Thursday, September 01, 2011

Bellamy addition final piece in jigsaw

Liverpool - Craig Bellamy completes quartet of established forwards

By Emdad Rahman

Craig Bellamy may have been Kenny Dalglish's final signing for this transfer window but his sentimental and shock return to Anfield provides salivating fans with an intriguing set of circumstances.

Liverpool's number 39 was given permission by Gary Speed to leave his international training camp and undertake a Merseyside medical after issuing an ultimatum to Manchester City that he was prepared to sit out the final year of his lucrative £95,000 a week contract at Eastlands.

All throughout the summer I have maintained that a team needs a quartet of established frontmen if they are to maintain a serious Barclays Premier League push of any note. The re-acquisition of Bellamy following the capture of Sebastian Coates, and the departures of Joe Cole, David Ngog and Christian Poulsen will now raise expectations a notch higher at Anfield.

Bellamy hit nine goals in 42 games before joining West Ham and then City in 2009. He may be in his thirties, but his exploits since leaving Liverpool have added to his undoubted ability, whilst transforming him into a more complete player.

With no disrespect of any sort intended to Cardiff City, Bellamy's skill and blistering pace was wasted in the Npower Championship last season and the top-flight is where he should be plying his trade.

Over the last few years the Cardiff born forward has also matured as a person, and takes great pleasure in embroiling himself in charitable endeavours such as the development of football in Sierra Leone through his foundation.

Bellamy struggled to carve out a niche during the Spanish Rafalution. He is after all a personality that needs a little bit more one to one attention than say the consummate Dirk Kuyt.

But Dalglish has a different managerial style to Rafael Benitez; warmer, less aloof and not so dismissive. The arms round the shoulder approach from Dalglish, Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen will be beneficial in helping Bellamy settle in better second time round.
Bellamy grew up as a Liverpool fan and he would have grown up on a feast of his gaffer's exploits. His respect therefore is somewhat assured, though a spat with Alan Shearer whilst a young lad at Newcastle shows that reputations don't matter with Bellamy.

Although an established striker of some note, the fiery Welshman, who confronted John Arne Riise with a golf club at a Portuguese training camp in 2007, will be vying with Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt for a front slot.

Suarez is the only guaranteed starter, but Bellamy, like Kuyt is versatile and can run the channels. He also offers pace that will trouble Liverpool's opponents. In essence, Bellamy has the ability, temperament and fire in the belly to add to his nine Liverpool goals, whilst offering the impact of a marquee signing.

This is likely to be the last big club for Bellamy, but his signing is a crucial one for a resurgent team. The return of the Welsh veteran will be very popular with fans and will add proven quality to a much improved squad.

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