By Arun Nair
Rumour has it that Liverpool are looking towards the Championship for potential new signings. I assess the alleged targets; could any of them make the step up?
This Season Stats: 20 goals in 18 games
Thoughts:Charlie Austin has the credible honour of being one of the top goalscorers in Europe in terms of goals scored, having been in terrific form for Burnley so far this season. The striker has been prolific for both his current side and his former club Swindon since turning professional in 2009, and is a natural goalscorer. Poachers such as him tend to struggle less when making a step up in quality, as awareness, positioning and finishing ability stand them in good stead. He is affordable, with a valuation of around £4-8million.
Club: Blackburn Rovers
This Season Stats: 8 goals in 14 games
Thoughts: Jordan Rhodes is another natural goalscorer. After scoring 85 goals in 146 games whilst playing for Huddersfield in League One, he successfully made the step up, scoring 2 goals in 2 appearances before moving to Blackburn for a fee that could rise to £8 million with add-ons. Young with room for improvement, the Oldham born striker could well be a prolific Premier League forward in the future. His valuation is high, with Rovers unlikely to accept anything below £10 million.
Club: Crystal Palace
This Season Stats: 4 goals in 17 games
Thoughts: Zaha’s talent, and potential, is undoubted. The pacy winger/forward was yesterday called up to the senior England squad. At just 20, Zaha has been been a fixture in the Palace side since 2010, at which time he was just 18. Not prolific by any means, Zaha has plenty of room for improvement but, like all the players on this list, time is very much on his side. His reported valuation is roughly £7 million, but is risky given his goalscoring troubles. Possibly one to keep an eye on rather than a signing in the near future.
This Season Stats: 10 goals in 16 games
Thoughts: Tom Ince is familiar name to many Reds fans. The son of former England captain Paul Ince, who played for Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter among others, was on the Anfield books until leaving for the Seasiders in the summer of 2011 in search of first team football. The winger had failed to break into the first team at Liverpool, having made only a solitary substitute appearance in an ill-fated Carling Cup tie against League 2 Northampton. The youngster’s goal record is fantastic for a winger, especially considering his age, and has emerged as one of the Tangerines most important players. A return may seem unrealistic, as well as romantic, but given Brendan Rodgers’ willingness to give youth a chance if they show sufficient quality, an Anfield comeback could appeal. The tie between the Reds and Ince could even prove important, if Liverpool do make a move, since Man United are also weighing up a bid. His valuation is reported to be £6-8 million.
What do you think? Do you see any of these lower league talents worth gambling on? Or do you have any other suggestions on players Liverpool should be chasing from the divisions below? Conversely, do you think the Reds should instead be focussing all their efforts on trying to attract stars playing at the highest levels? Please leave your comments below.