28 January 2011

I Still Hate Transfer Windows

Only at Liverpool could a day where a fee for Luis Suarez is agreed first be dominated by news of Fernando Torres' possible exit. The last remnant of the Hicks and Gillett era is the perpetual expectation that only bad things are going to happen. It's going to take more than a few months where we've seen the return of the King and slightly improved results to wash away the preeminent feeling of paranoia.

Overnight news that Chelsea bid somewhere between £35-60m for Fernando Torres raised alarms, but was quickly refuted by the club and generally assumed to be a desperation throw of the dice. However, reports this morning that Torres wanted Liverpool to negotiate sent the Internet into an absolute frenzy. Thankfully, that's hit the back burner in the last hour. As the highly-respected Roy Hodgson said a few months back, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I doubt this story's dead by any means, but January should be a non-starter because of the club's situation. As with Charlie Adam and Blackpool, there's no fee that'd replace the player's value at the moment. My sneaking suspicion is to get ready for another summer filled with rumor and innuendo much like the last.

Some have cheekily suggested that the rumors from Torres' camp were delivered to push FSG into making today's signing, after transfer talk had ebbed and flowed for more than a week. If that's the case, it's a frightening sign of player power. I'm not so convinced the two are linked, but still love a good conspiracy now and then.

Whether the fee for Suarez is €25m – as reported by De Telegraaf – or Suarez and Liverpool reach the incentives to push it up to €26.5m, it's still the club's record signing. It's not the €30m that Ajax initially wanted, but a substantial sum nonetheless. It's also a statement of intent from the new owners: they haven't given up on this season and will open the purse-strings when needed. Suarez certainly isn't Carlton Cole or Charles N'Zogbia. That FSG took their sweet time over firing Hodgson and completing this deal demonstrates the group's deliberation. Deliberation isn't what the fans want and can backfire, but it's often a smart way to do business.

A 24-year-old support striker with 110 goals in 154 appearances at Ajax (49 goals in all competitions last season), Suarez will probably play alongside Torres, replacing Maxi or Kuyt, in Liverpool's current 4-3-3 variant. Of course, that a goal-scoring record in the Eredivisie doesn't always translate to the Premier League (yes, I'm aware Kuyt scored 83 in 122 games for Feyenoord) will be incessantly mentioned.

Forlan rightfully took the plaudits for Uruguay's World Cup performance, but Suarez's contribution can't be understated, and not just for his genius handball. Uruguay's formation varied, but it was most often a 4-3-1-2 with Suarez and Cavani up front and Forlan in the hole. Liverpool Offside have the required YouTube clips; he's good with the ball at his feet and is quick – two attributes currently lacking in the squad – but his versatility is the attribute I'm most excited about. Unfortunately, I wrote similar about Ryan Babel. As with all signings, they must be given time to settle – the failure to do so with Aquilani is a very recent warning.

Despite having last rites performed thanks to Hicks and Gillett, despite a season-long struggle that's seen Liverpool's recent rise to seventh cause for celebration, this deal is a sign that Liverpool can still attract big-name players. Suarez has the potential to improve Liverpool immensely. And hopefully, it'll help convince current players that Liverpool will be back where they belong sooner rather than later.

23 comments:

San said...

Dude, what's wrong with N'Zogbia? You've mentioned him a couple of times in connection with Cole. I would LOVE to have him here, since he's one of the few left-footed, pacy and tricky wide players available. Of realistic targets, he's number 2 on my wishlist after Suarez, actually.

nate said...

I keep being a jerk about N'Zogbia because I'm seemingly in the minority and I don't understand what people see in him.

He's a good dribber, quick, and can play LB in a pitch, but he's also dispossessed more than any player in the league, has little game intelligence, and there are rumors he's a pain in the ass behind the scenes (which wouldn't surprise me given the way he plays). Liverpool could do worse, but he's not a player I enjoy watching.

Son of Anonymous said...

Don't really know a lot about Suarez - he's young, got lots of talent, and played with a lot of heart in the WC, but he's the proverbial unknown quantity in the PL, and may need time to settle at a time when the club's got a lost half-season to make up for. Got faith in Kenny to get the best out of him though.

What the squad needs more than anything now is an in-form and hungry Torres, and this Chelsea bid is making me nervous as shit. Who could blame him for leaving for Champions League football? He could be 29 or 30 years old before Liverpool make it back in. No doubt 40-50 million pounds would come in handy to sign a few players. If it was Spurs or City I wouldn't be as bothered, but fuckin Chelsea?

Matt said...

Suarez has the makings of a Prem superstar and if LFC continue the pass and play tactics he will be guns blazin' out the gate.

Raatzie said...

Did nothing at the World Cup,
Torres, Torres,

His hamstring’s always acting up, Torres, Torres,

His wallet proved he was a Blue,

Won’t win there either, he has no clue,

Fernando Torres, charlatan number 9.

guntherfurlong said...

saddened to know Torres wants to leave the minute we signed Suarez

U cannot blame the lad but I'd rather see him back in spain rather than another English club. He'd be much less of a traitor if he goes back to spain.

A few days left in the window to complete a move?

When does his contract expire? I heard end of this season. Which makes it even worse as he may not sign a new contract and will go very cheaply!

Mike Georger said...

Raatzie, brilliant. Fucking brilliant.

Anonymous said...

A move to Spain doesn't look likely as Barca don't have the money and he could never move to Real Madrid because of Atletico. No one else in Spain has the money. Mind you Barca could David Villa or Iniesta or Xavi or Messi to raise cash but somehow I don't see any of those guys going anywhere.

Mike Georger said...

"he could never move to Real Madrid because of Atletico"

Honestly I think we have to throw that out the window at this point. We know absolutely nothing about this alleged man and his alleged loyalties. Honestly at this point I think the ideal situation for us is he goes to Madrid. Shows how big a knobjob he is.

