Does Oussama Assaidi Bring More Than His Footballing Skill To Anfield?
Liverpool Football Club have today announced the signing of Oussama Assaidi from SC Heerenveen for a rumoured £3 million, but what do we know about the young Moroccan?
At just 24 years old, Assaidi has already made 22 appearances for the Moroccan national side and has been one of the key players in SC Heerenveen’s line-up for a number of years now. The tricky winger’s most memorable performance in a Heerenveen shirt was an outstanding display against defending champions FC Twente in the Eredivisie. In the impressive 6-2 victory for Heerenveen, the Moroccan scored a hat-trick and set up the remaining three goals.
With pace and skill in abundance, Assaidi is sure to alleviate some of Liverpool’s problems on the wings, and with an impressive goals per game ratio the Moroccan is sure to improve The Reds’ dismal scoring record from last season and terrify opposition defenders.
However, this transfer means more than simply signing a promising young player. The signing of Assaidi signals the beginning of Liverpool’s quest to once again find players from outside the confines of the Premier League (even Fabio Borini, signed from AS Roma, had some Premier League experience from his days at Chelsea).
Most of Liverpool’s most successful signings in recent years, such as Xabi Alonso, Lucas Leiva, Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres, and Luis Suarez, have come with no Premier League experience but thrived in the cut-and-thrust atmosphere of the English league. There has been some success at Anfield with Premier League players recently, most notably with Jose Enrique finally filling the left-back void in the Liverpool defence, but in general the “local” signings have struggled to settle in.
Part of the appeal of buying players with Premier League experience is the idea that they won’t need time to bed in at the club. Instead, they hit the ground running and simply continue to do what they did last season but in a different jersey. It is this expectation (along with Uefa’s home-grown player rule) that drives the price of such players much higher than their foreign counter-parts.
Having spent £35 million on Andy Carroll, Liverpool were under immense pressure to get instant results from the England striker, knowing that if they couldn’t they will have lost a lot of money. In the case of Assaidi, Liverpool have spent just £3 million and as such can afford to be more patient and develop the Moroccan into the best player he can be.
I have full faith in the coaching set-up at Melwood and I believe that in time, Oussama Assaidi can earn himself a place in the heart of every man, woman, and child on the Kop.
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