Liverpool Transfer : Charlie Adam - Surplus to Requirements or an Added Benefit?
After much fanfare and a tug of war of sorts between Blackpool and Liverpool, the much talked about Charlie Adam transfer saga has finally reached it’s end with the keystone among the Seasiders’ ranks finally set to be unveiled as a Red. Amid all the fuss about clinching one of their longtime targets, while a majority of Anfield loyalists are welcoming the 7.5 million pound signing, there is one section however which is not overtly impressed with the Scottish international’s addition in the Liverpool squad. There are two sides to a coin and the same applies to this case. Before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at the latest addition to the Liverpool squadron…
Charlie Adam’s brief profile:
Charlie Adam started off as an 18 year old for Scottish outfit Rangers in January 2003. After doing well in their youth setup, Adam was promoted as a first team player and made his debut in April 2004 against Livingstone. Inspite of doing well in patches, he failed to become a first team regular and was eventually loaned out to Scottish first division club Ross County.
Charlie Adam, with his charismatic persona , striking pace and mellifluous control over the ball made his presence felt at his new club. He didn’t manage to secure his place in the starting 11 but still managed to grab eye-balls for his intelligence, pace and passing. In 15 appearances he made for County, he managed to score 2 goals. Inspite of not being among the mainstays in midfield for Ross County, Charlie Adam did feature in the 2004 Scottish Challenge Cup final in which his side came out the second best.
Latching onto the opportunity to bring Charlie Adam to Paisley, St. Mirren roped in the rising star on loan for the 2005-2006 season. Adam was a regular starter with the Buddies and didn’t miss any chance to shine and excel as a player further. Adam might’ve missed out on the Scottish Challenge Cup last time out but as destiny had it, he won the same competition in 2005 with St. Mirren. He won the first division title with the Buddies the same season which marked an end to a successful spell at Paisley. Adam scored 5 goals in 29 appearances for St. Mirren.
After a sumptuous spell with St.Mirren, Charlie Adam was back with Rangers where he became a regular starter after impressing the men in charge during the pre-season bouts. Charlie Adam now anchored the Rangers midfield and became an intergral part of the side’s plans. After scoring several important goals for the Scottish outfit and being a standout performer, he was named the club’s Young Player of the Year. Adam also represented Rangers in the UEFA Champions League and slammed 2 goals, both against German giants Vfb Stuttgart. Adam managed a total of 13 goals in 61 appearances for Rangers.
Charlie Adam was initially loaned to English Championship side Blackpool in February 2009, only to be signed permanently by the Seasiders later after Adam proved himself to be one of the mainsprings of Ian Hollaway’s side. In what was to follow changed the life of this gritty and talented footballer… After being instrumental for the Championship side on innumerable occasions and bagging several accolades and awards on the way, Charlie Adam, with his awe-inspiring game and virtuosity on the ball, halped Blackpool realize what was a dream worth waiting for. Adam anchored the Seasiders to the biggest stage in English football, the English Premier League for the first time since 1971.
Charlie Adam continued weaving his magic in the Premier League and scored some crucial goals and set up plenty as well. He was included in the Premier League Team of the Week for week 4. Blackpool, inspite of fighting valiantly and winning a lot of hearts eventually bowed out with their heads held high. Adam found the back of the net 28 times in 78 appearances for Blackpool.
Charlie Adam has now passed his medical with the Reds and is set to complete his move to Anfield in the next couple of days. The first impression of the ace midfielder is certainly one of excitement and adulation for what he stood for at his former club. The question however is in what way will he be able to add on to Liverpool, if he would and will he able to make the same impact for the Reds like he made for the Seasiders. Let’s analyse the pros and cons of having Charlie Adam in the Liverpool ranks…
- Flexibity in midfield : Charlie Adam, inspite of being primarily a central midfielder, can ply his trade efficiently at the left and even as an attacking midfielder just behind the target man. Adam can suit well in the Liverpool midfield with Gerrard alongside him at the centre, Kuyt at the right, Lucas behind and Suarez at the left. Kenny can even rotate the formation by giving Adam a free role behind lone striker Caroll, with Gerrard stepping back and joining Lucas with Suarez and Kuyt on the flanks. Another option could be to play 3 midfielders behind Adam and two strikers ahead whom he can feed.
- Well equipped for set-pieces: Charlie Adam has shown time and again his competence to excel in set-pieces. Not only can he take corners well(he has even scored one directly from the corner!)but can also drive home long ranged free-kicks and take penalties with relative ease. Adam’s role as an anchorman in the Blackpool midfield has certainly helped him brush up his skills in this department. Liverpool will certainly find a viable option in set-pieces in the form of Adam who can take on the mantle from skipper Steven Gerrard if the situation demands.
