Why Is Andrew Robertson Already Being Written Off?
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In a summer full of possible high-profile signings at Liverpool, the next likely incoming is Hull City’s Andrew Robertson.
The young left-back is being hotly-tipped to seal a move to the Reds at some point in the near future, as Jurgen Klopp continues to fine-tune his squad ahead of next season.
If there has been a certain level of hysteria surrounding potential deals for Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita and other less plausible options this summer, as well as the arrival of Mohamed Salah, the reaction to Robertson joining Liverpool has been lukewarm.
Admittedly, he is not someone who will get you so revved up you want to hit town and drink a dangerous number of jagerbombs when he signs, but it is laughable to be writing him off before he has even kicked a ball for Liverpool.
Klopp has already shown in his relatively short time as Reds boss that he is a highly impressive manager in the transfer market.
Last year’s summer acquisitions of Sadio Mane, Gini Wijnaldum and Joel Matip were all excellent, while Loris Karius should definitely not be written off just yet.
Bringing in Salah is another masterstroke from the German, with more pace, directness and end quality badly needed out wide, and his other main targets are proof that he knows quality when he sees it.
So why, therefore, is Robertson being looked down upon as a poor buy?
Without question, there is a huge amount of snobbery in the air, with the 23-year-old about as unfashionable as they come in the modern game.
A Scottish full-back playing for a team that has just been relegated to the Championship is not going to appeal to supporters in a day and age where everyone is seemingly an expert on all the major European leagues, with their knowledge of every full-back that of a professional scout.
Football Manager is a superb game, but it hasn’t half been a curse at the same time.
Marcelo, David Alaba or Felipe Luis he is not, but Robertson has been highly-rated by those close to him for a while now. In a recent interview with This is Anfield, Hull supporter Joel Meloir described him as “technically good, quick and positive in attacking plays with good crossing ability”, which ticks many of the boxes required in a Klopp full-back.
For all we know, Robertson may come to Liverpool and be a complete flop – there are still a few concerns over the defensive side of his game – but we have to trust Klopp and judge the young Scot when we watch him regularly for the first time.
Until now, the vast majority of Liverpool fans will be basing their opinion of Robertson on the odd live game here and there, and Match of the Day highlights.
There has been such a meltdown surrounding his likely arrival, with a lack of ambition cited as one of the main reasons for it. Liverpool might spend close to £200million on Salah, Van Dijk and Keita this summer, so let’s nip that one in the bud immediately, shall we? Just because a world-renowned left-back isn’t coming in does not make it a bad signing.
Given this negativity, you would think that every low-profile purchase in the history of the game had been an unmitigated disaster, but you only have to look at Liverpool to see that relative unknowns can shine.
Was a young Alan Hansen the stellar name that he became when he signed from Partick Thistle? No. Were Robertson’s fellow full-backs Steve Nicol and Alan Kennedy star names prior to becoming Reds? Absolutely not.
Nobody even knew who Sami Hyypia was when he arrived from Willem II, with the Finn just about the perfect example of why players should be given time to impress. See also: Jerzy Dudek, Steve Finnan and Vladimir Smicer, among so many others.
Liverpool have made a habit of bringing in more exotic, foreign names in recent times, and it has backfired. Alberto Moreno being chosen ahead of Ryan Bertrand is the best example, which now looks a huge mistake.
Many were distraught to learn of Liverpool’s attempts to bring in Bertrand – another ‘average British player’ – with Moreno the more popular option because he was both at Sevilla and a promising Spanish youngster.
Even Moreno’s biggest fans – there are quite a few, believe it or not – would struggle to deny that the 24-year-old has been a poor signing, and that Bertrand would have been the better buy, in hindsight.
At 23, Robertson is at a very good age to come in and work with Klopp, and he can add quality and more of a natural width down the left flank than James Milner.
Maybe Milner will remain first-choice – Klopp is impossible to second-guess – but Robertson stands a good chance of becoming a key figure over time. He has shone for a struggling team, and should thrive alongside more talented individuals.
Whether you would have liked to see more of a marquee left-back arrive this summer is now irrelevant, and it is time to get behind Robertson. It looks as though he will become a Liverpool player imminently, in what is hopefully the start of a great Anfield career.
More interesting players will arrive in the years to come, but have faith in Klopp and his decision to acquire the signature of Robertson. If he was called ‘Andreas Roberto’ and was plying his trade abroad, supporters would be delighted by his arrival.