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Can Dossena be as effective as Evra, Clichy and Cole?

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Liverpool are hoping to finally complete the signing of Udinese full-back Andrea Dossena next week, with the transfer fee reported in some quarters to be 7m.

Is Dossena good enough to be categorised in the same bracket as Gael Clichy, Patrice Evra or Ashley Cole / Wayne Bridge?

From all accounts, Dossena has the technical ability and the mental fortitude to succeed in the Premiership. He’s a solid defender, good in the air but also with an excellent first touch and dangerous going forward. He’s tall for a full-back – and could also theoretically deputise at center-back (we all know how much Rafa loves these interchangeable players).

He’s liable to have some problems early on but he should prove to be a success in the Premier League.

Can he match the efforts of the left backs gracing the first team squads of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United? Let’s compare:

Gael Clichy (Arsenal) – at his age, to play with such drive, commitment and composure – Clichy is a true success story of the Arsenal academy. He was picked up at the age of 18 and was Ashley Cole’s understudy for 3 seasons before bursting on to the big stage and justifiably laid claim to being the best fullback in the Premier League. Clichy lacks the experience of his rivals but makes up for it in sheer ability and self-belief.

Ashley Cole (Chelsea) – some say he shouldn’t be Chelsea’s first-choice left-back, but when on form Cole is better than Wayne Bridge by a mile and a half. He’s fast, has an impeccable sense of tackling (that rash tackle apart) and is the best defender from the trio being discussed. Last season he had some problems, in terms of form as well as with the referees, and he’s probably the most hated player in the Premier League, but in terms of ability and experience this man is definitely top 3, if not the best (his attacking play let’s him down at times although he doesn’t have the right formation / players in front of him at Chelsea.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United) – Used the excellent season he had in 06/07 as a springboard to launch himself into 07/08 as the Premier League’s best attacking full-back in several years. It’s not so much what he does on the ball – his shooting can be wayward – as what he does off it, with his constant forward runs pulling defenders away and creating room for the likes of Ronaldo, Giggs, Rooney, Nani and co to pop up and create scoring chances. He’s improved on his positioning and made some crucial last-ditch tackles last season.

How does Dossena stand up to these three? One, he’s taller and possibly a tad bit slower, and two, he’s less liable to go rampaging up the left flank as opposed to the likes of Evra and Clichy. He seems to be a very sound defender though, so at the very least Liverpool will have a solid defensive base to build their attacks on.

What do you guys think – will Dossena, given time, be as important a part of Liverpool’s defence as the three left-backs mentioned above? Will he be as good (if not better) than them? Sound off in the comments below.

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