Ah, I absolutely adore alliteration.
So, it looks as if the snowball that is Liverpool’s summer transfer activity may be starting to pick up speed and mass now that it’s gotten a decent push down the mountain. After the departure of the one-footed wonder, John Arne Riise, to Roma (he did serve Liverpool well… best of luck to you, JAR), Rafa has reinforced the backline by securing the singings of Phillip Degen (right fullback, via Borussia Dortmund on a free) and Andrea Dossena (left fullback, via Udinese for roughly £7M). By all accounts, both of them can get forward and can actually defend properly. My initial bet is that unless Fabio Aurielo can stay healthy, it’ll be Dossena on the left and Arbeloa on the right.
While it seems Scott Carson continues to float in the vapors (despite rumors of a move to ‘Boro) now that Martin O’Neill is now inexplicably considering making a move for Spurs’ Paul Robinson (or more smartly, West Ham’s Robert Green). While I have nothing but respect and admiration for O’Neill, I don’t understand why he thinks he’s going to find a better ‘keeper than Scott. Surely, he can’t forget how many games Carson kept them in this past season. Martin must be rubbing his nickels together. £10 million may seem steep, but it’s money well-spent. I don’t care how his form dipped after his England disaster, Scott Carson is the future number 1.
Keeping with the goalkeeper theme, Charles Itandje is currently being packaged and shipped off to Galatasaray for £2M while Brazilian Diego Cavalieri will be coming in from Palmeiras for £3 million. I would expect this revolving door to continue year-in and year-out as long as Pepe stays healthy.
I know it’s shocking that I’ve gone three paragraphs without touching on THE transfer saga of the summer despite mentioning Villa and Martin O’Neill. The latest in the Gareth Barry soap opera seems to be that Rafa is trying to throw 32-year old Steve Finnan in the mix to sweeten the pot. Quite honestly, I like Barry, but £18M is pretty damn steep. For about five million more, we could have one of the Davids — Silva or Villa (recently ‘linked’ to us for £25 million).
As an aside, Rafa on the idea of signing Villa:
But we will try to bring in another option. Villa is a player we know all about and he is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult.
While I realize that’s a bit of a misnomer as we’re talking apples and oranges when comparing the Davids and Barry, methinks the money might be better spent elsewhere. Granted, Barry is an England international, can play left back, left or central midfield, but if given the choice, I’d glady add to the Spanish contingent.
That said, expect this one to drag out a bit longer as Gareth is still banned from pre-season training at Villa.
Either way, we’re going to need another striker as Crouchinho is partnering back up with old ‘Arry over at Portsmouth, filling Rafa’s coffers with roughly £10M. I like Crouchie, but since money seems to be at a premium as our bum owners can’t cough up the proper cash, I’ll gladly take the ten million pounds. Peter often got a raw deal from the press and some fans, but he did lead us in scoring in all competitions the season before last (or “B.T.” — Before Torres). Now, he wants/needs (Maslow can sort that one out) a regular starting place to secure his place in the England squad. I do think, though, that in the not-too-distant future, Crouchie will find out (much like Emile Heskey) that the peak of his international career will likely have conincided with his time in a Liverpool shirt. Best of luck to him, though.
Now, maybe Rafa doesn’t need to bring in another striker… maybe he’s already on the books. The Gaffa has thrown down the gauntlet to the youngsters, telling them to prove themselves worthy of earning a place in the first team. Obviously, we’ve seen Plessis and Insua already, but the one I’ve (and plenty others) have my eye on is Krisztian Nemeth, who’s been ripping it up in Gary Ablett’s reverse side. Can you imagine the day when Liverpool are actually bringing kids up from the youth ranks on a regular basis (with success) ?
Not shockingly, Rafa has brought in another youngster in highly-rated (for whatever that matters) striker Nikola Saric. The 17-year old Croatian-born Dane can apparently play up top or on either wing.
So, Xabi Alonso may or may not be off to Juventus. It seems the Italian cheaters club doesn’t want to pay over-the-odds for the midfield maestro (somewhere around £16 million). Xabi isn’t sweating it, though. He’s more than happy to stay at Anfield. It was a rough season for Xabi last term, as he was injured for a lengthy spell, then struggled to find his true form once fit. I think to view him in a lesser light because of last season would be folly, but my thinking is that Rafa is only willing to sell him because the midfield anchor position is covered (Masch and Plessis) and the Spainard would fetch a significant fee that would go to fund further purchases (i.e. Gareth Barry). To let him leave for anything less than 15 million would be criminal.
Another rumored potential exit is Yossi Benayoun. But don’t mention that to the Israeli international, because he’s having none of it.
Benitez told me unequivocally that he brought me here, that I had a very good season, that he’s depending on me and that there’s no way I’ll leave Liverpool. I have very good chemistry with Benitez. He loves me. He bought me. I really enjoy being with him, moreover, I had an excellent season. I even surprised myself. Benitez didn’t want to hear and isn’t prepared to hear about any possibility of letting me go at any price.
…And women all over the world shake their heads at his gullability.
Speaking of shaking one’s head… Harry Kewell has signed for Galatasaray and Anthony Le Tallec is finally off the books, having fucked off to Le Mans.
Funny I should mention ‘fucking off’ as there’s a nasty rumor from a nasty publication claiming that Rafa’s former #2, Pako Ayesteran, is a candidate to become Fergie’s new assistant at United.