Andrea Dossena – Liverpool’s number 2
Rafa Benitez looked to strengthen his side early in the summer of 2008, making the full-back positions top priority. Phillipp Degen signed from Borussia Dortmund to give Steve Finnan and Alvaro Arbeloa competition in the right-back slot whilst highly rated Italian left-back Andrea Dossena was brought in from Udinese as a replacement for the outgoing John Arne Riise, to compete for a place with Fabio Aurelio and the talented youngster Emiliano Insua. We profile Andrea Dossena, taking a look at his career so far, what fans can expect of him and a little about his personality.
Born on the 11th September 1981 in Lodi, Italy located 25 miles from Milan, Andrea Dossena began his football education with local side Fanfulla before making the move to Hellas Verona, aged 14. He played for 6 years in the youth team there before he finally made his first appearance during the 2001-02 season as a sprightly 20 year old. By this time, he’d already been recognised by his country and made 4 appearances for the Italy U21 side. His first senior match at club level came in a 3-2 win against local rivals Chievo Verona in Serie A on 18th November 2001. He played just one more time during 2001-02 in a season that saw his side relegated on the last day of the season but he contributed more regularly the following year gaining 21 appearances in Serie B, scoring his first goal at senior level.
Despite a disappointing season that saw Verona finish mid-table in the second tier of Italian football, mainly due to the exodus of talented players such as Mauro Camoranesi, Albert Gilardino, Massimo Oddo and Adrian Mutu, Dossena could be pleased with his first full season as a senior player. Another difficult season for Verona as they dwelled in 19th position in Serie B was met with more consistency for Andrea as he made 37 appearances in the league, again scoring a single goal. It was bettered in 2004-05 when he featured in 39 of 42 league games, scoring his 3rd league goal for the club as he helped them to a much fairer 6th position.
His performances over the latter two years hadn’t gone unnoticed and he was brought back into the Italian top flight by Udinese. Unfortunately, he was unable to establish himself into the first team squad early so aged 24 he was loaned to Treviso where he made 20 appearances in the top flight but suffered the disappointment of relegation for the second time in his career.
This experience is pivotal to any player as it certainly was to Dossena who continued to put in excellent performances and he was rewarded for his efforts by being brought back to Udinese where over the next 2 seasons he went on to play 63 league games in Serie A, finishing 10th and 7th respectively. His displays in the latter season were of very high standard, most notably in the games against teams such as Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus. Dossena scored 2 goals in 2007-08, 1 being a stunning effort against Juventus to put his side 1-0 up but they eventually lost 2-1.
Dossena celebrating his goal against Juventus
The Italian national side gave Dossena his first and to date only cap on 17th October 2007 in a friendly against South Africa at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Arriving in the 63rd minute replacing Alessandro Gamberini with the score 0-0, Dossena completed the remainder of the match that ended 2-0 thanks to 2 late Christiano Lucarelli goals, with Dossena providing the cross for the first.
Linked with moves to Juventus and AC Milan towards the end of the 2007-08 season, Dossena declared his admiration for Liverpool in May after reports linking the reds with the full-back were revealed. “Liverpool are a great team, and it is great to be linked to such a famous club. I want to play Champions League football, the Reds have already won it and they often get to the big games. In England, they are on the same level as Manchester United,” he said.
The move was agreed prior to the opening of the transfer window and completed on July 4th 2008 with figures between £7m-£8m being quoted. He’ll wear the number 2 shirt in the forthcoming year, last occupied by Alvaro Arbeloa before he switched to number 17 at the start of last season. He becomes the first Italian international to ever play for Liverpool. Despite only making a single appearance for his national side, it is expected that this move could catapult him into the squad in the near future but there is plenty of competition for the left back slot including Gianluca Zambrotta, Andrea Barzagli, Fabian Grosso and Giorgio Chiellini.
Dossena arrives at Anfield with a reputation of being something of a hard man having been sent off 5 times in the last 4 years, including two omissions last year. Aggressive in the tackle, he prefers the ball played to his feet and similarly to both Aurelio and Riise can carry the ball forward and link with the front men. He brings with him blistering pace and skills usually attributed to wingers and the ability to use both feet means that Dossena is likely to feature often for the Reds.
Copyright - Adam Elce for LFChistory.net