Following my article on which left-back Liverpool should perhaps try to purchase, here’s a look at a midfielder who might benefit the team.
The inspiration for this post comes from an article published today on The Tomkins Times – The La Liga Transfer Targets
Various names are mentioned, but one in particular interests me: Xabi Prieto. He’s not a player I’d previously heard of, and currently plies his trade with Real Sociedad (as did a certain other Xabi who played a key role at Anfield in recent times).
Following the collapse of the Sylvan Marveaux deal, Liverpool are still in need of a winger (or two). Turning 28 in August this year, Prieto may be an older player than FSG are generally looking for, but if you believe what you read in the tabloids (and I usually don’t) he’d be available for around £8m.
Whilst he’d likely have no particular re-sale value a few years down the line, it’s not a massive outlay (especially compared to the £73m or so splashed out on just three players in the FSG era so far, an average of approximately £24m per player).
As usual, I have relied on his stats to base my opinion. They never paint a full picture of a player of course, but his efforts last season certainly make for interesting reading.
Prieto got 13 assists last year for a Real Sociedad side that finished 15th in the league, and scored a total of 49 goals.
He chipped in with seven goals from midfield himself, which means he either scored or assisted 20 goals, which is 40.8% of Sociedad’s tally, an impressive figure.
Only Dani Alves (15), Mesut Ozil (17) and Lionel Messi (18) provided more assists in La Liga than Prieto last season, and he got one more than the highly rated (but deservedly so) Juan Mata. Not that he can be compared to the great Catalan midfielders, but Xavi and Iniesta only got 10 assists between them.
To give his assist tally some Premier League context, only Drogba (13) and Nani (14) matched it. From Liverpool’s midfield, Meireles and Gerrard managed five a piece, though of course the skipper missed a large part of the season.
He may not settle immediately, and in a higher profile team may struggle to replicate his Sociedad form. But with the Reds crying out for wingers and/or creativity, and without being able to offer European football, he mightn’t be the worst £8m the club has ever spent.
Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.