The Moroccan is set to sign for the Merseyside outfit after his club Heerenveen agreed a fee for his departure, but faces a tough task replacing the likes of Dirk Kuyt at Anfield
By Tom McKeown
Oussama Assaidi has become Liverpool’s third signing of the summer, and the former SC Heerenveen man has a hefty task ahead of him as he looks to replace Maxi Rodriguez and the hugely popular Dirk Kuyt in midfield.
His 20 goals in 84 appearances in Holland have earned him many admirers around Europe, including the likes of Fulham and Spartak Moscow, but it was the lure of the Kop that was the most tempting for the man who becomes just the second Moroccan to don the famous red shirt after Nabil El Zhar.
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All three of Marco van Basten’s front line have moved on to pastures new, with Assaidi’s move to Anfield following the departures by Dost and Narsingh to VfL Wolfsburg and PSV Eindhoven respectively.
A pacy winger, Assaidi is also known for being a volatile character and can prove hard to handle for coaches; something Rodgers will undoubtedly have been aware of before stumping up the cash, which is reportedly as much as £3 million.
Assaidi made his debut for Morocco in 2011, having chosen to represent the north African country despite being eligible to play for the Netherlands, and has already amassed 22 caps.
The wide man is renowned for the quality of his crossing and finishing. Best suited to a 4-3-3, he is widely-regarded as a traditional Dutch winger in the vein of Marc Overmars and is likely to cause havoc for some of the slower full-backs in the Premier League, but is also notorious for failing to provide defensive cover.
Assaidi is reported to have earned a wage packet three times the £7,000 weekly salary he was picking up in the Eredivisie, and Rodgers will be hoping the winger will settle into Anfield life quickly, filling the void left behind by Kuyt.
Jan de Jonge, assistant coach of Heerenveen, knows Assaidi like no other having been responsible for his move from FC Omniworld to De Graafschap.
"He's a special man, he knows what he wants,” De Jonge told Voetbal International. “He is not the easiest, but he can often decide a match.”
Rodgers’ side travel to West Brom on Saturday in their opening Premier League fixture as they look to improve on last season’s eighth place finish. If Assaidi plays a part, he will hope to make a good first impression ahead of an adventure which is certain to be interesting.