Liverpool have been linked in recent weeks with Valencia defender Aly Cissokho, per Dean Jones of the Sunday People (h/t Mirror Football), and I am here to give you the lowdown on just what type of player the Reds would be getting were they to sign him this summer.
This is not the first time that the Merseyside giants have been mentioned in the same breath as the France international, with previous Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish also having reportedly been keen on bringing the attacking full-back to Anfield in June 2011 according to the Daily Mail.
However, now the Reds have joined both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the 25-year-old’s signature, as reported by the Express, with the trio of Premier League clubs having been put on alert by Cissokho’s comments earlier this year about not getting enough game time at the Mestalla in the second half of the last Liga campaign.
“In the second part of the season I don't have as much playing time, unlike the first,” said Cissokho.
“Are English clubs my future? I am proud that my name is matched with these clubs, but I'm fine here. I just hope to play more.”
Yet it appears as though the marauding left-back has his heart set on a move to Anfield this summer following recent comments made to Sky Sports, in which the Frenchman revealed: “I will not believe that I am going anywhere until I am in Liverpool and having a medical.
"Liverpool is such a great club, so to be linked with them is fantastic. But there is nothing concrete from anyone at the moment.
"If there is an opportunity to join such a club, I will take it. Valencia are a great club, in a great city, but Liverpool are a legendary club."
And with his cash-strapped Spanish employers currently in dire financial straits, it is believed that Liverpool head coach Brendan Rodgers could even get his man for as little as £4 million this summer, but what would the Northern Irishman be getting for such a cut-price fee, and is Cissokho actually a step up in quality on the club’s present left-back Jose Enrique?
Firstly, it is not entirely certain that Rodgers is looking at Cissokho as a straight replacement for the Spaniard, although he was rumoured in the past to be interested in Tottenham left-back Danny Rose by the Daily Mail.
The other option is that Rodgers wants to push Enrique forward into a more attacking left-sided midfield role in the new campaign, as he did on several occasions last season, with the new man occupying the left-back position instead, or vice-versa depending on which of the two players the manager feels has the stronger all-round game.
Either way, this is a player who has been on the radar of many big-name clubs on the Continent ever since making his breakthrough with Porto five years ago, with Cissokho really coming to prominence on the European stage in the knockout rounds of the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League.
It was in Europe’s premier club competition and just a month into his Porto career that the left-back came up against Manchester United winger, and the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo in a two-legged last-eight showdown.
And despite the then European Champions squeezing through 3-2 on aggregate, Cissokho, who marked the right-sided Portugal international across the two ties, emerged from both contests with his reputation greatly enhanced.
So much so that Italian giants AC Milan tried to buy the full-back later that summer for 15 million euros, only for the deal to collapse after the Frenchman failed his medical due to a problem with his teeth that the Rossoneri were worried could lead to issues with his spine later in his career.
That did not stop Ligue 1 outfit Lyon though from then signing Cissokho for the exact same fee in July 2009, with the left-back taking over from Italy international Fabio Grosso at the Stade Gerland, but after 134 appearances for Remi Garde’s men he then moved to Valencia for an initial five million euros in August 2012.
One thing that the full-back is known for throughout Europe is his impressive pace and power with the ball at his feet, as the Reds know for themselves after Cissokho played in both home and away fixtures against Rafa Benitez’s side in the group phase back in the 2009-10 Champions League, catching the eye against the Merseysiders with his non-stop buccaneering raids down the left flank.
Meanwhile, his impressive all-round physique not only means that he is a hard defender to get the better of in one-on-one situations, but would also make him an ideal player in the hurly-burly world of the Premier League.
In fact, his standout characteristics, those of extreme speed and athleticism, are both well suited to the specific demands of the English top flight, where the games are often played at breakneck pace.
And so Cissokho would certainly add an injection of quality to Liverpool’s left flank were he to be signed by Rodgers this summer, whether that be as a direct replacement for Enrique at left-back, simply to provide competition and cover for the Spaniard, or even with the pair alternating roles between defence and midfield.
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