When Liverpool and Wigan drew 1-1 at the DW just two weeks ago, a few things were very clear.
Liverpool was slow, back-footed and lacked creativity, and the best player on the pitch wasn’t playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs. He was Wigan’s Charles N’Zogbia.
Accordingly, a player who can outplay everybody on one of the world’s biggest clubs probably would want to be on one, and N’Zogbia has made clear that such is exactly the case.
“Wigan’s just a stepping stone. They know very well I’m not a player who is going to stay at the club,” N’Zogbia told the Daily Star. “I give 100 percent on the pitch, but, if there’s a bigger club that wants me, the manager and the president have always told me the door is open for discussion.”
That’s about as straightforward of an indication that N’Zogbia will be on the move in the next year as could possibly be given.
Roy Hodgson and Damien Comolli better bring him to Anfield.
It’s no secret that Liverpool’s glaring weakness this season has been at left wing. Joe Cole has been poor and not always been match fit, and while Milan Jovanovic hasn’t been given much of a chance, that’s hardly a reason to not try to improve.
Liverpool needs more, which is exactly what N’Zogbia could provide — at a very reasonable cost.
The winger has been valued at about $14 million (9 million pounds), and there is simply no player that the team has been linked with who would come at such a reasonable price. Many have been keen on Karim Benzema, Juan Mata and Fernando Llorrente of La Liga, but they would all cost well more than double what N’Zogbia would. Aaron Lennon and Ashley Young play similar roles to N’Zogbia, but neither has had the 24-year-old Frenchman’s form this year, and both would cost more. With years of Premier League experience, he also won’t have trouble adjusting at Anfield — something Jovanovic and Christian Poulsen clearly have.
Neither Lennon nor Young, also, is the goal scorer that N’Zogbia is. Despite Fernando Torres‘ struggles, he has remained the team’s leading scorer and is really the only player scoring created goals in the run of play. Much of the rest of the scoring has come on set pieces or through scrappy play.
Not only is N’Zogbia a pacy wide player, but he can play as a number 10 in a Carlos Tevez-like role and makes incisive runs from wide positions like Adam Johnson. Cole has been wholly one dimensional — taking the ball to the corner and crossing, usually poorly. N’Zogbia forces the issue with his runs and passes — in grave contrast to the often stagnant and predictable offensive play that the Reds have offered.
Some have said that N’Zogbia doesn’t have enough class to play for Liverpool, but it’s hard to argue that somebody who has recently been called up to the French national team lacks class. He’s getting better and better and would only improve if surrounded by the talent level that Liverpool offers.
N’Zogbia has made his intentions clear. If Liverpool doesn’t act accordingly, they will have missed a significant opportunity to drastically improve their side.