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Gary Lim
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Sports

EPL: Ready for Remy's turn

The New Paper | Gary Lim | Friday, Jul 25, 2014

All that's left is a medical to pass before Loic Remy dons the red of Liverpool.

When the move finally goes through, the France international will be Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers' fifth signing this summer. All things considered, Remy looks a good buy.

He's skilful, well-versed on the demands of the English Premier League, and at £8.5 million ($18m), won't represent that much of a risk.

Nobody's really expect him to be the next Luis Suarez.

Certainly not Liverpool, whose swoop for Queens Park Rangers' French striker was long in the pipeline, way before Suarez left for Barcelona recently.

But Remy, 27, will still find it hard to shake off comparisons.

Liverpool's success with foreign strikers in recent years has been the envy of many.

Before Suarez, there was Fernando Torres, whose displays for the Merseyside club were so brilliant that his current demise at Chelsea is inexplicable.

The Blues appear anxious to offload a £50-million mistake they made three years ago.

STEEP SLIDE

But no-one could have predicted a downfall this spectacular.

At Liverpool, Torres blossomed. He terrorised defences like few others, and led the Reds to within four points of a first Premiership crown during the 2008/09 campaign.

The Kop had him in their pantheon, until he switched allegiances and joined the Stamford Bridge brigade.

His decline was immediate.

And Liverpool fans forgot the hurt quickly. Suarez made it possible.

The Uruguayan was the perfect cure. He scored on his debut to offer an instant glimpse of the future, and duly developed into the finest player in England.

It culminated in him sweeping all the Premiership individual accolades last season, after he fired in 31 goals in 33 games to take Liverpool to the brink of the league title.

These are the benchmarks Remy will be measured against.

Suarez arrived at Anfield as nothing more than a raw talent, his abilities showcased in Holland's Eredivisie but not yet tested in deeper waters.

With Remy, Liverpool are counting on him finally meeting his date with stardom. He was once dubbed "the new Thierry Henry". When he was making waves in the French Ligue 1 with Nice, he drew the attention of Arsenal, AC Milan, Lyon and Bordeaux.

In fact, the Gunners retained their interest until a few days ago, when his wage demands proved to be too much of a stumbling block. Remy's prolific record bodes well for the Reds.

He hit 14 goals from 26 league appearances when he spent last season on loan at Newcastle, and force his way into France's World Cup squad.

His pace, power and ability to operate anywhere along the front line adds firepower to an offensive, fluid Liverpool side.

Remy's capture comes on the back of the signing of another striker, Rickie Lambert.

Clearly, Rodgers has no plans to err on the side of caution.

Daniel Sturridge will not be shoved aside. The England striker will take Suarez's place as the attacking heartbeat, most likely from a central role.

He is still the man both club and country are banking on to lead them to glory.

Lambert, on the other hand, is expected to provide depth and competition for places, and his presence will come in handy as Liverpool fight on domestic and European fronts.

Remy's versatility could see him deployed in the wide areas, to cut in from the flanks, putting his speed and excellent off-the-ball running to good use.

He has the quality to shine. Just don't expect him to fill Suarez's big shoes.

LOIC REMY

2013/14 Premiership Newcastle (on loan) Appearances: 26 Goals: 14

2012/13 Premiership Queens Park Rangers Appearances: 14 Goals: 6

LUIS SUAREZ

(All competitions)

Appearances: 133 Goals: 82

Transfer fee paid: £22.8 million Transfer fee received: £75 million

FERNANDO TORRES

(All competitions)

Appearances: 142 Goals: 81

Transfer fee paid: £20 million Transfer fee received: £50 million


This article was first published on July 23, 2014.
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