In 2012, everything seemed to be coming together for Moroccan winger OussamaAssaidi.
After a successful and acclaimed career in the Netherlands, the then 21-year-old became the centre of a bidding war between both Premier League and international clubs.
Having seen off rival bids from Ajax and Fulham, it was Liverpool – with a bid of £2.5 million – that won the race for the talented Moroccan.
At the time, it had been heavily expected that Assaidi would join Ajax. But he withdrew from negotiations over personal terms regarding moving to Amsterdam; a decision he may have regretted in retrospect.
Assaidi was born in Beni-Boughafer, Morocco, but moved to Amsterdam whilst still a young boy with his family. His football career began in 2003 at the renowned AZ Alkmaar academy, which he stayed at for three years.
In 2006, he was signed to Omniworld in the EersteDivisie, a mid-level Dutch league. During his stint with the Omniworld, Assaidi scored three goals in 36 games.
He then moved to De Graafschap, which is within the top division of Dutch football, where he scored five goals in five games during the beginning of the season. This impressive play led him to be signed to SC Heerenveen as their only transfer of the year after just one season with De Graafschap.
This rise through the Dutch leagues, combined with his international performances for Morocco, led to the exposure that eventually led to Assaidi’s signing by Liverpool.
Considering how doggedly Liverpool fought for his signing, it is surprising that during Assaidi’s entire stint with Liverpool he only made 12 match appearances. But this stat does become less shocking when one of the factors is that Assaidi spent two of his three seasons with Liverpool on loan to Stoke.
It would seem that Liverpool, who are currently 5/6 to win against Aston Villa on Saturday, according to football betting website Bet365, couldn’t wait to get rid of Assaidi. However, this was not the case as, whilst having no clear intention to play Assaidi regularly themselves, Liverpool were not keen to allow him to permanently play for anyone else.
Despite Assaidi’s mutually beneficial relationship with Stoke during his two transfer seasons, Liverpool refused to lower their price on releasing Oussama from his contract – according to Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes.
However, with his loan to Stoke ended early, Oussama was quick to leave the club and complete a permanent transfer to Dubai-based Al Ahi Club this January.
Assaidi will be best remembered by fans for his 90th minute goal that sealed Stoke’s first league victory over Chelsea since 1975. However, particularly during his second loan, Assaidi preformed consistently throughout the season. He scored several other goals and proved popular with fans and players alike.
Therefore, it is sad that Liverpool’s treatment may have soured Assaidi’s relationship with the Premier League and prohibited his full transfer to Stoke. However, fans can now only hope that his move to the Middle East goes a lot better.