As the hours tick away, it looks increasingly likely that Tom Hicks’ coy hint of a signing happening this week was actually much ado about nothing. While it is certainly possible that he believed the club were close to wrapping up a transfer that has since come undone, I elect not to afford him the benefit of the doubt. He shouldn’t be dropping hints or winking at the fans unless he’s watching the ink dry. While I’m more than happy to sort through rumor, innuendo, speculation, half-truths and out-right lies from ‘journalistic’ sources, an actual club official (let alone, an owner) should be held to a higher standard. After all, this is not the Real Madrid presidential election.
Whatever. It was unlikely that I would wake to find a surprise gift one morning this week, but I did think it likely there would a signing (not to be confused with the signing). Instead, Liverpool fans were treated to stories of a bust-up between Gillett/Hicks and Rafa over the (lack of) summer transfer kitty. GG was quick to come out and rubbish those claims, but did mention that Liverpool would not spend money “like druken sailors”. Unfortunately, we’re not even spending money like a couple of pensioners from Boca Raton who will only order water because “$1.50 for hot tea is highway robbery. “
Elsewhere, I’m almost sorry to see Arsenal suffer through the same sort of ‘will he/won’t he’ bullshit with Henry & Barca that we went through with Gerrard & Chelsea. Now, even Eto’o and Ronaldinho are making come-hither eyes at the Frenchman. I would hope though, for the Premiership’s sake, that he stays in London. Should #14 leave, you can write off Arsenal’s title chances. Wenger has assembled a fine squad of young talent at the Emirates, but it’s incredibly doubtful they’re strong enough to do the heavy lifting without Henry.
La Liga wraps up this weekend, so expect business to pick up after that. While it’s still just the beginning of the window, there will at least be a volley or two back and forth over the English Channel. Until then, you’ll just have to savor the enjoyment from the announcement of Liverpool’s new cooperation agreement with Hungarian club MTK Hungaria.
So, unlike Tom Hicks, I deliver…
This week’s transfer drudgings:
- After spending all of last season on loan at Crewe, center back Danny O’Donnell has permanently joined the League One side. The fee is said to be somewhere around £100,000 and the 21-year old has signed on for three years. Best of luck to the lad.
- Craig Bellamy continues to be linked to West Ham and a return to Blackburn. Craig’s Wales teammate Danny Gabbidon has publicly urged the ill-tempered sprite to make the move to Upton Park and thinks a Bellamy-Ashton pairing would be peachy keen. There may actually be something to this after Darren Bent declined a move to West Ham this week. 9 million sound fair?
- George Burley is keen on bringing Danny Guthrie back to Southampton next season. While he may be keen on a permanent deal, it’s feasible the 20-year old midfielder could return on a long-term loan. Danny had three league appearances for Liverpool this past season, three Carling Cup games and actually started in one Champion’s League match.
- Sam Allardyce is eyeing Sami Hyypia to help rebuild the Newcastle defense. Then again, this is from the same report that linked Big Sam to Chelsea new boy Tal Ben Haim. Marseille have also expressed interest in the big Finn.
- In a genuinely surprising but believable link, Real Madrid are reportedly looking to sign Jerzy Dudek as back-up to Iker Casillas. Apparently, YouTube videos of the Arsenal games have been blocked in Spain.
- In what must be the most disturbing transfer rumor I’ve heard in quite some time, Diego Forlan (yes, the Diego Forlan of Manchester United infamy) has been linked with Liverpool as a cheaper alternative to Carlos Tevez. Thankfully, his agent was quick to throw cold water on such talk. Seriously, Diego, stay on the Yellow Submarine. Ringo would have wanted it that way. (I know… he’s not dead. But his career is. Ringo’s, that is.)
- What I orginally hoped was a game of ‘telephone’ turned ugly has turned out to be a horrible truth: Rick Parry has confirmed that Liverpool have indeed made an approach for West Ham’s 27-year old attacking midfielder Yossi Benayoun. Reports are the bid was an “insulting” £1 million, but there exist reports that put the number as high as £3m. This makes NO sense to me. I suppose Rafa feels he needs somebody to fill Zenden’s crappy whipping boy post. Granted, Benayoun has shown that he can compete in the Premiership on a semi-regular basis, but why are we shopping for second class right-footed midfielders? Isn’t this why we have Pennant and are shopping for an upgrade like Malouda? I’m quite sure the ‘No Vacancy’ sign in the middle of the park has been lit since Lucas signed on, so where else does he play other than on the right flank? In the slot behind the striker? When was the last time Rafa had anybody (i.e. non-striker) other than Gerrard play there? We don’t even utilize that position all that often. I can’t get too worked up over the price; one (or three) million for a squad player of his ability isn’t bad business. But, I don’t see him filling any role other than the one Luis Garcia does, and honestly, Lil Luis does it much better. Plus, Benayoun wears fucking gloves, for crying out loud. GLOVES! If it’s that cold outside, why are you wearing short sleeves?
- Benfica continue to puff out their collective chests in the ongoing Simao Sabrosa transfer saga. Quoted at £12m and linked to Liverpool and Lyon, the club has repeated that they don’t wish to sell, but will entertain the idea should they receive an “incredible offer”. Translation: “He’s yours for 15 mil.”
- Poor Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas: He’s been sitting in his office, waiting for an unnamed English club to call him about the transfer of Florent Malouda: “An English club has to call me soon.” I certainly hope he didn’t skip his book club meeting to wait by the phone, refusing to go the bathroom for fear of missing the call. According to Aulas, Malouda’s price is steady at £17m.
- Rafa reportedly has his eye on Barca youngster Marc Crosas. The 19-year old midfielder could come over on an intial loan before a long-term move. This makes a lot of sense, because there is currently a severe lack of talent in the midfield that will allow us plenty of opportunities to blood a new youngster. *rolls eyes*
- Fernando Torres to Liverpool for £15m. Not bloody likely.
- “My wish is to stay here. Not only this year but in the future because I am under contract and I hope I can extend it. In any case, we will have to wait and see what happens this summer.” Those are the words of Valencia’s David Villa, who is under contract until 2013. Now more than ever, the name ‘Tevez’ pops into my mind.