Don't Barca have all that new sponsorship money or has it not kicked in yet?

neelannair said...

What is it with the club and official statements. Very open...
http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/latest-news/lfc-reject-torres-transfer-request

I think now that this is public domain, he's definitely moving come the summer unless he blows away the competition in the next couple of months,

max said...

If we sell him for 50 and can turn that around to get deeper, younger, and more talented, it's not the worst thing.

But I think this goes to show you can't trust anyone with middle earthen elvish tattooed on his body.

nate said...

"If we sell him for 50 and can turn that around to get deeper, younger, and more talented, it's not the worst thing."

It'd be one thing if he put in this request at the start of the month to give Liverpool time to spend that money on a replacement and other additions, but doing it with less than 3 days in the window is a major dick move.

I wonder if Torres thought he was doing Liverpool 'a favor' by waiting until Suarez signed, but that's backfired completely.

And even though this season's already a wash, with Europa League qualification probably the best LFC can hope for, Torres can't be sold now with the expectation of spending that money in the summer. Too crucial, even after having his head turned. Liverpool can't rely on a front line of Suarez, Ngog, and Kuyt even with the current diminished expectations, especially with Suarez ineligible for the EL (not 100% on this; Ajax were in the CL, but because they've dropped down to the EL I think Suarez can't feature for LFC, even though he hasn't played for Ajax in this competition).

We're probably past the point of no return, but Torres has to wait until the summer now. Even if it costs Liverpool a big wedge of money in transfer fee.

@Raatzie:

Nice effort. On quick scan, the "either" in the fourth line messes up the rhyming scheme. Otherwise, as Georger said, quite brilliant.

T said...

Someone please please explain to me what Torres has accomplished by stating he wants out three days before the transfer window, and the January transfer window no less. What's the point? Why would he do this? Why not just wait till the summer? He knows he won't leave now, he can't. Then why create such unrest in the minds of so many loyal fans. And how irritated must Kenny and the team be with him for this? I just dont understand his motivations.

T said...

oh, and, here's another question for anyone who can answer: even if nando was a big enough asshole to do this, why did lfc have to officially confirm? they could have jst kept it to themselves till the end of the season, no? especially if they're so sure they aren't selling him for less than the 50 mill buy out amount. what's the point of just harrowing the fans at this point? in the middle of our worst season in forever?

Robert said...

For all of those ready to turn Torres from a saint into the devil, I will ask this: Why should Torres be loyal to an entity that has not been loyal to him?

It seems pretty obvious that, when Torres signed, it was under the assumption, if not explicit promise, that Liverpool would be a club that would position itself to compete for the highest trophies – chiefly the Premier League and Champions League.

Not only has Liverpool fallen short of those targets, they have been a complete train wreck for the last couple of years. The squad has gotten progressively worse. The ownership has been a joke until recently. The squad has been super thin with Gerrard’s and Torres’s performances papering over some pretty huge cracks in talent.

From Torres’s perspective, he is wasting the prime of his career trying to pull along a below-average side that has a long, long way to go before becoming one of Europe’s elite again. Four other Spanish-speaking players have made similar decisions – Alonso, Arbeloa, Mascherano, and Riera. Benayoun (while not a Spanish speaker) chose the same path as Torres. So obviously Torres is not the only one to make this decision.

Plus, Torres’s injuries have spiraled out of control since coming to Liverpool. I would argue that Liverpool’s thin squad has put pressure on Torres to come back from injury sooner that he would have otherwise.

So while I am not happy that Liverpool is about to lose Torres, I really can’t blame him for making this decision. I just hope Gerrard and Reina do not make similar decisions this summer.

Jason said...

Although it's awful for this to come up at the end of the transfer window rather than say... in the summer... For 50 million, I'd stick a bow on Torres and ship him off to Chelsea in a second.

This is the most we're ever going to get for him. This is stupid money, a desperation move by Chelsea that we can really take advantage of. I thin we discussed this before, but Torres is one more injury stint from being a guy no one would offer huge money for. In fact, I'm not sure there's another club in the world that offer within 15 million of what Chelsea is.

It would be great to wait until the summer to do this so the club could go spend that 50 mil... but if Chelsea is desperate enough to splash crazy money right now then I think you gotta pull the trigger.

nate said...

@Robert

I understand all those things. And if Liverpool can extort £50m or more (preferably more), it's probably a fair deal. It's the way he made the decision. So late in the transfer window, and asking to be sold to soulless Chelsea.

If he waits until the summer, he'd leave if not with fans' blessing, their understanding. If he asks for a transfer at the beginning of the window, Liverpool has time to find the best replacement and more strength at the bargaining table. And by wanting to join the aging mercenaries at Chelsea after all the things he's said about bonding with the fans and Anfield, it's doubly distasteful. If the deal goes through, Liverpool will have to play him twice a year. It'd be much less painful if he were going abroad.

Not to mention that Chelsea aren't that much better of a chance for trophies. Nearly out of the league race this year, not super odds in the CL, and currently in a fight to be in the CL next year. Is playing for Liverpool so bad he's willing to piss on any legacy by chasing the first half-decent suitor?

And, while I doubt it'll push Gerrard out, I do worry about Reina. He's the most irreplaceable.

Anonymous said...

Fucking a. I dont even like Anelka.

Robert said...

Nate - Good counterpoints.

Anonymous said...

we bid 0 mill for Carroll????!!!
wasn't berbatov worth that much?
this is nuts.

Anonymous said...

*30 mill

Anonymous said...

It's official. Torres is a mere history and Carroll is the future. Of course not forgetting Suarez.

Anonymous said...

can someone tell me about these new people and why they deserve so much money?