If we had the keys to the warchest at a big club, and the main need was for a midfielder, we would be looking for someone who knows where the goal is.
Of course every team needs water carriers – players who let others take the limelight while they put in the hard yards – but if you are going to spend big money on a midfielder, even a defensive-minded one, you have to expect goals.
Steven Gerrard and Yaya Toure are prime examples. Liverpool’s captain marvel is not what you would describe as an out and out attacking midfielder, yet he chips in with more than his fair share of goals. Similarly Toure does a brilliant job shielding his defence but can also score vital goals.
Perhaps that’s why crazy figures are being thrown about in relation to Liverpool and Manchester United’s reported target Ivan Rakitic. The Independent today quotes Sevilla president Jose Castro:
“Ivan Rakitic has a year and a half of his contract remaining. I have absolutely no doubts that we’re going to reach an agreement with him,” Castro said speaking at a Sevilla Supporters’ Club meeting.
“If anyone else is in a rush to have Rakitic, his clause is €40m (£33m) and we’ll leave it at that.”
40m Euros seems like a huge amount of casheesh and the price may well be negotiable in reality. However, Rakitic’ goal-scoring feats from midfield speak for themselves. 11 in 34 games for Basle. 12 in 97 for Schalke. 20 in 97 for Sevilla and 9 in 59 for Croatia.
That sort of ratio is exactly what Manchester United have been missing from midfield and exactly what the veteran Steven Gerrard has offered Liverpool for the last decade. Liverpool played brilliantly without their captain at Tottenham but few guarantee midfield goals quite like Stevie G.
As for Manchester United, it seems ages since they had the majestic Paul Scholes banging them in on a reg. They have super strikers but the vintage Manchester United teams had lots of goals coming form midfield.
At 25 the Croatian has yet to reach his peak and he may well be plying his trade in England before too long. Let’s see him in action.
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