17 Jul 2014

Don't Do It: Barnes explains why LFC should not sign 'exceptional' £60m genius. Agree?

Earlier this week, former LFC striker Emile Heskey urged Liverpool to make World Cup star James Rodriguez the club's 'number one' transfer target. The Reds are currently linked with a move for Colombia maestro, but even if that transfer were possible (wishful thinking in the extreme!), Anfield legend John Barnes insists that Rodriguez is not cut out for the Premier League.

When asked during a Sony webchat who Liverpool should sign with the Suarez cash, Heskey immediately suggested Rodriguez:

"He [Rodriguez] is only 23, so you would get a lot of mileage out of him. James would be my number one target if Liverpool could get him."

Discussing Liverpool's transfer prospects on TalkSport today, Barnes noted:

"Look at James Rodriguez, for example. I don't think he could play in England. Spanish football will suit him".

After scoring 6 goals in the World Cup (and ridiculously losing out on the 'Best player at the World Cup' title to Lionel Messi), £60m-rated Rodriguez is one of the most coveted players on the planet, in a World Cup Q&A this week, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger raved:

"The intelligence of his passing. The fluency of his game. The speed of his decision making. The penetrative passes he made were just absolutely fantastic. You just wanted to see him have the ball and [that] is always a sign of exceptional quality"

Rodriguez may have exceptional quality, but Barnes is (IMO) right - he is arguably not suited to the Premier League. English football prioritises tough-tackling, running, and stamina over skill, technique, and playing beautiful football, which is probably why the world's most exciting players (Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Zidane, Figo etc) consistently choose to play in Spain.

During the World Cup quarter-final, Rodriguez got kicked out of the game by cynical Brazilian hackers, and the same thing would happen on a weekly basis in England.

I'd personally hate to see an amazing player like Rodriguez wasted on the Premier League. He'd probably end up like Juan Mata, another prodigiously skill player who is unappreciated (80 goals/assists in two season and dumped by Mourinho) because he doesn't embrace the physicality of English football.

It's all moot anyway. Rodriguez has made it clear many times that he favours a move to Real Madrid, and as much as I'd love to see him at Liverpool, it's better for football if he ends up in Spain.



  1. I agree Jaimie, as much as I think he's a really good player I don't think he'd be suited to the PL. I'd be tempted to throw the Suarez cash at PSG for Cavani.

  2. Good Article as always - he will go t R madrid - Falcoa is not 2 bad either

  3. coutinho,oscar,hazard,willian,silva,cazorla,schurrle and RONALDO are all technical players who excelled in the premier league and everybody loved mata until he went to man united so he's not under appreciated. this whole idea that small technical players cant be as good in the BPL as they are in other leagues is a total myth.

    the BPL is rougher than other leagues but truly good technical players can excel there and rodriguez is already better and potentially better than all of the players above except ronaldo so he'll definetly do just fine.

  4. What a player but i`ve got to agree he wouldn`t be the same player in the EPL unfortunately. I personally think Reus would be a better choice for us.

  5. colonel cocknocker9:52 pm, July 17, 2014

    I'd rather have jackson martinez than cavani, he looks made for the prem, esp our cut and thrust style. Fast, strong, finishes with both feet and his head and would be an awesome partner or rotation with sturridge.

  6. Yeah I'd be happy with Martinez too. To be honest id be happy with Remy or Bony as well. Nobody is going to replace Suarez but I think Remy and Bony are both capable of scoring 15 goals plus in our attacking team. After watching the friendly last night I can't see Borini stepping up, yes I know it was only our first friendly but he just doesn't seem to have that quality that we need IMO.

  7. colonel cocknocker10:16 pm, July 17, 2014

    I wasn't annoyed when we were linked with remy or bony, they're both decent and proven in the prem. But jackson martinez really does have that touch of smoothness about him, you just know he's going to score. If i look around the world at the top strikers that are affordable realistically, if you're looking for a machine that just bangs goals in however they come then i reckon martinez is the guy, plus we know how much he costs and it's like 35 mil or something. Then we'd have money left over for reus or somebody. Maybe a defender for the less kamikaze of us.....

