Liverpool want Aissa Mandi for next season, according to reports. He’s a signing that is ideal – if he cuts out a negative trait.
We see this deal as, essentially, Liverpool going all-in on Joe Gomez. Mandi isn’t a first XI signing and while Liverpool do need to replace Dejan Lovren, they appear to want to do so without rivalling Gomez or Joel Matip.
Mandi, then, would be like-for-like with Lovren. Although, they differ in one key area that makes the Algerian a real step up.
It’s in their respective injury records. Per Transfermarkt, Lovren has suffered four injuries in the last two season, forcing him out of 25 games. That’s not good for a squad player, someone who’s primary role is being there when the first-choice players can’t be.
It means Lovren has started just 20 Premier League games in two years, adding a further three from the bench. Not exactly a reliable backup, then.
Mandi, however, has a near-exemplary injury record. Again per Transfermarkt, he hasn’t been out injured since 2017 when he fractured his hand. He hasn’t suffered a muscle injury since 2016.
In contrast, Lovren has had four muscle injuries since then, including his last three. That’s a big difference – a hand fracture won’t be recurring, whereas muscle injuries will. Lovren’s record shows that.
And so Mandi appears to be ideal as a squad player. He’s experienced in two different leagues, never suffers injuries, and is very well-priced for someone his age (28).
There is a catch, though.
Stamp it out
Mandi will miss games, however, if he doesn’t change. Not through injury, but through suspension. Now, he doesn’t pick up many red cards – four in his career, zero in the last two seasons – but yellows are another issue.
He picked up 10 yellows last season. There were another 10 the season before that. Mandi did better the year before that, however, with nine.
That’s how he’ll miss games and it is the only real question mark on his reliability. He averages a yellow around every three games and if he plays even semi-regularly, you can expect him to pick up the five that hands out a suspension.
If he were first-choice, we can actually expect then, which would rule him out of three games. Now, he shouldn’t play enough to pick up ten, but injuries elsewhere could always change that.
Mandi seems ideal and would be a good signing for Liverpool. As a reliable squad player, his injury record is stand-out and the only issue is those cards. Stamp those out and there are no complaints here.