With out-of-favour Italian full-back Andrea Dossena set for a £4.4 million move to Napoli the path has been laid for Maxi Rodriguez to make his move to Anfield.
With huge restrictions on what Rafael Benitez has to spend in the January transfer window the Argentine winger looks set to be the biggest signing of the month, coming in on a loan with the possibility of signing a permanent deal in the future. Rumours coming out of a now snow-covered Melwood suggest that even if the Liverpool manager successfully negotiates deals to ship out Dossena, Degen, Voronin and Babel the Spaniard won’t see a penny of what he recoups, with the club looking for ways in which to pay off the £30m interest the holding company owes this year.
This places a lot of pressure on the 29-year-old Rodriguez who, despite not starting regularly for his current club Athletico Madrid, is expected to come in and make an instant impact for the Reds to help us get our faltering season back on track.
It’s a lot of pressure to place on one player, just ask Alberto Aquilani who signed for Liverpool in the summer and has been put under-pressure to perform since his return to fitness last month. When there’s nothing to spend fans expectations of new signings increases drastically, when money’s tight supporters expect more bang for their buck.
It has to be asked if it’s right to put so much pressure on a player coming into a club, especially one who’ll be making his first appearance in the Premier League. The English top-flight is considered one of the best in the world and is notorious for it’s tought tackling, high pace football that makes it so hard for foreign players to settle in to football in the country. For this reason it’s safe to say Rodriguez is less than likely to meet the expectations of disheartened Liverpool fans around the word, who see the winger as a saviour of a disappointing league campaign.
I fully expect Rodriguez to have a positive impact in the second half of the season. He’s a natural winger who will give the team the width it’s been lacking for far too long. It also takes the pressure of Dutch international Dirk Kuyt, who’s been the only player with enough quality to fulfil the role on Liverpool’s right hand side. I don’t however think that Rodriguez will be the world-beater everyone’s expecting. We shouldn’t forget he’s not even first-choice at a struggling Athletico Madrid and yet we expect him to come in and set the world on fire. It’s just not going to happen.
Expect great things from Maxi Rodriguez, but don’t expect miracles.