By Sean M. Hartnett

In the blink of an eye, Liverpool have captured Portugese defensive midfielder Raul Meireles (photo).  The Reds have just completed the sale of Javier Mascherano and wasted little time to find his replacement.

June 21, 2010 - Cape Town, South Africa - epa02214585 Portugal's Raul Meireles celebrates after scoring the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group G preliminary round match between Portugal and North Korea at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, 21 June 2010.

According to The Guardian, the fee paid to FC Porto is said to be £10.7m and would be a great value signing for Liverpool.  Although he is thought of as a defensive midfielder first, Meireles is an all-around midfielder who as able to complete long passes.  His offensive attributes are vastly superior to Mascherano and also has the gritty trademarks that the Argentine possesses.

Meireles was one of Portugal’s highest performing players during the 2010 World Cup and has always been highly sought-after by top European clubs for years.  Barcelona were long-linked with Meireles before turning their interest to Mascherano.  Many pundits believed that Manchester United would end up with the Portugese hard-man this summer with stories linking them with a swoop before the close of the summer transfer window.

Liverpool have already signed Christian Poulsen he and Meireles could form a powerful holding midfield duo that would be protect Liverpool’s back four and give Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole license to go forward.  Rumors are swirling about Lucas Leiva being on the move so this signing makes perfect sense for the Reds both tactically and financially.

Porto were resigned to losing Meireles as they were afraid that his value would drop too significantly next summer with only a year left on his contract.  The £10.7m paid by Liverpool is a knock-down price as his actual worth is much greater.  It is a smart buy for Reds’ boss Roy Hodgson who has used the lack of funds available to him wisely.

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