With the transfer hotting up for young Sevilla star Luis Alberto, we got Barcelona youth expert @YoungCules to analyse whether or not he is ready for the step up to the Premier League and, most importantly, Liverpool. With the youngster having a year’s loan at Barça B, we have the right man to tell you all about him.
Player name: Luis Alberto Romero
Club: Sevilla FC. Alberto spent the last season on loan at Barcelona B in Spain’s Segunda division which is the equivalent of the Championship in England.
Height: 182 cm
Who is Luis Alberto?
Luis Alberto is a product of Sevilla CF’s excellent youth setup that has produced world class footballers like Carlos Marchena, Jose Antonio Reyes, Antonio Puerta, Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas in the past. He was born in the Cadiz province of Andalusia, moved to Seville at the young age of 12 and honed his footballing skills at the Jose Ramon Palacios training centre of the Andalusian club.
Strengths: A player with great vision and touch, he also has a powerful shot and good accuracy to go with it. He’s fairly quick and is an expert at finding spaces behind the defence – a quality which has enabled him to provide an impressive 18 assists for Barcelona B last season, while also adding 11 goals to his tally. He has a stable head on his shoulders and his ability to play in any position across the front three or at false nine will be an asset to any team.
Weaknesses: His aerial ability from open play could do with some work, which is surprising given his tall stature. Also, he has a tendency to prefer a pass over a shot at times, but I’m really nitpicking here. This is something that could be ironed out with Brendan’s philosophy, if he is drilled when to pass and when to take the opportunity in front of him.
Suitability: His best position, based on his performances for Barcelona B last year, is at false nine. Though he’s equally adept on the left wing. His dynamic movement would make him a perfect fit for Liverpool.
Speciality: Set Pieces. Assists, lots and lots of assists.
Player he resembles in style: Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Why didn’t Barcelona sign him?
Barcelona had an option to sign Luis Alberto for €4m, plus another €4m in variables (one million for every 25 games he plays with the first team) taking the total deal to €8m. However, they’ve decided not to exercise this option having just spent a fortune on Neymar, and with their front line already loaded with players like Messi, Alexis, Pedro, Tello, Cuenca, Villa and even the highly rated Gerard Deulofeu coming through, there was no real necessity to sign Alberto, especially with money needed for reinforcements at the back.
Why are Sevilla selling him?
Sevilla aren’t really keen on selling him, with coach Unai Emery and sporting director Monchi both being huge fans of the youngster, but the clubs delicate financial situation has forced their hands into selling any and all prized assets in order t0 raise cash. They’ve just sold Jesus Navas to Man City for the same reason, and may very well go on to sell other stars like Alvaro Negredo and Ivan Rakitic too.
Is he ready for Liverpool?
Alberto is one of the most matured players I’ve seen for his age in recent times and is more than ready to make the step up to the Premier League. He will need four or five games initially to find his feet and settle into Rodgers’ system, but he’s the kind of player that would fit seamlessly into any team and that’s the very reason why I’m confident he will succeed at Liverpool. Don’t expect any fancy tricks or showboating, but if you want a player you could rely on to produce consistently first class performances throughout the season, Alberto is your man. Given proper time and encouragement, I truly believe he could become a huge fan favourite at Anfield.
Estimated cost: Luis Alberto will cost Liverpool around €8m, which I think is a great price for someone of his talent.
What’s the latest?
Local newspaper ‘Estadio Deportivo’ reported last night that an agreement had been reached between Liverpool and Sevilla over the transfer of Luis Alberto for a reported fee of €8m plus €2m in variables. It was also reported that the transfer would be officially announced next week. However, the player’s agent, Enrique Rosada, came out on Twitter to deny any potential agreement between the two clubs. Enrique did, nevertheless, admit that interest from Liverpool was genuine and that talks are ongoing between the two clubs. Stay tuned.