  8. We have not seriously been linked with the player, not by anyone who doesn't just make transfer stories up anyway. The kid's already said he doesn't fancy the EPL and if he did he certainly wouldn't be coming to us so I don't really see the point in A) writing an article linking him with LFC and B) continuing to discuss it further. Non-story

  9. What nonsense. Saying JR is not suited to the PL is like saying CR7 wasn't suited to PL. That was obviously wrong. And the way I see it RM didn't dominate Spain (Copa del Rey, CL), until they had two former PL 'bruisers' (CR 7 and Bale) in their line-up. So JR would do quite well here...but I still don't think we go for him.

  10. For some reason I just can't see us spending that sort of money on one player, I hope I'm wrong but I get the impression that the Carroll transfer has scared us off a bit. I think we'll sign Lovren for £20m, Bertrand for £8m and Remy for £8m and that'll be it. Not saying that's what I'd do but I've no confidence in Ayre at all. Take today for instance, Toni Kroos to Madrid for £20m. Kroos is one of the best players in the world in his position and he's sold for just £20m, we paid £26m for Lallana, a player with a few England caps and one good season in the PL. We also signed Markovich for £20m, again a player with a few caps and one season in a decent league. When I see these sort of deals happening and we're blowing all our money on unproven players it peeves me off!

  11. According to the Mirror we are after Vidal, Pogba and Reus now. We can dream can't we.

  12. Anyone out of that 3 I would be pleased.

  13. Perfectly civil comment deleted. Pathetic

  14. Who'd be your preference?

  15. Clearly you don't like the fact that I thought this article was pointless however I would appreciate a valid reason as to why my posts are being deleted when there is no offensive content whatsoever?

  16. Nicolas Chamberlain11:15 pm, July 17, 2014

    I would like Vidal or Reus. Can't make a choice...;)

  17. Seriously, let's stop talking about Rodriguez to Liverpool, because it's like talking about Messi to Liverpool.

  18. I think Barnesy is probably right
    But if we were to blow our cash on one player it should not be James Rodriguez
    It should be Paul Pogba.
    The best player I've seen since Gazza or maybe Xabi at creating space and time for himself with pure ball manipulation- he simply puts the ball on the other side of his body away from the opponent which gives him time others don't have.
    Plus he's fast and very strong. He's been doing it consistently week in week out for Juve. JR did it for a few WC games
    El Hadji Diouff did that.....

  19. Falcao is a long shot- he's only been there a year, but you never know.

    By the way, found a montage illustrating my point re Pogba


  20. I agree with you!!! I am tired of hearing players are not good enough or suited for the EPL!!! Suarez was not suited for EPL but look what he did! Aguerro was considered too small and yet banged in goals like they owe him something. As great the EPL is we should stop saying that! Chicharito and JR same built but yet he is not built for EPL!

  21. The thing you have to look at is the UK premium. Any UK player, especially the English stars has their valuation inflated enormously for another PL team. The other is like Nicolas has stated is that the remaining years left on the contract and the players publicly saying that he will not renew. That puts the owning team in a very tough position not to sell. Look at Lewandowski. BVB decided not to sell and he ended up leaving going to a direct rival anyways and on a Bosman.

  22. That was my point but my comments got deleted for some reason

  23. so you love mata...does that explain why you always have some negative spin on lfc...are you really a lfc supporter or just some man u fan pretending to care mmmmmmmmmmmmm indeed

  24. Totally disagree about your assessment of the Spanish and English leagues, with regards to where players opt to play. Sure, a slower paced, technique oriented league would suit some players over others, but IMO the English game encompasses more styles of football than any other.

    Mata isn't appreciated? I think that's total nonsense. What about David Silva, one of the best attackers who isn't phased by any sort of physicality.

