This is a player that many had expected to sign for a London club in the summer, specifically Arsenal with the attraction of the city, Champions League football, and an environment where compatriots would provide home comforts. That move hasn't come to pass and Liverpool are close to signing Mamadou Sakho's colleague from the France World Cup squad. Loïc Rémy's league record from his time in England's top flight reads 20 goals from 40 appearances (37 starts) with 3 assists. He's a goalscorer and that's why he's close to joining Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert in Liverpool's striking stable.
DOB: 2/1/87 (27) | Height: 6'0" (1.85 meters)
2014 Season: 27 appearances (24 starts)
14 goals, 3 assists
Strengths: He scores goals and has done so consistently in Ligue 1 and the English Premier League apart from his final few months at Olympique Marseille where his confidence was seemingly frail. If Liverpool added a few more million to the fee, Rémy would represent good value even with wages rumoured to hover around 80k per week. The Frenchman is quick, direct, and finishes powerfully as well as accurately from a variety of distances. In fact, his long-range shooting ability will provide some unpredictability in Liverpool's attack.
He was billed as one of France's hottest striking prospects from his youth career at Lyon. During Rémy's medical at reigning Ligue 1 champions Marseille in 2010, it was discovered that the player had a heart defect but heart specialists cleared the then 23-year-old to play. His performances in the Premier League have shown that there is nothing to worry about on the field. After Marseille, he was supposed to go to one of the league's better sides instead of the two English sides that battled for his signature.
Since his arrival in England, Rémy's record in England has been more than respectable. Six goals in 14 league appearances for a Queens Park Rangers side that was relegated two seasons ago and 14 in 27 on loan for a mid-table Newcastle side. He can score some fantastic goals from distance. He scored a blistering long-range strike without breaking stride against Wigan in his QPR days and delighted Alan Pardew with a powerful, first-time finish with his weaker left foot inside the 18-yard-box against Chelsea last season. Both are fine examples of the instinctive and ferocious finishing power that Rémy possesses.
Interestingly, some have noted that Loïc Rémy is eerily similar statistically to Daniel Sturridge. Rémy's style has been compared to that of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and he provides flair, speed, unpredictability, goals, and a counter attack threat for any side he plays for. He doesn't have the same creative chops as Henry and is more of a finisher. He has a strong preference for his right foot and can be an effective weapon cutting in from the left. At times last season, Rémy surprised observers with his diligence on the left in his defensive duties even if this remains a noted weakness in his game albeit one that is not a significant concern when he plays as striker.
Weaknesses: In terms of style, Loïc Rémy is effective at running at defenders with the ball but he will not do that too often in games. What he will do is play on the shoulder of the defender and be caught offside far too often to the delight of opposition defenders. He needs to work on timing his runs a little better and it's something that Liverpool's strikers were good at last season so if Rémy combines timing with his blistering pace then we will see goals. Liverpool have a number of players who are adept in providing passes that Rémy would appreciate but they will be wasted if he continues to be poor in remaining onside.
He has become a growing injury worry but in his time in England, he has missed 19 games over 83 days for QPR and Newcastle through injury. It's not a serious amount. Defensively, Rémy doesn't strike anyone as one of the most conscientious purveyors of defensive work off the ball, his first touch has been criticised as erratic, and sometimes he doesn't appear to be as smooth in his play as one would expect him to be.
The weaker elements of his game aren't a serious worry but his reputation as someone who may need to be watched in terms of dressing room dynamics is something to note in the caution column. He turned down a better move to Newcastle in favour of one to QPR in less than respectable circumstances and admitted that he didn't play against Liverpool in the final Premier League game of last season because Newcastle "had nothing to play for and I didn't want to risk getting hurt again." Alan Pardew "understood" his "point of view" that the World Cup was more important anyway. Newcastle was a mess in the dressing room last season and Liverpool have a strong team spirit that other French speaking players have bought into.
Summation: As one of Marseille's most attractive assets, Rémy was sold to QPR in January 2013 and showed that his goalscoring touch had not deserted him. Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding a club that was in desperate need of money affected his performances or a crisis of confidence permeated throughout his game but Rémy has been scoring goals since 2008 at Nice. He had two prolific seasons at Marseille and two at Nice so those few months can only be viewed as an aberration, a mere blip in a regular and reliable record.
Rémy will score goals when Daniel Sturridge is not available and this is a sensible move if Liverpool are going to move forward with Daniel Sturridge as the main attacking threat in a world without Luis Suárez. Rémy has proven that he will score goals in sides fighting relegation and plying their trade in midtable. He has played in the Champions League against strong opponents and holds a respectable record in Europe.
Last season he was a good omen for Newcastle as he was victorious in 11 out of the 13 games Loïc Rémy scored or assisted in. If Daniel Sturridge is unavailable and Liverpool need to continue playing in a similar way while retaining a sharp edge then Loïc Rémy is your man. This will be his biggest move of his career and he should have made a move like this a few years ago. A greater reputation across the continent, a better contract down the line, more starts for his national team, and fulfilling his potential should be on offer at Liverpool if he does what he's always done...score goals.
Positionally, Loïc Rémy can be expected to ply his trade up front for Liverpool as he won't contribute to build up or combination play from out wide or in attacking midfield positions like expected regulars Raheem Sterling, Lazar Marković, Adam Lallana, and Philippe Coutinho. Youngsters hoping to make their mark such as Suso and Jordon Ibe would offer more creativity from wide positions. Rémy could be deployed as a wide forward on occasion but no deeper than that for a Liverpool squad with other options. As a striker, he is dangerous and should strengthen Liverpool's depth in the position.
This is potentially one of the shrewdest deals Liverpool will have made for a number of years and Loïc Rémy won't need to find his feet in the Premier League. He's thrived further north than Liverpool with less pressure and now his watch with the Premier League's lesser lights has ended. Rivals gather, and now his Liverpool watch under the auspices of Brendan Rodgers begins.
Loïc Rémy | Goals (13-14) (via BPLmontages)