Due to the international matches and my general disinterest in writing about them, it’s been a quiet week around these parts. Not to say those games hold no interest for me, but the only concern of this blog in relation to those matches are the injuries sustained by Liverpool players.
The real ‘news’ will come after Wednesday’s matches, but it looks as if Stevie G’s toe is progressing well enough after the Israel game. One match down, one to go. Fernando Torres came back from a knee-knock that left him with a ‘bruised sciatic nerve’ to play in a hunk of Spain’s game versus Iceland.
No new word on Steve Finnan, who must still be in Liverpool receiving treatment. But, word is that Jamie Carragher is training again. By week’s end, we all know Carra will be raring to go, regardless of any residual rib pain, but whether or not Rafa will roll the dice will be more clear later in the week. Much later.
So, we’ll see what shape the international boys are in come Thursday…
Reports also say Fabio Auriello played in a reserve match versus Crewe on Tuesday, so his return looks to imminent.
Until then, reader Jonathan sent me (though, not exclusively, as it turns out) an article out of the Echo about Stevie G, Carra and some of the other boys being auctioned off.
It’s a nice enough story about raising money for charity, but it got me thinking…
Like the saying goes, ‘everybody has their price’, right?
Everybody. Or, every player.
Cash Rules Everything Around Me
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all
My question is, if you had to sell each player on the books at Liverpool, what would that price be? (realistic price – no £100M Championship Manager bids here) With the youngsters or fringe players, it’s a case of ‘How much can you get?’. With the higher profile players, it’s ‘How much will it take to part ways with him?’
However unlikey it is that Liverpool would sell a particular player or that player would want to leave, either way, there’s got to be a price.
While Jim Cramer says (or yells) that the price you bought a stock at shouldn’t figure in to when or where you sell it, I’m treating players as a much different commodity. Nobody wants to lose money on a transfer. Their orginal price tag will, in these cases, influence their new sale price. I also put a premium on youth that has already consistently displayed sublime talent.
So, let the fire sale (i.e. random assigning of values!) begin!
Starting with the bench:
Emiliano Insua: He initially came over from Boca on a long-term loan, but I believe as part of the Paletta deal, it’s now been made permanent. He’s only 18, but has loads of talent. Using another young fullback for comparison, we sold Antonio Barragan for roughly £750K. I’d rate Insua as better, let’s say worth a cool mil. Want to buy him? That’ll be £2 mil.
Jack Hobbs: I’d put him in much the same boat as Insua, but the youngster may be even closer to action if emergency were to strike. £2.5 million.
Robbie Threlfall: Another young left-back, part of the FA Youth Cup winning sides the past few years. But, behind Inusa in my mind’s depth chart. I think he could fetch as much as £750K.
Nabil El Zhar: A 21-year old who can play wide or up top. He looked more than servicable in the early preseason games and has already played three senior games (last season) for Liverpool. £750K, at least.
David Martin: One of the five million young net minders Rafa has brought in. He’s highly rated, but not ready for first team action. Was bought for £250K, and since I think he’s slipped down the pecking order with the arrival of Carson, I’d set the minimum release price at £500K.
Stephen Darby: An Academy graduate, the right-back has yet to make a senior appearance, but was captain (along with Jay Spearing) of the FA Youth Cup winning team. I honestly don’t see much of a future at Anfield for him. You can have him now for £200K.
Craig Linfield: Another Academy grad, England U-19 regular and FA Youth Cup winner. But, he’s 19 and has yet to manage a senior appearance (not counting preseason games). I’m telling you, English talent is at a premium. I might be able to let him go for as little as £300.
Ryan Flynn: Admit it, you just thought “Ryan who?” Another Academy grad, via Falkirk, the 19-year old Scot plays central midfield (“I’m sorry, sir, we’re booked solid. For the next three years.”) and even scores goals. Just not at the senior level. £200K, please?
Ray Putterill: A left winger who saw in action this preseason. He has a familiar resume: Academy grad, FA Youth Cup winner. Call it £250K?
Jay Spearing: Academy grad, Captain of the FA Youth Cup winning squad. Undersized centerback turned defensive midfield. £400K.
Sebastian Leto: Rumored to have come in for somewhere under £2M, he made his debut against Toulouse and looked useful. I like the look of the kid and anybody who has a real chance of playing first team football at Liverpool will not come or go cheap. And look at that luxurious hair! I’d like to see him stay and realize that potential at Anfield, but he’s yours for £3.5 mil.