    Barcelona (more historically than currently) are the only team in La Liga that deserve lavished praise in regards to skill and technique. Real Madrid don't play any eye catching stuff and Atletico are a very direct and hard working team. The best football you can see today is in England with the likes of Arsenal, City and Liverpool boasting top quality attacking players and mentalities. This is followed by Germany, where there is also a fantastic mix of skill and grit.

    It seems like Jaimie is on the Rodriguez bandwagon right now. It was clear from his Porto days that he would become a top quality player, but if anyone is too shy of the English game due to perceived styles, then that player is just an overpaid pansy. Again, I point to David Silva.

  25. does van girl dye his hair we all know he is old whats the point ? maybe so rooney wont ask to see pictures of his wife

  26. I agree that there is too much physicality allowed in the English game but I don't think it's far off the right balance. With a few adjustments and a consistent standard put down by the referees I think it could be just about perfect. Still a physical game but not dominated by dirty tactics. I don't mind a good strong tackle or a player using their strength to hold off another but the English game is also full of sly elbows, pushing, kicking, shirt pulling and late tackles. I think some refs let it go too far, especially in the name of an intense local derby match. It's not what I enjoy about football, I think that same intensity can be found in a clean game where players don't have to prepare to come off the pitch bruised and bleeding. Some teams take advantage of that and utilise physical tactics to detract from what would otherwise be a great display of skill, taking away a teams ability to play football and instead turn it into a physical contest.

    I'd like to see that change but at the same time the best players in the world can deal with it. Those moments of skill might end up a bit broken up by physical play but they don't disappear. Skilful players still get to display what they can do, it's just that if they get upended they don't always get a fouled call. So they end up on the grass and the ball is down the other end. It's not always a big deal. I see no evidence to suggest that high end skill has been removed entirely from the English game, I just think the physical side of things has been allowed to dominate too much. Someone like Rodriguez would unquestionably be able to adapt to that and still show what he's capable of. Just because he's not being allowed to dance untouched across the pitch doesn't mean he's being wasted. If he has to work a bit hard to get past someone or avoid a tackle then that just makes him a better player.

  27. James is good and by no means flavour of the month (was good at Porto, hence the large fee paid by Monaco), but in one transfer window we have a chance to really improve the starting 11. I think if we spend big, shouldn't be more than 40m (might be a dream but earmarked for Reus in my head).

    We'll have to go for the footballers that 'had' a lot of promise/potential early on but now seem broke, like Sturridge and Coutinho.

    Lucas Moura- has so much potential in a attacking sense, its ridiculous.
    Alexandre Pato-think he's in Brazil now

  28. Unfortunately, LFC is not an attractive club to all these star players
    and Liverpool itself is not an attractive city. But maybe the more critical factor
    is that people up high in the management, that whatsoever transfer committee and scouts
    of LFC all think that players from unwilling selling clubs are best for
    LFC. My guess, the next 'Galáctico', by price, coming to LFC will be
    Dejan Lovren. I guess I can understand if my prediction comes true.
    Southampton spent 8.5 mil pounds a year ago and get a steady rock in
    defense whereas LFC paid at least double the price at the same time to
    get a bench player that turns out to be 'Mr Shaky'. So what choice do
    we have now? LFC has to triple the price of the player within a year.
    Yes, I'm talking about 20 mil pounds upwards for a player with one
    season of good EPL football. More likely clubs know that LFC need these
    players and most importantly, LFC is incapable of unearthing these
    players before they came to EPL.

