Rumours are today circulating that Liverpool will try to secure the signature of Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in January. The forward has been linked with a move to the red half of Merseyside in the past, but is he the type of player that Brendan Rodgers should be looking to bring in?
Clearly a striker of some description has to be the priority in the new year, following Liverpool’s dismal handling of the final day of the summer transfer window, and in view of the club’s continued failings in front of goal.
A look at Huntelaar’s statistics certainly suggests that it might be worth attempting to persuade him to join the Reds.
Across his entire career, the Dutchman has bagged 287 goals and 63 assists in 445 matches. This means that he has scored a goal every 119 minutes on average throughout his time in professional football, and has a goal or assist every 97 minutes. For a goal shy team like the current Liverpool squad, that’s not to be sniffed at.
Even looking only at his time in the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and the Europa League (to try to provide a fair comparison of the level he will be faced with at Anfield) reveals he has scored a goal or provided an assist every 102 minutes, so it’s not as if he has filled his boots at lower levels in order to boost his career tally particularly.
Huntelaar is very much the type of player Carroll is in terms of skills and especially style of play. He isn’t mobile, nor agile; he can’t join the build-up as in contrast to Carroll he doesn’t like to play with his back to the goal; nor he is able to press actively from up front. Apart from the fact he is scoring many goals I don’t see him anyway being a fit for Rodgers’ system.
If Rodgers disregarded Carroll so easily I’m sure he wouldn’t like Huntelaar too. If Liverpool sign him I’ll be hugely surprised and even disappointed as to why the manager let Carroll go but then signed exactly the same type of player.
If Dalglish was still here and we’re still playing 4-4-2 I’d say Huntelaar would have been a hell of a partner for Suarez up front.
As with everything in football, there’s more to it than simply the stats, and Mihail is clearly not convinced that Huntelaar is the right man for the vacant striker’s berth at Anfield. It may also cost more in wages than FSG are willing to allow, as the 29 year old striker will surely be looking for one final massive pay day before his career winds down.
But looking at the stats, I can’t help but think that Liverpool should at least consider Huntelaar. The team has no issues with creativity (with Suárez and Gerrard currently joint 3rd in the Premier League for number of chances created), and is in dire need of someone to put the ball in the net. Huntelaar might not be the right fit tactically, but he knows where the goal is, and right now that’s what the Reds need more than anything.