- Leadership traits: Charlie Adam was someone who epitomized Blackpool and the style of their play. While it would be unfair to credit Adam solely for Blackpool’s success in the Championship and even to an extent, in the Premier League, having led the Seasiders and being the linchpin in the Blackpool midfield, Adam already has the leadership skills instilled in him which would add to his long list of attributes which he would use to help the Reds push for the top 4 by guiding and calming his team-mates when the tide is going against them and make sure complacency doesn’t set in when they’re doing well. Having led a Premiership side will even do a world of good to his confidence as he prepares to rub his shoulders with some of the best in the world.
- Can feed the strikers: Charlie Adam was among the list of midfielders who created the most number of chances in the Premier League last season, in the same list as some of the most celebrated names in world football. If he plays to his potential and is given that freedom to do his thing in midfield, it’s almost certain that he will provide end number of chances to Caroll and co. up front. His dexterity in midfield can do wonders for the Reds, who alongside Gerrard makes for an explosive pair.
- Ease the burden on Gerrard: Liverpool since long have been heavily reliant on their inspirational captain Steven Gerrard, whose moments of magic have seen them bounce back from the jaws of defeat umpteen times. With the addition of Charlie Adam, who on his day can toy around with any defense and with his towering crosses and sagacious passing not to forget his astute control over the ball, can ably assist Gerrard or even take his place in the absence of the Liverpool talisman.
- Add to the options in terms of personnel: Liverpool have the luxury of having a profusion of options in midfield and the addition of the ex-Blackpool man only adds to what King Kenny has on his exposure. With multiple players fighting for the same place, Liverpool are spoilt for choice which can bring the best out of the side.
- A new challenge: From Blackpool to Liverpool is a huge step forward and Charlie Adam faces a new challenge which is to help his side get back in the Champions League and push for top honours which is a much bigger challenge than what he was faced with at Blackpool. To do well week in and week out in a bigger club and in arguably the best league in the world is no cakewalk and with such staunch competition for a place in the side, it could just bring out the best in any player and Charlie Adam is no exception.
- Uncomfortable in defensive situations: Charlie Adam might be an effective attacking outlet but he has proved time and time again with Blackpool about how fragile he is in defensive situations. He cannot keep his cool while making defensive runs and often ends up messing things for his side’s defending unit. Adam’s incompetence defensively certainly goes against him.
- Might not have the same influence: Charlie Adam was without a doubt a chief contributor to Blackpool’s attacking forays and enjoyed quite a lot of influence in midfield which he utilized to great effect. The thing which can be pointed out here with all due respect to Blackpool is the difference in quality between the two sides. While Blackpool had modest attacking options, Liverpool have world beaters like Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll, Dirk Kuyt among others who have a lot of influence in Liverpool’s play and general attacking forays. Will Charlie Adam be able to shine among these established stars is a big question.
- Changing the winning formation: Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish have come a long way from where they stood under the reign of Roy Hodgson. Kenny unified the side into one solid force and with each player assigned their area of operations, it has worked magnificently and could take a turn for the worse if there is any attempt at shaking this unification. Adam’s inclusion will make Kenny fiddle with the tried and tested team formation which could work against the team.
- Midfield too crowded: Looking at the options Liverpool have in midfield, some might say the signing of Charlie Adam was unwarranted. Steven Gerrard and Lucas would surely be the first 2 names in the teamsheet. For the remaining positions, as many as 10 players will vie for them. Raul Meriles, Maxi Rodriguez, Christian Poulsen, Joe Cole, Jonjo Shelvy, Milan Jovanovic, Alberto Aquilani will all find it hard to make it to the starting 11. Now with the addition of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, things will only get more complicated.
- Detrimental to other performers: Too much competition might see one of the better performing stars in the form of Raul Meriles gunning for the exit. The roping in of Henderson and Adam is widely seen by many as an indication of Meriles’ exit which is a bit odd considering how good Meriles was for the Reds last season. Also, young guns like Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvy could go out on loan inspite of showing a lot of promise whenever they were asked to show up during the course of the last campaign.
As things stand, one can choose to look at them the way one wants. While there are negative sides to this deal, there are many positives too. It’s like whether one sees the glass as half full or half empty.
At the end of the day though, irrespective of whether he does exceedingly well for Liverpool or not, the rise of Charlie Adam, from a Rangers’ reject at one point to being inked with one of the most celebrated clubs in European football, has been nothing short of phenomenal.