Liverpool have announced that they have parted ways with Jonjo Shelvey as he moves to Michael Laudrup’s Swansea.
The midfielder who actively modeled his game on Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had joined Liverpool in 2010 from Charlton Athletic. He rejected the approaches of Chelsea and Everton back then and was seen as a player with tremendous potential.
While that has not changed, his stock has definitely fallen as he failed to rise up to the challenge at Anfield when Brendan Rodgers handed him with 19 appearances. Liverpool will get £5million initially and another million in add-ons. This amount will boost their transfer kitty by a bit in a transfer window ,in which Liverpool have done swift business.
Swansea, on the other hand, have been strengthening their squad quietly. They have already added six players to their squad including Alexjandor Pozuelo, Jose Canas and Jordi Amat. The fact that the Premier League rules ensure that squads cannot include more than 17 non-home-grown players aged over 21 in their 25-man squad means that the Swans were on the margins with 14 non-home grown players in their squad already. They are still targeting the European market for more talent. This spurred the deal for Jonjo Shelvey who has been a regular part of the England U-19 and U-21 outfits.
Swansea enjoyed a successful season last year that saw the club winning their first piece of Silverware with the Capital One cup. The club finished in the ninth position and Micahel Laudrup values that much more than their cup success. They will be looking to consolidate upon their performance in last season. The club will also be participating in Europe, something that Liverpool did last year, and that was an incentive that drew Shelvey into making the commitment.
The investment of £6 million is a heavy one for a club like Swansea who do not have the financial muscle like many other Premier League clubs and that is one of the reasons why their success was all the more impressive last season.
Michael Laudrup has talked about this facet of the club’s performance: “Money is not all in life, and not in football, but it’s quite important and to have the lowest budget in the league means to finish in the top 10 may be an even bigger result. Our aim has to be to try to consolidate in mid-table. That sounds a bit arrogant but we finished 11th last year and eighth or ninth this season. That’s what we have to aim for next season as well. And it won’t be easy as I know some of the clubs below us want to spend heavily, so it’s another huge challenge.”
Shelvey is a player with many qualities. His distribution is good, his vision on the ball is impressive and his thought process is progressive. He likes to make that incisive pass which sets up a goal, a quality that he admires in Steven Gerrard. He can also get into goal-scoring positions and played as a second striker for Liverpool for a brief while last season.
He has his share of limitations too. He lacks that extra yard of pace which is useful in initiating counter attacking moves and that compromises his offensive abilities. He can be vulnerable to excessive shoes of emotion on the pitch, and an odd tackle that does not look pretty. He needs to add composure to his game and most Liverpool fans will remember his shocking tackle against Manchester United that saw him being sent off.
The move to a club like Swansea might be exactly what he requires to grow. He will have one of the better managers in the Premier league guiding his career and the expectation will be realistic. His experience in Europe from last season will hold him in good stead at Swansea.
He made 13 appearances for Liverpool in the Europa League in which he netted four goals. He was markedly better playing for Blackpool in 2011 where he scored six goals in ten games. He wants to play in the role of an attacking midfielder and that possibility remains very slim at Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers was initially very impressed with what Shelvey had to offer but he slipped in the hierarchy with the improved performances of Jordan Henderson and return of Lucas Leiva. The signing of Philippe Coutinho in January ensured that he did not get a lot of time on the pitch in the latter half of the season and it was difficult to see him play an active role at the club’s campaign next season. Liverpool will do well to invest the cash that they have received from this deal with great caution.