Craig Bellamy may have arrived a little too late to feature in Liverpool’s ongoing ‘˜100 Players Who Shook The Kop’ countdown, but the club’s biggest signing of the summer to date certainly has the potential to rock the famous terrace in years to come.
At 27, the Cardiff export boasts a CV populated with moments of brilliance, moments of madness and moments of infuriating ill-discipline. Indeed, the Welsh International is defined for his erratic, bad-boy behaviour as much as his sizzling football ability, a mould Rafael Benitez must correct immediately. Undoubtedly, a great player lies within Craig Bellamy, as was detectable during the second half of last season. Fit, focused and perhaps with a point to prove, the former Newcastle forward terrorised defences on the behalf of Blackburn, almost single-handedly ensuring their top 6 finish in the process. Such form obviously coaxed Benitez into pursuit, the Â£6 million arrival of a player whose tantrums exceed that of a five year old child confirmed in June.
An encouraging start to his Anfield career resulted in a well taken goal at the Racecourse Ground last weekend, as the self-confessed Kopite embarks upon his last shot at the highest echelons of the English game.
From the supporters perspective the Bellamy capture provides unwavering excitement. This is a striker who harries, a player whose pace is reminiscent of a young Michael Owen and a talent capable of outstanding things. In many ways, the Reds new number 17 will become the player opposing fans love to hate, but who will be assured total Scouse backing due to his heart.
Some might have questioned his position in the game coming into last season. Here was a player who promised so much, but whose arrogance had contributed to a seeming downfall, at St. James’ Park at least. Nevertheless, those concerns were laid to rest throughout the course of 2005/06, one performance in particular, at Fratton Park, where two goal of the season contenders were fired home to underline the quality of the man.
Alongside Peter Crouch and Robbie Fowler, Bellamy strengthens a striking department short on goals last term. His addition is a positive one, yet further maintenance is required following the departures of Fernando Morientes and Djibril Cisse. If ground is to be made-up on Chelsea, another forward has to be brought-in before the deadline. Talk of Dirk Kuyt has been circulating for some time now, but a Â£10 million plus price tag will surely trigger Benitez to turn his attentions elsewhere.
As regards to Bellamy’s fellow incomers, Mark Gonzales portrayed signs of class in Spain for Real Sociedad, but until he proves himself in Engalnd, fears of Antonio Nunez mark two linger. Gabriel Paelleta looks solid, and will hopefully be utilized progressively this year, as well as Daniel Agger, both being honed as Sami Hyypia’s eventual replacement. Fabio Aurellio is proven, and should comfortably settle into the Premiership, though Liverpool’s left-side now looks rather populated.
Whether or not further signings materialise remains to be seen, but the presence of a certain Welshman looks set to spice-up proceedings at Anfield Road regardless.