“I have the self-confidence to say that my qualities are sufficient to play in a very big club next season.” Emre Can, Liverpool FC footballer, March 21, 2018.
Say what you want about our handsome midfielder but, for all of his weaknesses, a lack of self-belief isn’t one.
I’ll be honest, I’ve read the article in the Liverpool Echo in which the above was reported and not much else. Reading things on the internet generally just makes me sigh these days, because most of it is a load of nonsense (it’s ironic that I’m saying that while writing a load of nonsense on the internet, I know).
What I’d guess, though, is that there’s been some form of explanation given as to what he said not being disrespectful to Liverpool, or how it’s been lost in translation or that he didn’t really mean anything by it, given that he basically named every league in Europe and said how great they all are, even including France in the list despite it still being a tin-pot division, just in case Paris St Germain decide that they need a good-looking lad who often has the turning circle of a tank in their midfield.
Why scupper any chances of playing for one of the super-rich clubs, eh Emre?
There has no doubt already been a load of reaction from fans around the world saying everything from why we should just sack and how he should never play in a red shirt again, to it’s not his fault that the club hasn’t tied him down to a long-term contract by succumbing to whatever demands he and his agent have made, and everything in between.
Am I close?
6 – Emre Can has scored six goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season, his best tally for the club in a single campaign. Rise. pic.twitter.com/H0SKn81mnY
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 24, 2018
I’ve touched on this before, but I’d challenge anyone to try to go more than a month without completely changing their mind about what size and type of contract Can should be given. When he scored an overhead-kick winner against Watford at the end of last season, many were queueing up to proclaim how he should be given £150,000 a week and whatever buy-out clause he wants.
A month into the new season and a good chunk of those same supporters were saying he wasn’t worth a carrot. Bearing in mind he’s not as young as we might think any more — 24 for the record — he still has the ability to completely switch off away at Old Trafford and generally slow down play at times, while clearly having the potential to become a truly world-class player.
The point being, the contract stand-off obviously wasn’t easy to resolve, especially given the club’s apparent refusal to give anyone a release clause. A policy which I, for one, am happy that the club is not prepared to bend for a very good, but not world-class, midfielder.
So, where do Emre’s most recent comments leave him for the remainder of the season?
My first reaction is that all players should be made to swear an oath before they go off on international duty that they will just keep their mouths shut. It’s rare that something will be said that pleases the hordes back home, while the risk of uttering something seemingly innocent which sets the mob free with pitch forks and flaming torches is pretty high.
On the presumption that at least one person at the club is already doing that job and some players clearly take the opportunity to ignore the guidance and instead do a bit of self-promotion while they’re away from mum and dad for the night and think they might be able to get away with having a quick smoke without the risk of anyone finding out, it all ultimately comes down to whether we actually give a shit about what footballers say, whether at home or abroad.
In fairness to the ex-Bayern Munich man, who has already exploited a contract for the benefit of career development (to our club’s advantage), he doesn’t actually say that he’s not already at a very big club, and his comments about challenging for honours don’t necessarily exclude us. His words could well have been carefully chosen to make sure that his agent receives as many offers as possible from as many top clubs as possible, before he decides what he wants to do.
Given his open invitation to every rich Tom, Dick and Harry to make him an offer he can’t refuse, I’d imagine that those Juventus fans who have been watching video reels of his goals and best passes set to a Euro dance soundtrack (while excluding those cumbersome three-point turns and chewing of the ball in midfield, obviously) would be on the list of disgruntled supporters together with those of us of a red persuasion.
While he might not have committed his future to us, he clearly also hasn’t pledged his heart to Massimiliano Allegri’s striped champions. Maybe he watched the Netflix documentary and decided against a move to Turin, or maybe he just thinks he’s better than both legendary clubs and it’s just that Bayern Munich and Manchester City needed more of a nudge to invite him to a Whatsapp group for new recruits.
A big question, though, is whether it’s such a bad thing to have a player with so much self-belief that he will only settle for playing for one of the biggest and best clubs in the world.
Isn’t that what we want?
I’m on record a number of times of saying that a pre-requisite of a great Liverpool player should be an unyielding belief in his own ability and the desire to dominate opponents to such an extent that they generally decide that it’s not worthwhile getting involved in a battle and, instead, opt to roll over and have their bellies tickled while conserving energy for more evenly-matched contests that lie ahead.
There’s a brilliant clip circulating on social media this week about an upcoming documentary in which the line “you need eyes in the back of your head if you were playing Graeme [Souness]. He wanted to do you damage if he could.”
