Simon Mignolet was at his best in his last season with Sunderland, which earned him his big move to Liverpool last season. With stellar performances at the start of last season including a penalty save on his debut against Stoke City, his performances have been under scrutiny since then. People often look back at Gerrard’s slip last season when reasoning Liverpool’s failure to land the Premier League title. But, soft goals conceded for example against Manchester City due to individual goalkeeping errors were equally responsible for Liverpool’s second place finish.
Liverpool were linked with a number of goalkeepers in the summer to challenge Mignolet but failed to secure the signature of any. No doubt, Mignolet is a great shot-stopper but he lacks the authority in the 18-yard box which further dampens the confidence of an already leaky Liverpool defence. He further does not suit the way Rodger’s wants his team to play as he looks nervous when the ball is at his feet and his distribution from the back is poor.
Former Barcelona man, Victor Valdes is currently a free agent after his proposed move to AS Monaco fell through. Liverpool have been heavily linked with the experienced Spanish international, with some reputed journalists reporting that Valdes would be plying his trade at Anfield once he recovers from the knee injury that has kept him out of action for the last 6 months. Although, such rumors were quickly put to bed by the Liverpool manager. There is no doubt that a goalkeeper is high on Brendan Rodgers list with Mignolet failing to regain the form he showed in the initial 6 months of his Liverpool career.
Valdes, though has his own doubters, would be the ideal candidate to provide Mignolet much needed competition. He may not instantly become the number one choice at Liverpool but having a player of Valdes’s stature in the squad would keep Mignolet on his toes and might just help Mignolet realize his full potential. Having successfully played tiki-taka football under Pep Guardiola, Valdes is confident with the ball at his feet and thus, is a good distributor of the ball. He is a type of a keeper who would instill confidence in his defenders. Having regularly played Champions League football for the past several seasons, his experience at the top level would be an advantage to a relatively ‘Champions League-young’ Liverpool side.
Valdes might just be the goalkeeper Rodgers was hoping for when he signed Mignolet. Being out of action for the past 6 months, Valdes would be rearing to go and a chance to play regular football at Liverpool might just be beneficial for both the parties. Valdes being a free agent means Liverpool do not have to wait until January to sign a new keeper and can be signed outside the transfer window.
Although Valdes is reported to be currently training with Manchester United and is odds on to join them on a short-term contract but nothing is certain until he signs on the dotted line. Therefore, Liverpool must do everything in their power to sway Valdes to Anfield and the lure of Champions League football might sway the deal back into their favour. Returning from a 6-month layoff, Valdes might take some time before he returns to full fitness and can be at his best. But, with no transfer fees involved, Valdes becomes a ‘must-take’ option for Liverpool even if it means initially securing his services on a short-term contract or until the end of the season.