Football: Assaidi to Steer Clear of Aquiliani Haunt
One thing Liverpool fans will be praying for this week is that potential new signing, Oussama Assaidi, does not turn out to be the next Alberto Aquilani, amid reports the Dutchman is undergoing a medical at their Melwood training ground.
Assaidi is manager Brendan Rodgers’ third summer signing and comes from Dutch side Heerenveen with a big reputation. Yet there are already concerns in the betting world that the Morocco international must hit the ground running at Anfield, or risk suffering the same fate as Aquilani.
For his Italian left-wing predecessor had a torrid time on Merseyside, and quickly became the embarrassment of the club.
Having sold Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, then-manager, Rafa Benitez, scoured Europe for a suitable midfielder. He brought in the injured Aquilani for £20m in 2009, yet the Italian never performed to the standard his price tag suggested and he was soon shipped out on loan.
The one concern is this Aquilani precedent that still hangs over the club. The winger actually played in Italy’s friendly defeat to England last week, yet he was hardly noticed and proved ineffectual throughout. The haunting effect seems to have worked on Stuart Downing, who is yet to find his feet at Anfield.
Hopefully, Assaidi will not succumb to the same pressures that Aquilani clearly felt when playing in a red shirt. The winger joins Fabio Borini and Joe Allen in the new-look attacking unit that is tipped to flourish under Rodgers’ tactical mastery this season.
Assaidi has a decent record in front of goal, as well as in midfield, scoring 20 goals in 68 Heerenveen appearances. At 24-years-old, he is entering the blooming stage of his career and there is no better manager to aid the development of a star than Rodgers.