    To see who Real Madrid can buy
    with relatively little cash pains my heart so I have no wish to talk
    about them. Now I can only see Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Frabregas, Diego
    Costa all plying their trades in EPL for rival clubs. Here we have
    almost as expensive Lallana and Markovic as counters. Anyone wanna see
    signings of James Rodrigues, Kroos and maybe Marco Reus, rather
    unfortunately, one gotta support clubs other than LFC.

    about faithfulness, LFC is give everyone out there great lessons about
    faithfulness. Here they display their relentless pursuit of Alberto
    Moreno, a player that cannot even make the miserable team of Spain at
    WC14. In the very same tournament, I can see Ricardo Rodriguez, Marcos
    Rojo and Daley Blind performing well for their respective national teams
    and all of their clubs seem opened to offers. But no, LFC stood firm
    and swear that they must get that player they scouted in the very
    beginning of everything, Alberto Moreno, till their very death. No to 18
    mil pounds? No problem, LFC shall raise it 20 mil pounds!

    As far
    as I'm concern, the department in most dire need for improvement for
    LFC is not the first team, not a replacement for LS, it is rightfully
    that whosoever transfer committee and scouts of the club. Please do not
    say that the present batch of scouts are actually from Man City as that
    maybe the origin of all scouting problem at LFC. Reason being Man City's
    owner have an underground-full of oil whereas FSG is just a sports
    management company. 20-30 mil pounds wasted on a single player is a
    pinch of salt for Man City but it is certainly not the case for LFC.
    More importantly, after wasting 20-30 mil pounds on 1 wrong player, Man
    City can spend 100 mil pounds on the 3 other players whereas LFC can
    only moan and groan about it's wrong decision somehow. Then that wrong
    player will be sold at a lost, plus the club will pump in some money,
    maybe from the sale of the club's best players, in order to fund the
    next senseless wave of purchase. This is simple finance that everyone
    out there should know. Anyway, the best scouts around must be from
    Arsenal, followed closely by Everton, Newcastle and Swansea. We should re-invest every single penny from LS's sale to improve the scouting department and that stealthy transfer committee.

    from those supposedly modest clubs (Arsenal is certainly not one) in
    terms of running a football club like a traditional business is not
    something shameful. Prudent spending, astute buying coupled with some
    smart profitable selling. With the money, build a better stadium for
    better gate receipts. Reinvest that extra money in some big-names. There
    and then with long-term healthy finances, we have hope of regaining the
    status of being a constant force in domestic and European football.
    Trying to mindlessly emulate those oligarch-backed mega rich football
    clubs will be the dead end for LFC, no way out certainly.

  29. What if he come to the EPL and gets bullied to the point his nickname becomes Iago, his career won't recover from that.

    I don't think James Rodriquez is quite battle hard yet for the Premiership, he'll be kicked pillar to post, In Spain he'll be able to flourish and hone his talent to it peak. Its too soon in his career to be in England, and have Shawcross kicking him black and blue.

  30. With regards to Mata - what does David Silva have to do with him being appreciated? Absolutely nothing. If you're going to dismiss that point, then at least come up with a credible counter-argument.

    Mata is clearly not appreciated for his talents, and Mourinho's treatment of him is proof of that. Chelsea's player of the year two seasons running; prodigious assist stats, yet dumped by Mourinho, ostensibly because he doesn't tackle/run enough.

    If you seriously think that Barcelona is the 'only team' in La Liga plays football with skill and technique, and that Real/Atletico don't play 'eye catching stuff', then with all due respect, you have very little experience of Spanish football.

  31. Your comments were deleted because you were just bitching about the article, and not engaging in discussion. If you think an article is pointless, then keep it to yourself. Such comments do not promote debate, and it's a form of sniping.

  32. Aren't you getting a little too ahead of yourself? Before the ball even reaches Pogba, there is a slip. And, like they say, the rest is history,

  33. How much do people think Pogba would cost ...£60mill??
    I would personally pay up to £45mill for him (without opening my piggy bank!) but he would surely turn us down in favour of citeh etc on money and instant trophy count. Let's face it, we should have signed Barry when we had the chance lol!

