Dublin Decider: Brendan Rodgers’ top five signings
Brendan Rodgers hasn’t an awful lot of experience in the transfer market but he has been responsible for some astute signings in his brief career to date. Here’s what we reckon are his best five.
He hasn’t yet played 20 games for Liverpool so one has to be careful about making rash judgements but on the evidence to date, Coutinho, signed from Inter Milan for £8.5 million in January, looks like he could turn into a gem of a player.
Because he’s only five foot seven and you get the feeling a strong breeze could knock him over, the 20-year old relies on his technical skills to flourish and at times in his Liverpool career to date, his touch, his awareness of space and his eye for a killer pass have been a joy to watch.
A throwback to impish South American number 10s like Pablo Aimar and Ariel Ortega, Coutinho will play a key part in Rodgers’ plans this season as a foil for Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini, Iago Aspas and (maybe) Luis Suarez in the Liverpool attack.
The acquisition of Sturridge was seen as a risky one by many due to his reputation for being a little difficult and his failure to make an impact at Manchester City and Chelsea, but Rodgers thought him worth a gamble when splashing out £12 million for his signature in January.
Ten goals in 14 games so far, including one on his league debut as a substitute at Old Trafford, a cracker against former club Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and his first senior hat-trick against Newcastle suggests that he has matured and is beginning to make the most of his undoubted potential, although next season will provide more telling evidence on that score.
Now if only Rodgers could persuade him to do away with that silly celebratory ‘dance’.
Graham couldn’t buy a goal for love nor money for Sunderland last season and will play on loan at newly-promoted Hull City this season, but he certainly flourished in Swansea before moving to the north-east, or at least he did while Rodgers was in charge.
The £3.5 million Swansea paid Watford for Graham in 2011 was a club record for Swansea at the time and he played his part in a brilliant first season in the Premier League for the Swans, averaging a goal in every three games as Rodgers guided Swansea to an impressive 11th placed finish.
The Dutch ‘keeper was hardly a household name when he rocked up in Wales from Dutch side Utrecht in time for Swansea’s first Premier League campaign, but having only cost £1.5 million, his value rocketed up after a series of incredible displays between the sticks.
He showed signs of his ability in his first game against Manchester City despite conceding four goals – he still made 11 saves – and has maintained that form since, establishing himself as one of the most solid stoppers in the top flight.
Sinclair’s career has stagnated badly since a surprise move to Manchester City last summer, but a move away from Eastlands should kick-start a career that had begun to show a lot of promise at Swansea following loan spell after loan spell while on Chelsea’s books for years.
Rodgers would have seen quite a lot of Sinclair during his time on the Chelsea coaching staff and shelled out £500,000 for his services at the start of the 2010-11 season.
He was rewarded for his faith with 19 goals in 43 games, including a hat-trick in the Play-Off Final against Reading as the Swans won promotion to the Premier League and along with the likes of Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge, he caused plenty of trouble for opposition defences in the Premier League, scoring eight league goals.
Sinclair doesn’t look to have much of a future at Manchester City and will have likely have moved onto pastures new in time for the new season.