Over the weekend, rumours began to suggest Liverpool had abandoned their chase of Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke. While he might have been the club’s top striker target, Villa had refused to budge on their £32.5M valuation and Liverpool wisely decided it was simply too steep a price to pay for the Belgian international.
In his place, Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca was suggested as Liverpool’s potential Plan B, their second choice to fill the void in attack they failed so miserably to last summer. Today, in the land of transfer-speak, those rumours can probably be upgraded to reports; speculation to something approaching certainty. They may not get him, but following confirmation of interest by the Liverpool Echo it seems safe to say the club want him.
The 28-year-old Colombian, who is currently sitting out for two matches at the Copa America after he shoved Neymar following the final whistle in a heated match against Brazil, is coming off a stellar La Liga season. He scored 20 league goals for Sevilla—28 in all competitions—with a monstrous 29% strike rate and a goal scored every 127 minutes he was on the pitch.
It’s a return that may seem unsustainable, but Bacca also had a 23% strike rate in 2013-14 with Sevilla and similar numbers in his first and only full season with club Brugge following his move to Europe. Over the past six years, first with Atletico Junior in Colombia and then Brugge and Sevilla, he has scored more than 20 goals in five of them. As a pure poacher, he's one of the best in the game.
There will be some questions about his ability to involve himself in intricate build-up play, but Bacca is a fiercely competitive number nine with a decent turn of pace, solid technical skills, and an ability to run the channels. In a patient side that harks back to Rodgers’ Swanselona days, Bacca is an odd fit. In a return to 2013-14’s focus on counter speed and massive scorelines, he might be perfect.
Or at least he might be aside from the fact that at 28 years of age he’s likely reached his peak, and for all his driving talent and goal scoring instincts, the fact that he’s four years older than Benteke can’t be entirely overlooked. Especially since he also wouldn’t come cheap, with Sevilla suggesting any club that wants him will have to trigger his £21.5M release clause.
Whether at 28 he represents good value is a reasonable question, as is whether he’s an ideal fit—depending on how Rodgers wants to set up his side heading into the new season, at least. If the goal, though, is bringing in a 20 goal striker for 2015-16, there is probably no safer bet amongst the players Liverpool could reasonably bring in than Carlos Bacca.
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