After days, weeks and what felt like years at times, the transfer window has been shut - Paolo Di Canio had concluded business and finally, yes finally has signed a left back…permanently!
The void was always going to be tough to fill after Danny Rose’s successful season-long loan came to an end as he returned to Tottenham Hotspur but in the name of Andrea Dossena we will now have to trust.
The Italian is a natural left sided player, who was born in Lodi, a city in the north of Italy. Dossena began his early career within the side of Verona back in 2001 where he made 99 appearances in both Serie A and Serie B, then signing for Treviso before leaving the club after a season as they suffered relegation.
He then signed for Udinese in 2006 where, during his two year spell there, he mustered up 63 appearance plus two goals and because of his impressive first season there, Udinese offered him an improved contract which would tie him down until 2012 and was later rewarded with his first international cap, a 63rd minute substitute appearance with an assist for Alessandro Gamberini.
2008 seen the Italian, complete a move to Liverpool for roughly £7 million after declaring his love for the club, but his form disappeared and his struggled to adapt to the Premier League pace, by his own accord.
"I am not fully happy with my level and, with Fabio in my position, the manager has the option of a player more in tune with the tactics of the team right now,”
Making only 18 appearances in two seasons, Dossena was sold to Napoli where he recaptured some of his form and made 83 appearances along the way. He was later loaned to Palermo this year.
Although he did struggle at Anfield, he still has an understanding of the Premiership and even brings with him Champions League experience. Known to be speedy and agile as well as being able to play the ball with both feet, he’s been described as an old fashioned defender who is not shy to stick a tackle in when needed. We asked Max who writes for the most popular Liverpool fan site This Is Anfield to reminisce a little;
WAW: You can count on two fingers the number of recognised left backs Sunderland have had since the turn of the millenium - can you tell us a bit more about what kind of a full back we have signed?
Max: Dossena was signed as a replacement for John Arne Riise, who's time at Liverpool had begun to fade, despite being a hero at left-back for so many years. So Dossena had a lot to live up to. My memories of Dossena was that he works hard. He had a tendency to be caught out of position at times, but this could be put down to never having had a full run of games in the side. Over his two years at Anfield, he only made 18 league appearances.
WAW: What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Max: He seemed to play better when he was used in a left winger-type role. This was later in his first season with us after he had dropped down the pecking order to young Argentine Imiliano Insua and Brazilian Fabio Aurelio in that position. From this left wing position though, he did score important goals against both Real Madrid and Manchester United. Both were from substitute appearances. He's was strong, but carried a bit more weight than he should. Had a lot of potential to be a very good athlete. Hopefully for Sunderland, he's sorted that out by now.
WAW: He cost Liverpool a reasonably high transfer fee, for a fullback anyway, should we be concerned that it never worked out for him on Merseyside?
Max: I wouldn't worry about his transfer fee really - at the time we were buying a left-back in his prime (by age, at least). The price tag was out of his control and can't remember it being something that loomed over his head at all - we were buying fairly big at the time, and just before, anyway. He came at a time when we saw the resurgence of Aurelio and emergence of Insua, he had a lot of competition.
WAW: We have heard one or two awful reviews from Italy, and not so many good ones here - is he really that bad?
Max: Consistency was his problem. His strength meant he was good at shepherding the ball out of play, but is positional awareness let him down. There's probably too little memories of him to make a solid judgement of him, but he didn't set the place alight, put it that way.
WAW: Finally, do you think this is a good signing for Sunderland?
Max: Dossena signing for Sunderland feels like a bit of a blast from the past for us. There are some memories from him that are very fondly in the hearts of Liverpool supporters (scoring the fourth in the 4-1 victory at Old Trafford being one of them). Yet he never set the world alight for one reason or another. He never really fitted the left-back mould that Rafa Benitez wanted, which is probably why Rafa's sold him again, this time from Napoli.
Although it’s satisfying that Sunderland have signed a left back (it’s only taken four years or so), It does smell a lot like a panic buy. If I’m honest, I don’t know what to think about this transfer.
On one hand, the Italian is coming into a side, desperate for a natural left sided player who can slot into this position nicely, and try link up play with Emanuele Giaccherini with some Premiership and Champions League experience - which is nothing to shy away from. Don’t get me wrong, Jack Colback has been superb filling in thus far and a lot of credit should be given to him to play out of his normal central midfield point.
But on the other hand I’m always going to have that flashback of him playing for Liverpool, struggling, making daft mistakes and watch as he has drifted from the Napoli first team to Palermo on loan to getting released for a free transfer, we can’t have that now, not when we’re trying to modernise and reconstruct how we play.
I am grateful that we have a LB now mind, there is a slight sense of relief, but that’s exactly how I felt when Wayne Bridge was signed on loan and look how that worked out.
My head says “he’ll do for now”, which could be misconstrued as negative, it’s not. However, my gut says he’s going to flop again, which I will allow negative thoughts for this. If he struggled once, then sure enough he’ll struggle again.