Deportivo Saprissa’s 21-year-old midfielder Christian Bolaños has spent time on trial at Melwood this week and the word coming from Melwood is that he has been highly impressive.
Publicly there has been very little said by the staff at the club – Rafa Benítez spoke very briefly about the player on Thursday, claiming he’d had little chance to assess him. Rafa said: “We haven’t had much chance to see him in training but I have liked his attitude. We decided to try him after seeing him play well in Japan. But we are in no hurry to decide yet.”
It was in the FIFA Club World Cup finals in Japan that the player came to the attention of the Anfield staff, where he played against the European Champions. Although he was on the losing side in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory in the semi-finals of the tournament, he had been the only scorer in Saprissa’s quarter-final victory over Sydney FC. He impressed the FIFA panel that chose the player of the tournament awards enough for them to place him third overall.
He’s been accompanied during his visit to Liverpool by Saprissa’s manager Jeaustin Campos. The role of Campos at Saprissa would probably be described as Director of Football in England, and so his presence will be of help to Liverpool if they choose to go ahead and sign the player.
One issue for a possible purchase would be how likely Bolaños would be to get a work permit. After the recent delay in the signing of Mark Gonzales, the Chilean winger, thanks to the rejection of a work-permit application, the Liverpool executives should have done their homework to see what the chances are of Bolaños being granted a permit. Costa Rica are high enough up in the FIFA rankings for the work-permit conditions to be met, but Bolaños may not have played enough games for his country.
Bolaños is going as a guest of Liverpool to their FA Cup tie at Luton today. He’s due to travel home on Monday, but it does look highly possible that Liverpool will have made him and his club an offer by then.