WHAT LUIS DIAZ SIGNING MEANS FOR THE LIVERPOOL SQUAD
Liverpool officially announced the signing of Colombian winger Luis Diaz this afternoon. The 25 year old has signed a five and a half year deal from FC Porto and will take the number 23 shirt. This comes just two days after the story first broke of the club fast forwarding their interest.
It is a huge boost for Liverpool as they seek to attack the four competitions they’re still in after the winter break. Diaz is a big money signing of a similar profile to Mané, Salah and Jota when they joined the club in 2016, 2017 and 2020 respectively. We take a look at what this signing means for the Liverpool squad:
• Boost for the squad
Just as this announcement is a fillip for the fanbase, it is also for the team. A new signing is meant to strengthen the side and the whole squad will be buzzing at the prospect of having another weapon to break down teams. This will brighten the mood in camp, with the players eager to see what their new teammate can offer.
• Attacking depth
Another pacy winger with an eye for goal is just what the doctor ordered. Beyond Mané, Salah and Jota, there’s a dearth of suitable options for the two wide forward positions. Oxlade-Chamberlain has been pressed into action on the wing at times whilst Minamino has failed to convince, Origi meanwhile is better through the middle.
Diaz’ arrival provides an extra option out wide. On paper, he’s better than the likes of Minamino, Origi, Oxlade-Chamberlain and young Gordon who have all played out wide this season. That automatically improves the quality of the attacking depth at the manager’s disposal.
• Competition for places
Liverpool’s new number 23 arrives to compete for a place in the side. He has the quality to get in the side and will believe he can usurp whoever has the shirt. Competition for places is healthy and could even see a surge in form for the incumbents.
No longer should we see out of form players keep getting start after start or keep playing 90 minutes because the manager has no trust in the options on the bench. Diaz is a serious option off the bench and one the manager will be eager to use.
• What this means for Sadio Mané
Sadio Mané has been a legendary servant for the club since his switch from Southampton six years ago. He was named the Club’s Player of the year in his debut season and then switched from the right wing to the left to accommodate Mohamed Salah the following year.
He’s been as devastating on the left as he’s written his name into the club’s history books. He is by no means finished at the top level either, with only Salah, Jota and Vardy scoring more league goals than him this season. His form over the last two seasons has fluctuated more than usual however.
His position is the one most threatened with Diaz joining, and the fact he has less than 18 months left on his deal is less than ideal. Sadio is a fighter however and will not give up his starting spot without a fight. That battle/fight for the shirt can only benefit the club.
If Sadio doesn’t agree a new deal by the end of the season, we could well see his time at the club come to an end as the club would want to get a fee for him. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, the hope is Diaz would have settled in and already proven to be a ready made replacement.
• What happens to Origi & Minamino?
It cannot be denied how grim the prospects of Origi and Minamino look at the minute. Divock has been nursing a knee injury that has seen him miss the whole of January with Mané and Salah away at AFCON. Minamino has been overlooked for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kaide Gordon in that same period.
If he couldn’t get games in the absence of the African duo, what chance does he stand when they return and are joined by a brand new big money signing? It is no surprise to see Minamino and Origi linked with moves away in recent days. One or both could seal a move on deadline day to secure game time elsewhere.
It is important to remember the club initially wanted to move for Diaz in the summer. The plan had been drawn to make a move ahead of next season. This means it’s possible he spends the next six months just acclimatising to a new country, culture and language.
He’s likely to get the Fabinho treatment where he spends weeks in the shadows just learning what the manager wants and expects of him. During this period he will still be available to come off the bench as he provides unpredictability.
There is certainly no rush to throw him straight in as he wasn’t even supposed to be a Liverpool player till the summer. He will be given time to bed in and settle with him not having the benefit of a pre-season, a key requirement Jürgen Klopp usually wants of his new signings.
However it goes, this is an exciting signing for the entire club. Diaz will not only be an option for the future, he will be available for the here and now and will help the club’s cause to win silverware.