“You needed eyes in the back of your head if you were playing against Graeme.”
“When English Football Ruled Europe” – coming to ITV4 on 29th & 30th March pic.twitter.com/CVsaUULybx
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 20, 2018
Aside from anything else, it made me laugh to myself when I heard it, considering all the talk we hear these days of professionals not intentionally going out to hurt each other. They might not admit to it anymore, but once upon a time no-one was pretending.
One thing was for sure though, Graeme Souness and his mates were winners, and winners only want to play for the very best teams in the world. Souness did that at Liverpool before deciding to move on to expand his horizons in Italy – leaving having won a European Cup final – as have many of our greatest players in the past.
While Emre doesn’t deserve to be mentioned alongside those legends at this stage, his desire and self-belief is something we’ll need in our players going forward if we’re going to win the silverware we all hope for and believe that Jurgen and his team can deliver.
So, isn’t the key that we should, as a club, be convincing any player, Emre Can included, that Liverpool Football Club might have been living on its reputation for a while, but it’s now firmly back among the “very big clubs” in world football?
While we can all romantically say that we’ve never been away, I doubt many players born from 1990 onwards would think of us as a modern day great (short spells under Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez notwithstanding), so our return to the Champions League quarter-finals following our Europa League final appearance a couple of seasons ago will hopefully be part of an ongoing campaign to demonstrate to everyone around the world that we deserve to be talked about again in the same breath as Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
It will be interesting to see whether Can decides by the end of the season that he doesn’t actually have any better options than staying with a manager from his motherland who clearly loves and believes in him, as part of a football journey that would excite even the coldest of hearts. When we knock Manchester City then Barcelona out of the Champions League on the way to beating Real Madrid in the final, he might just realise that he’s already at the very biggest of the very big clubs, and if he stays around long enough one day someone might be talking about him in the same way they talk about Souness.
But, if he doesn’t and instead decides to hop on an Easyjet flight to one of our European neighbours, he can fuck right off. He wasn’t that good anyway and we’re better off without anyone who doesn’t believe that Klopp’s Reds are going right to the very top of the game, whether they leave on a free or for all of the tea in China.
He can even save the £20 airfare and catch a lift from one of people offering to drive him there themselves.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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A really insightful article that clearly expresses how I and many others feel about him. He frustrates and delights in almost equal measure.
On balance I am not convinced he is as good as he thinks he is and will not lose any sleep if he goes.
The positives to his game are he likes a tackle but doesn’t tackle often enough. He sees and can execute an incisive pass, but his assists are nowhere near the level to be regarded as a Great at this stage of his career. He has the ability to score quality goals, but again nowhere near as often as he is capable of.
The negative aspects to his game are he loses his man in or around the box far far too easily which result directly in us conceding goals, 1 time that springs to mind this season which cost us 3 points was at Arsenal, when he didn’t keep track Ozil in the box when he scored the equaliser. He had him and let him go far too easily. There have been other similar occasions when I’ve screamed at him on the box because it’s a lazy aspect to his game where you can see he just couldn’t be bothered tracking back and doing the knarly defensive duties. For me he drifts around the pitch, doesn’t show enough urgency or pace around the pitch, and as is well documented he hangs onto the ball too often at wrong moments, instead of moving the ball quickly to maintain or increase the tempo in the game. In short, he is a work very much in progress and still has plenty to improve in his game. his clear talents and slacking attitude to work ethic.
To put it down as being lazy and that he couldn’t be bothered is plain wrong. There is a real and very important difference between your comment and the reality, as I see it, that its a lack of awareness that hampers Emre Can. If there is a 5 or 20 second passage of hectic play around him Emre seems to struggle recalibrate himself to what’s going on.
The very best midfielders, like Souness, could follow the ball, the opposition moves and visualize the pitch all at the same time. Emre just doesn’t have that ability in his head yet, which is why he can look very good when he is dictating the play, but look out of the game when others are.
You can have all the belief you want about your own ability but wot it comes down to is how you perform on the pitch many players at every level think they only have to turn up look at Pogba strolling around as if it’s all about him and he’s been found out Can is an ok player and will leave at the end of season good luck to the lad on the bright side he won’t be hard to replace.
Great article and as you and others point out he’s not a patch on Souness. Although he did have the benefit of being able to pass back to the keeper who could pick it up and kill time. I personally like Can and think he has a future at number 6. I prefer him to Henderson (sacrilegious talk on the Anfield Wrap I realise). Huge fan of all the wonderful content all your contributors provide. Thank you. Just as a bit of piss taking Paul Senior was one of his biggest critics like many of of our younger fans need to show more patience with players IMO.
