Liverpool have completed the signing of Porto midfielder Raul Meireles in an £11.5m deal, and while his predecessor will be sorely missed, this should quickly prove to be money well spent by Roy Hodgson.
After agreeing to sell Javier Mascherano, Liverpool agreed a fee with Porto for Meireles on Friday night, and the deal was finalized last night, with the 27-year-old penning a four-year contract.
The 38-times capped Portugal international has moved quickly to distance himself from the outgoing Mascherano, saying to the Sunday Express: I am Meireles and not Mascherano and that will be clear to the fans. I hope one day the Liverpool fans will remember me for being successful.”
Those words should ring true on the pitch from the start. Mascherano is unquestionably one of the best, if not the best, defensive midfielders in the world, but his impact in attack is limited. However, Meireles, who tallied six league goals and eight assists in his last two seasons at Porto, adds that extra dimension as well as fitting the bill as a defensive midfielder.
As shown by his comments, Meireles is obviously not short on confidence, he also brings vast experience, having taken part in the Champions League each of the last six seasons (with Porto reaching the knockout stages all but once), Euro 2008, and the 2010 World Cup, where he impressed enough to earn links with Manchester United and Chelsea.
Given the hole Mascherano’s departure is leaving, the timing in proximity to the end of the transfer window, and the fact that Liverpool are still very much trying to find their footing, it was important to hit the target with a replacement for the Argentine. And at first glance, it looks like Roy’s done just that.