Charles Itandje: Rafa’s newest goalkeeper and with Carson on loan at Charlton, our #2. I can’t say I know a great deal about the Frenchman, but did you know he had a trial at Liverpool under Ged? The fee we paid this summer for him is undisclosed, but I’m not letting him walk out the door for anything less £3 million.
Lucas Leiva: The former Brazilian U-20 captain now has a full senior cap for his country. And by all accounts, this central midfielder is supposed to be the real deal. We paid somewhere around half a million pounds for him, but if he were to put on the auction block, there’d be a queue ready to pay over-the-odds for him. I’m confident, even with only one notch on his appearance belt, you’re going to pay me £5M.
Harry Kewell: Oh, Harry. We thought we got a world-class talent for such a steal when he signed on from Leeds for only £5 mil in 2003. But, after his first season, he spent more and more time on the injury list than the pitch, keeping that talent limited to brief cameos. And after sitting out a year and a successful Asian Cup, it looked as if he might enjoy a renaissance. But, where is he now? Injured. I’ll take what I can get, assuming he passes a physical — £2 million.
Moving onto the first team and those heavily involved in rotation…
Sami Hyypia: With his playing career winding down, Sami still has plenty of footballing intelligence to offset his aged legs. But, nobody except the most desperate relegation fodder are going to outlay any cash for an older defender, despite his pedigree. I think somebody would be willing to splash a cool million.
Ryan Babel: A recent arrival to Anfield, Rafa reportedly put down £11.5M for the promising Dutchman. He’s only 20 but has already been a part of the Dutch World Cup squad. Nobody can question this kid’s incredible potential, especially after his sublime goal versus Derby. Liverpool would be almost be getting robbed at £15 million.
Yossi Benayoun: Another of the new boys. The former West Ham man has had a quiet, if not startingly, start to his Liverpool career as he’s learning to cope with Rafa’s rotation policy. But, we’ve seen repeated evidence of his class with intelligent runs and classy passing. Talented wingers with Premiership pedigree aren’t cheap. He came in for four million, he can leave for six and a half.
Peter Crouch: After coming in for £7M, the much maligned Crouchie found himself a regular fixture for Liverpool after a lengthy dry spell. But, with the arrival of Voronin and Torres, the supersized striker must surely have concerns about his long-term future at Anfield. That said, 26-year old 6’7” strikers with English international credentials ain’t a dime a dozen. Surely, there are half a dozen teams willing to pay at least £10 million for him.
Javier Mascherano: Masch’s situation is tricky because he’s still on loan from West Ham, assuming United didn’t end up with his registration in that Tevez debacle. Considering the knockdown price paid in Manchester for his countryman, let’s assume reports of £1.5 permanent fee are correct. At only 23, the Argentinian international has blossomed under Rafa’s tutelage and his stock is on the rise. In most sides, without world-class talents like Gerrard or Alonso, he’s be an automatic selection. Looking for a hard-tackling defensive midfielder, with the better part of a decade after of him? You’d be lucky to find a midfield force like him for less than £8.5M.
Momo Sissoko: For a brief spell this summer, it looked as if the midfielder destroyer might have been off to Juve, but Rafa has since locked him up with a new contract. ‘Energy personified’ is how I’ve described him before, but it appears as if he’s learning to pick his spots a bit more wisely. His offensive talents even look to be on the up-and-up. But, at only 22 and already a defensive midfield hoss, you’re going to pay through the nose for this force of nature. Let the bidding start at £12M.
Fabio Auriello: The left back/midfielder came to Anfield on a free and slotted in nicely before injuring his Achilles versus PSV. A talented striker of the ball, he gets up and down the left side exceptionally well. I could be undervaluing him, but I could let him leave for £3.5M.
John Arne Riise: Another left back/midfielder with a laser of a left foot. I’ve always been a bit wary of Riise as a true starting left back, but his industrious motor and cannon shot make him a lethal tool coming out of the back. But, as comes with the territory, he gets caught out of position more so than a traditional fullback. But, the power of that left peg! It broke a man’s leg, for crying out loud. He’s been at Anfield for what seems like ages, but he’s only 26. That’ll be £7M.
