The Reds allowed him to leave last year for Fenerbahce for a £1 million at the age of 31. Whilst Brendan Rodgers has some exceptional young talent in his ranks at Anfield, Kuyt was, prior to Rodgers’ arrival last summer, one of their most diligent and determined players.
Second only to Steven Gerrard, in my estimation, the Dutchman was one of the most hard-working players in the Premier League. I remember thinking him similar to the Duracell Bunny who just kept going and going and going. He had an incredible work-ethic and that kind of presence is hard to replace.
Whilst he was often overshadowed on the international stage by some of his Netherlands teammate – Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder to name but a few, he was never the type to throw a diva-stop like some of the aforementioned, he was never selfish or even self-serving and he always did his best for the team.
For Liverpool he played primarily as a winger or second striker along with Fernando Torres (and later Luis Suarez) and linked up well with Gerrard in midfield. Whilst Rodgers now has the likes of young Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Suso, and Oussama Assaidi, the youngsters don’t yet have the drive and focus that a player like Kuyt demonstrated throughout his career.
What they really need is another hard worker with exceptional quality to go with it. When Kuyt arrived in 2006, he was just entering his prime, aged 26. He was still relatively unknown on the continental and world stage despite his strong performances for Feyanoord but he had something to prove when he arrived on Merseyside.
That level of focus, commitment and sheer desire to win at all costs needs to be replaced. Rodgers may not have to look much further than Kuyt’s junior compatriot Siem de Jong.
De Jong has been a staple of Ajax’s team for around 6 years and at 24, he’s likely just hitting his stride. He can operate as an attacking midfielder in that central playmaker role, wide if required there or as a second striker, the equivalent of a trequartista.
His technical quality is immense (he scored 12 goals and made 8 assists in the Eredivisie last term) but what really would made him a fantastic prospect for Liverpool is his attitude, composure, work-rate and determination – his mental qualities.
He could likely be available for around the £10 million mark (maybe less even) and he has expressed a desire to move abroad and leave Ajax in search of pastures new ahead of the World Cup next year.
“Perhaps now is the time for the next step, abroad,” de Jong said.
Perhaps now is the perfect time for Brendan Rodgers to replace the Duracell Bunny that always was Dirk Kuyt. He'd surely be hard-pushed to find a better option than Siem de Jong.
image: © k1ngk0ng