With the January transfer window now open, Jack Lusby suggests that Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama should be made a top priority for Liverpool.
Simon Mignolet is one player Liverpool need replacing in January, and the man do so is Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
The news that Mark Schwarzer, Chelsea’s third goalkeeper, was set to join Premier League relegation battler Leicester City this January dealt Liverpool a blow in their pursuit of another Blues goalkeeper.
The Telegraph’s John Percy, commenting on the deal, claimed “the possibility that Jose Mourinho will allow Petr Cech to leave on loan or be sold during the January window has become less likely.”
Elsewhere, Fiorentina shot-stopper Neto, Genoa’s Mattia Perin, Malaga’s Guillermo Ochoa and the more ridiculously speculated John Ruddy and Iker Casillas have all been linked with moves to Anfield.
It’s clear that Liverpool need a goalkeeper, with both Mignolet and Brad Jones falling far below par for a top-four challenging side.
While some of these would be wise choices by Rodgers this January, instead a move for Lille’s Enyeama could turn Liverpool’s season around.
The 32-year-old perennial Football Manager must-buy joined the Ligue 1 side in 2011, but it has taken a while for Enyeama to establish himself at Lille.
A 2012/13 loan at Maccabi Tel Aviv saw the Nigerian earn his stripes and a place in Rene Girard’s first team.
Enyeama is a confident, athletic shot-stopper with a great command of his penalty area, and has been an outstanding feature in the past two World Cup competitions for the Super Eagles.
Furthermore, the goalkeeper regularly finds himself on the receiving end of plaudits for his consistently impressive work between the sticks for Lille.
French newspaper L’Equipe recently voted Enyeama the best goalkeeper in Ligue 1 for 2014.
This is “despite Lille’s stuttering start to the 2014-15 season that sees them languishing in place in 13th place in the 20-team standings.”
L'équipe type de la saison en Ligue 1 pic.twitter.com/4x6RMTVJyt
— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) May 19, 2014
Enyeama was also ranked the best goalkeeper in France for last season, clawing away competition from the likes of Stephane Ruffier, Salvatore Sirigu and Steve Mandanda.
Enyeama vs. Mignolet
Compared to Liverpool’s current first-choice goalkeeper, Mignolet, Enyeama stands up as a wholly more functional option, as seen below with statistics courtesy of Squawka.
Despite Lille’s precarious Ligue 1 position, Enyeama has kept seven clean sheets this season, and conceded less goals than Mignolet, with his higher number of saves made serving as evidence of his contribution to the cause.
The 17 goals Lille have conceded with Enyeama in goal this season is six less than any other team in the bottom half of Ligue 1, with only Paris Saint-Germain and AS Saint Etienne registering a lower concession rate this season.
What that says about Lille’s profligate strike force, prominently featuring soon-to-be Reds striker Divock Origi, is another matter entirely.
Reminder: Lille's Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has signed a new contract to stay at the French club until the summer of June 2017.
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) December 10, 2013
The only stumbling block in a Liverpool move for Enyeama is that the goalkeeper signed a new contract with Lille just over a year ago.
Nevertheless, the Guardian recently suggested Enyeama could be signed for as little as £4 million.
At 32 years old, with a long spell still to come in his prime, and with the exceptional skills that he has evidenced both internationally and on the domestic stage, Vincent Enyeama would be a great option to stabilise Liverpool’s leaky back line.
Should Liverpool sign Vincent Enyeama in January? Let us know in the comments below.