He’s not a patch on Souness, but then again he isn’t as old as Souness was when he joined, had a good few seasons less experience than Souness had.
One thing was for sure though, Graeme Souness and his mates were winners, and winners only want to play for the very best teams in the world…
Souness’ career began as an apprentice at Tottenham Hotspur under Bill Nicholson. He signed professional forms as a 15-year-old in 1968. Frustrated at a lack of first team opportunities, the teenage Souness reputedly informed Nicholson he was the best player at the club — he left to join Middlesbrough in 1972 (second div side at the time) – thought the 2 comments were quite ironic really.
Shite article, as most things are on this site when it comes to Can.
“for all of his weaknesses”
he really doesn’t have many.
You admit you read the Echo’s n onsense on the matter. Your pals over there have led the charge to disparage Can and you’ve followed. Had you bothered to read what he actually said in the full context of how said it you wouldn’t have wasted your time writing this crap.
Blaming him for Old Trafford is hilarious. I’m sure if Henderson had played he’d have challenged Lukaku, right? That’s your angle? Anything but blame Lovren. Standard, couldn’t blame Lovren, not after you’ve all spent years defending him.
You see. I think it’d be a lot more acceptable to say he slows play down if people (on this site especially) didn’t constantly praise Lallana even though he’s twice as bad at that (along with being on over 100k a week).
I think it would be acceptable to say he doesn’t assist if people weren’t defending Henderson even though he doesn’t assist either. (Henderson’s also on over 100k a week.)
It’d be OK to say he should’ve done better at United if Jimbo Pearce and his mates at the Echo wernt constantly defending their major source Dejan Lovren (he’s turned so many corners it’s a wonder he can still find his way to anfield to wet himself against any decent attacker). Who’s on over 100k a week.
Emre Can is currently the best central midfielder at the club. He’s better than Henderson, and better than Milner despite being 10 years younger. He’s entitled to ask for parity with their contracts at the least. (Around 150k a week if rumours are true.)
Does that mean we can’t afford to lose him? Not at all. But we are losing a 35-40million player for nothing and it will cost at least that to replace him. I agree with not giving release clauses if that’s the policy for all players and if the club are willing to take the hit on Can. A first team starter who plays a key position and is under 25. Keita doesn’t play the same position as him and Henderson just isn’t good enough and has a poor injury record.
Alongside the other needs we have (CBx2, CDM, backup striker) it would be cheaper to simply give Emre what he wants to save the time and money buying a replacement.
I think the main issue, is no omen really knows what he wants. If it’s not money, then he’s doing what we would all do in the same position if we didn’t love Liverpool. Shopping around.
I would if the first offer I got was less than what Lovren received.
Completely offtopic, but a bomb shell nonetheless: Thomas Tuchel apparently becomes Arsenal manager. -> Harder fight for the top4 in future.
When he’s up for a battle, he is unafraid of any. He makes emotional fouls ie. if he gets bested in a tackle, he’ll go back for a bite. Replacing Khedira is the received ‘wisdom’. He’d be good at that. Bit more chewing time except against Napoli under Sarri!
We need confident tough guy regulars in our midfield, but also technical, brave 2-paced young athletes like Sane.
Going down the table the other day in my head thinking ‘ who would want Lallana most in the EPL’, and came up with Swansea.
Players come and players go.
The anger levelled at players who might want to leave and the convenient ignorance that there are players at others clubs who want to leave and join is…is funny and tiring.
Coutinho wanted to leave us desperately and yet had his best run of form for us during that time. And I’d go as far to say that Emre is having his best year with us and still has a lot of room to grow.
If he ends up leaving, so be it. Coutinho left and we’ll be fine…the same applies here.
But it would be nice if he stayed. Good looking lad n that.
I’ve been blowing the “Give Emre whatever he wants” horn since early this season. He’s a great player, who will get better, and despite his lapses generally gives us an advantage with his quality. I like his style, and would be delighted to keep him. If he wants to leave though, particularly since he isn’t tied down, what else can we really do, and I’m not sure I want another Coutinho attitude in the dressing room. It’s all very opaque on Emre right now. I like him, I think he adds more than he detracts from the team, I want him to stay; should he decide not to, he is not irreplaceable, and while we’ll miss him, we won’t lose too much, if any, sleep over it.