Dirk Kuyt: I’m a big fan of the hard-working Dutch striker. Although he should probably score a tad more than he does, he makes many of his own chances (not to mention those for his teammates) with phemonenal work-rate and comes close of most misses. He’s a classy individual who works for the team and defends from the front. I think he’s worth more, but you’d get a lot of quality for £12M.
Alvaro Arbeloa: He introduced himself wonderfully to the Liverpool faithful in his start against Barcelona, and has featured regularly since Auriello’s injury. The 24-year old fullback can play on either side, which makes him quite the useful tool to have. If you want such versatility, it’ll cost you £6M.
Jermaine Pennant: Having been a Pennant apologist for the duration of last season, it was especially satisfying to see him improve as the season came to a close and start the new campaign off in the same spirit. By no means is he a finished product, but he looks to be back on-track to becoming the player Arsene Wenger saw in him and is now genuinely knocking on the door for an English call-up. (maintaining a place in the squad, however, is a different matter) That said, I couldn’t imagine squeezing that much of a profit out of his £8M fee. Before an England cap, I’ll say £9M.
Steve Finnan: Like Sami, a great servant to the club and intelligent defender who’s north of 30. Unlike Sami, he’s still got a few more years of productivity in him, not to mention, his starting position at right back. Because of his age, though, you’d be hard-pressed to drive much of a bargain. But, if it meant staying in the Premiership, I think he could fetch as much as £2M in a January transfer window.
Daniel Agger: Only 22 and already a mainstay in the Liverpool defence. Think about it, he realistically could be at the heart of the backline for another decade. To have adapted to the English game as quickly as he has, one can only imagine this intelligent defender will continue his development. A star on the rise. You want him? £15M starts the conversation.
Andriy Voronin: The less expensive of the summer’s two new strikers. And for the cost of nothing, almost anything would have been worth it. But as it turns out, The Ponytail (non-divine) looks like he might have been a real steal. Power, vision and touch are not qualities readily found in a well-groomed striker. You’re lucky it’s not double-digits — £9M.
Pepe Reina: Funnily enough, this week’s rumor has it that Atletico Madrid are going to try to lure Pepe away from Anfield. Good fucking luck. I can count on one hand the number of goalkeepers in the world who would be an acceptable replacement for Pepe right now. And, he’s only 25 and getting wiser. If a (then) 23-year old Buffon cost somewhere around £23M in 2001 and Craig Gordon just went for £9 million, then the Being Sven blue book value for Pepe is easily £18M.
Xabi Alonso: At only 25, with his prime just approaching, he’s already easily one of the classiest passers in the game. And lest we forget, he’s a threat to score from his own half (that never ceases to amuse me). Bought for £10.5M, his profile since the move has been dramatically raised. So has his price — £17 million.
Fernando Torres: El Nino, the more expensive of the summer’s two new strikers looks to have hit the ground running. The resume is impressive, let alone for a 23-year old; that’s why we paid somewhere around 20 million sterling for his services. And after showing that he will likely flourish in the Premier League after having done the business in La Liga. That’s two of the world’s best leagues. The shortlist of clubs who could afford him is brief, but with his pre-Anfield pricetag said to be £25M, nobody could argue with a mark-up to £27M.
Jamie Carragher: Honestly, can you even begin to imagine Carra leaving Liverpool? Is there a more impossibly unlikely scenario for any one player? He’d retire first. Maybe if he was forced to leave the country but had to keep playing to pay for countless operations for his entire family and hundreds of Scouse orphans? As a starting central defender, he’s got a few good years left in him, and probably a few more as a utility defender beyond that if he wishes. He’s easily worth £20M to me, but no other team would meet the valuation. Maybe a storied club trying to quickly rebuild might shell out £10M.
Steven Gerrard: It’s reassuring to be able to talk about slapping a price on Stevie G, safe in the knowledge that we won’t be revisiting the transfer saga suffered those two frightful summers. Ladies and gentlemen, he’s one of the world’s best midfielders, just now coming into his prime. At this point, I’m not even sure you could get full value for him. I should stick to my own rules, and back off the price a bit (for ‘realism’, what a lark in this post), but I think if he were (in this fantasy world) to lured away by say, Real Madrid or Barca, it would be for a world record transfer fee. Captain Fantastic is the £30 million man.
What do you think?
Just how badly have I over- or under-valued your favorite player?
What about Rafa?