Ian Ayre Says Liverpool Defense Is Strong After Adding Mamadou Sakho, Tiago Ilori


September 2, 2013

Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre spoke of his delight after two new center-backs arrived at Anfield in the form of Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori.

Ayre insists Sakho is an important marquee signing for the club — and a character who will bring a huge amount of experience to the heart of the Reds’ defense.

Meanwhile, Ilori can be both a key player for the future and a useful addition to Brendan Rodgers‘ current playing squad.

The former completed a long-term switch from Paris Saint-Germain on Monday — and Ayre insisted the club are delighted at having secured the services of the sought-after 23-year-old.

“Sakho is a top, top center-half and that adds to the great center-back pairings that we have already and it will give that depth,” Ayre said. “He’s an important marquee signing for us. It was a difficult one to do and it was a difficult one for us to get, but I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to attract him to the football club.

“One of the things that Brendan said was that he wanted to add real depth and strength and Sakho is a [UEFA] Champions League player of great pedigree and experience.

“I think it’s difficult to imagine anyone filling Jamie Carragher‘s shoes, but what the arrival will do is bring huge strength and experience to the squad. I think importantly, when you see him on the pitch, you see that he’s a leader and he’s very strong.

“He’s very much a character and I think that’s something that Brendan made clear in his selection and what he was looking for. As well as bringing in youth, he wanted to bring in experience and talent.

“The manager wanted to bring leaders and people who could dig in when needed. I think when our fans get to see Sakho in action, they’ll see he’s definitely got all of those characteristics.”

The Frenchman’s arrival further bolsters the Reds’ defensive ranks after the earlier addition of Kolo Toure at the start of the summer.

After announcing that youngster Ilori will now also join the squad, Ayre is confident Rodgers has a fine blend of ability and experience at his disposal.

“We’ve got a group of center-halves who are young and experienced,” he continued. “We’ve got a lot of depth and it’s not just a great group of center-halves, it’s a good group for the future. That’s what we’ve been trying to do in all areas.

“Some of it will take a bit of time, but there’s been great investment in the squad and it’s a mixture of bringing in great experience, which costs a lot of money, but also bringing in good, young raw talent that we can develop.”

Ilori made his switch from Sporting Lisbon official on Monday after arriving at Melwood to sign a long-term contract with the Reds.

“He’s a young player, who has some experience, but he’ll obviously need more,” said Ayre. “But he adds to that group of central defenders and he gives us something for the future as well as being someone who is able to contribute now.

“I know that Brendan and the team are looking forward to working hard with Tiago and getting him up to a high level. He’s another great coup for Liverpool, to bring in great, young talent, as we have in other areas of the team.

“I remember when I was a kid watching this club, it was all about bringing in young, relatively unknown talent and developing it into world-class talent. As long as we can continue to do that, I think we’ll be putting ourselves into good shape.”

Photo via LiverpoolFC.com

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