  34. Thanks for the revert Jaimie, it was annoying.

  35. Thanks for your import me Barnes but anything you say if do the opposite to be honest , I've seen your managerial record . What's the nickname the Tranmere fans call you and Jason ? Dumb and Dumber . No offence to you as footballers though . This is a pointless discussion because he will never come to us anyway and I've already read he's going to Madrid which sounds much more realistic . We won't be getting Rodriguez , Messi, Ronaldo , Vidal , Reus , or any other world star

  36. Totally agree with Zulu's comment. Borini flatters to deceive. Against what is effectively mediocre opposition he failed to do anything special during the half that he played. Whereas you look at Coutinho and Ibe, both looked more than a cut above the Brondby players, that's the lvel of quality we are going to need for the upcoming season. Borini is no better than Aspas IMO. If Sunderland come in for him, I would bite their hand off. Both Remy and Bony are miles ahead as footballers than the rather lightweight Borini for me.

  37. Mata is appreciated by the fans, and what about the managers and coaches that he worked under to deliver those kind of crazy stats? Was he unappreciated then? Just because Mourinho showed him the door doesn't mean he goes unappreciated now, United paid a massive fee to land him. Doesn't that say something?

    David Silva is very relevant, you make claims about what the English game prefers but David Silva is quite the opposite, yet he is massively appreciated by City/neutral fans. Why would such an 'amazing' player like Rodriguez be wasted by the Premier League? Was Mata wasted in the past? Was Silva?

    I frequently watch La Liga as it is televised in my area. I highly doubt you do, so stop going off assumptions. Barca emphasise skill and technique are the only team that has something to show for it. Clubs like Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Bayern, Dortmund, Atletico, et al were far better attacking teams than Real Madrid last season. Individual brilliance from Ronaldo and Bale handed them their successes.

    Atletico Mardid usually lined up with a 4-4-2 and were very hard working as well as direct. They would fit right into the PL. You're the one coming off as having little experience with it, not me.

    Spain's international success was a direct result of two clubs dominating, particularly Barca. Not many other clubs contributed to that and overall I'd rank the league 3rd behind England and Germany. But for all their skill and technique, they got dumped out in the group stage of the WC, you didn't lambaste them like England.

    I know you are familiar with German football. IMO there's a perfect balance of technique and physicality. The English game is certainly moving in the right direction, and to suggest Rodriguez would be wasted is ridiculous when so many similar players before him have excelled.

  38. thexcuriousxwanderer9:11 am, July 18, 2014

    Paul Pogba is good when he gets into his stride, but he loses possession way way too much for our style of football.

  39. Personally I'll wish we sign Micah Richards and save all the money for now I don't know why but my guy feeling for this transfer market is 🔫🔫🔫

  40. I agree with you Jamie, but regardless do you really think Rogers or Ayre would be able to convince him to come to Liverpool? as they have failed to buy 1 top class proven player for the past 2 transfer windows, even with C.L football this season !............ I am so disappointed with our signings so far........ Sanchez was the ultimate blow, i bet if Van Gal was LFC
    manager he would have convinced him to sign for us. I am worried about this season, as the players we have bought are no where near the calibare of players we need, avarge at best. Hope i'm proven wrong.

  41. Thats rubbish international football does in no way equate to club level that is European non sense.
    If that be the case the greatest competition in the world historically is Brazils and we know that is not the case.

  42. I completely disagree, if that was the case then the likes of Silva continuo and carzorla would not play well or thrive.Even though he was kicked in the Brazil game he was still one of the best players, and what he can't just avoid prem teams , what about in the champions league ??Is he just going to play awful every time they come up against a perm team in the competition they value most ??

  43. Jackson Martinez is 28 and would cost £30m+

  44. Fowler.....goal!12:17 pm, July 18, 2014

    Absolute nonsense! Classy and intelligent players will make it in any league. To say that this kid wouldn't make it or isn't suited to the EPL shows why Barnes isn't a football manager. Also, to use Mata's ‘failure' as a comparison is madness (IMO) too. Just because Mourinho didn't fancy him, it doesn't mean he's a failure. Rodriguez would be amazing in the premiership. Anyone who knows anything about football would agree....even Emile Heskey!

