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. After scoring 18 goals in his debut season for the ‘Manchester United of France (that means universally hated)’, he has continued apace this season with seven in the league and has become a regular starter for France, scoring three in his last six for Les Bleus. Rapid with the ball in front of him, he is similar to Hernandez in that he has no problem playing wide, but is much more direct that the Uruguayan. While not a powerhouse, his agility sees him ghost past defenders and he is calm in the box. I’d also love us to sign his teammate, Andre Ayew, but as he’s not a central striker I’ve had to leave him off. €18m a likely fee.
Roberto Soldado, Valencia.
Prolific with a capital P, Soldado cut his teeth in the Spanish second division for Real Madrid, Scoring 63 in 120 games between 2002-2006. Despite being given a couple of chances with Los Blancos, his face didn’t fit the Galactico image and he was loaned to Osasuna where he scored at a rate of one in three, and then sold to Getafe, where 33 in 66 persuaded Valencia to buy him as a replacement for David Villa. A poisoned chalice for many strikers, the predatory Soldado has exceeded expectations with 42 in his first 66 for Los Che. A classic number 9 who finishes deftly with both feet, the amount of goals he scores by using late movement to steal in front of defenders and keepers is frightening. His relatively slight frame might put Liverpool off, but he is a pure poacher. €15m to secure his services.
Demba Ba, Newcastle / Papiss Cisse, Freiburg
Look, the former won’t happen, but am I alone in hoping some sort of swap deal for Andy Carroll to pretend it never happened could be thrashed out? Carroll will, I’ve decided, never be the right striker for Liverpool. Demba Ba might be a flash in the pan but I couldn’t give a monkeys if he came in and fired us into the top four. If not him, then we could do worse that extensively scout his international teammate. Since arriving at Freiburg in 2009, Cisse has scored 39 in 63 games and has 7 in his first 12 games for Senegal. Although I’ve had to rely on video evidence to watch the striker courted by both Arsenal and Spurs, a mate of mine who lives in Freiburg has been on about him for ages and reckons he’d fit in to Liverpool well, and is like ‘Djibril Cisse with brains and a first touch.’ €15m to take the man who broke Tony Yeboah’s 18-year old record for most goals by an African player in the Bundesliga to Anfield.
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