Rumour Mongering: Zombie Adam Johnson Shambles Into View

Scott Heavey

Having been linked to Liverpool in the past, it's not surprising to see Sunderland's Adam Johnson linked again. But unless you were fond of Stewart Downing, this isn't a good thing.

Do you like zombified, reheated old rumours? Do you like Liverpool being linked to players who seem a terrible fit for Brendan Rodgers' system? Did you enjoy Stewart Downing's time at the club? If the answer is yes to all three, you'll love that rumours linking Sunderland's Adam Johnson with a Liverpool move are shambling back to life after taking January off.

For the rest of us, it's time for a bout of serious eye-rolling. The tactically limited winger has been linked to Liverpool off and on for a few seasons now and, at 26 years of age, has reached a stage in his career when one wouldn't expect him to get a whole lot better. In footballing terms, he should be entering his prime, a known quantity. Which would be fine if the player he was today could help Liverpool.

The tactical and technical talents of a player like Adam Lallana, who has spent his career playing at a club that values an uptempo passing approach and is entering his prime, would seem to fit Liverpool perfectly. He's got style and vision and finesse. But Johnson is the footballing equivalent of a blunt object. You give him the ball, he puts his head down, and sometimes he pulls off a trick or two on his way towards goal.

One only has to look towards England at present, where Wayne Rooney's ponderous approach to wing play shows how such a player can end up impacting a side when shoved into the midst of what might otherwise be a fluid, attacking lineup. And Adam Johnson is nowhere near being in the same class as Wayne Rooney, for all the deserved criticism the England striker gets.

A player like Johnson has his uses. For a mid-table club that can make him the focal point of attack, feeding him the ball and forgiving his resistance to passing and tendency to run himself into corners because occasionally he'll beat three defenders and score a goal that shows up on Match of the Day, he could be a quite valuable asset.

For Liverpool he would be a hinderance. And suggestions he could be heading to Anfield in exchange for the younger and more intelligent Fabio Borini only make the rumours worse. Thankfully, for now they're just rumours. Reheated zombie rumours that have been shambling along for years. If we're all lucky, they'll shamble quickly off again.

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