Liverpool’s £16m Signing: Value For Money?
When Liverpool decided to part with about £16million for Jordan Henderson eyebrows were raised across the country.
Although Henderson had enjoyed a good run of early season form, his performances, along with that of former club Sunderland, dipped significantly in the second part of the campaign.
And with Liverpool boasting central midfield options that include Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles and a revitalised Lucas Leiva you can see why people are sceptical.
Henderson though, gives The Reds a different option in the middle of the park. He is full of energy and is without doubt one of the fittest players in the league due in no small part to the incredibly disciplined lifestyle that he leads. Henderson is tee total and has dedicated himself entirely to eventually becoming a Premier League footballer.
Another strength that he possesses is his delivery both from wide areas and from dead-ball situations which will be beneficial to another of Liverpool’s young England stars Andy Carroll who will thrive on good service into the penalty area.
He is also an adaptable player, at times during Sunderland’s unprecedented injury he took on a wide berth and did not look out of place.
The price tag is quite considerable, even when taking into account today’s market but that is not Henderson’s fault and it has become clear in recent years that clubs must pay a premium for young English talent with the new home grown rules being introduced.
Liverpool themselves have seen this when they made Carroll the eighth most expensive player ever, whilst the transfer fees for Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Chris Smalling were all questioned.
The amount paid for Henderson was placed under even more scrutiny following England’s disappointing showing in the Under 21 European Championships, in which he was expected to excel.
This never materialised however, as he and his team-mates failed to make an impression on the tournament. Henderson did not benefit from England’s direct tactics that often means the midfield is bypassed, but his ball retention was certainly not good enough when he did receive it, especially when compared to the Spanish duo of Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez who look a cut above. It is genuinely surprising when either of those two give the ball away and they should be the benchmark for young England players to aim for.
But it is fool-hardy to judge Henderson on his performances for the national team. England have almost unanimously flattered to deceive in tournament football for 45 years now and exceptional players like Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Gerrard have failed to replicate their club form.
Henderson has one full cap which he earned in a friendly against France this season, ironically playing in midfield with new club mate Gerrard, and the occasion passed him by somewhat, but once again he was not alone in struggling against what appeared to be a much superior side.
Henderson does have time on his side, he is only 21 years old, so Kenny Dalglish is fully aware that he is not just investing for this season but for several more beyond it and if Henderson continues to develop then Liverpool’s £16million may turn out to be good value. At the moment though if Henderson is worth that amount of money then figures for Cesc Fabregas and Luka Modric could make eyes water.
Submitted by Chad Nugent from Football Friends