  45. You have to realise that Aspas at 26 is in his prime, Borini isn't, he is 23. Borini's strength is his runs and creating space for others. Borini's runs quite possibly opened up the space for Coutinho to be as effective as he was. Being that Borini's first season with us was ravaged by injury, I believe he needs one full season to show his worth, as I believe he has the potential to be very handy for us.

  46. I agree, as far as Mata goes, his problem is that he attacks, but as soon as the team loses the ball, he does nothing, the other players you mentioned aren't afraid to defend as well. If James shows that he can defend as well as attack, then he will make it in the Premier League.

  47. Not sure you are aware of this, but Mata has only recently, like in the last 6 months, become a Man Utd player, before that, he was playing for Chelsea, so not quite sure what you are getting at.

  48. The problem (if you can call it that) with Mata is that although he is phenomenal in attack, when the team lose possession, he goes missing, a team needs to defend as a team, and being that Mourinho is so defensive orientated, that is the reason why Mata didn't cut it for him.

  49. To be fair, PSG paid a massive fee to buy David Luiz and we all know how good he is.

  50. What, is that your impression or actual fact?
    last season Squawka figure pass completion = 84%

  51. As far as Cazorla goes, have you seen him? He might be short, but he has a build very similar to Maradona, that is built like a brick faeces house. Coutinho seems to me like although he is slimmer, he is very strong. As far as Silva goes, he just has a crazy centre of gravity.

  52. I would be tempted by Rodriguez but also you could go for Cavani or even Reus. I would also sign Pogba

  53. However Martinez may suit Chelsea rather than Liverpool

  54. I don't think the strength of a domestic league translates to the ability and success of the respective national team ie all south america, eastern European countries etc i think the epl is the best league because it combines all facets of the game .. the smallest technical player ie hazard,mata,silva coutinho etc can succeed as well as the 6.5 monsters
    .. i think Rm and barca pay these huge amounts to epl teams for their best players because they if they succeed here they will definitely succeed there.. my opinion

  55. Why don't we go for lukaku, still young and alreeady prove his suit for bpl

  56. hazad,silva,ronaldo never defended... they still made it.. mata had amazing stats when he was at chelsea. would have been salivating at the sight of him in a liverpool shirt and you know im right , so if james scores and assists 25+ no one will say anything about him not defending

  57. thexcuriousxwanderer11:24 pm, July 18, 2014

    That was my impression, but that's only from the World Cup games. I watched most of France's game (as I was in France) and he really did give me the impression of being not so good at that. In fairness, whoscored gives a 81.7% passing rate for the World Cup, so I guess something must be different somewhere. I guess usually if you are an advanced midfielder 80ish isn't that bad. I stand corrected by the stats, but i guess will have to look into it to see where the difference lies.

  58. Barnes signed Rafael Scheidt for Celtic. He knows nothing about signing football players.

  59. I know you're right? If any player, no matter how good they are in an attacking sense refuses to defend, even if that means pressing, then I for one don't want them at the club. As far as Hazard, Silva and Ronaldo, they may not go into their own defensive box to defend, but they press high, which is defending. One of the main reasons why we were so successful in the 70s and 80s is because we defended from the front, Ian Rush was a master at it. Fernando Torres when he was with us was also a master at it as well and with that, I know I'm right.

  60. Yokohama Liverpool Fan9:26 am, July 20, 2014

    If this is the case we should be targeting more Germans or Bundesliga players as Can looks a great fit. The German national team had an average height of 6ft1 and almost 80kgs, out ran everybody and had terrific work ethic.

    James Rodriguez isn't exactly small and there are cases where players as light weight as David Silva can thrive as well in the Premier League. Anyway we still have players like Allen who is as light weight as it gets so shouldn't we be getting rid of him?