- Torres looks likely to come to Anfield: Guardian (Sid Lowe!), BBC. I haven’t been this excited about a transfer since the last record-breaking acquisition. I realize that may not be the best comparison, nor does it warm the heart in the slightest bit, but in my defense, Houllier had been trailing Cisse for over 2 years, and the expectations surrounding him were off the charts. I have no doubts that Torres will be a different case, but more on that later, I’ve already put the cart too far in front of the horse. This had better go through. PS: My birthday is in just under 2 weeks; Torres is signed before then would be a more than suitable present.
I’m undoubtedly not thrilled to lose Garcia in the process, as I still firmly believe that Liverpool missed his presence greatly last season, but he hasn’t signed a new deal, he’s 29, and it seems as if he wants a return to Spain with his last big contract. These things happen in the business of sport. I sincerely wish him all the best at Atletico, as it looks like this part of the deal will go through, Torres or not.
I guess the Benayoun speculation, even though it's gone somewhat quiet, is as a replacement for Garcia, but I still see them as slightly different players. Yes, they both can fill a number of midfield positions, and have the nous to break the deadlock in a tough, tactical game. However, Benayoun’s not as much as a goal threat as Luis, and I haven’t seen him in the ‘super sub’ role Luis has filled excellently, but Yossi is a better passer and is marginally more consistent.
- Speaking of Cisse, it looks as if he’s finally been sold to Marseille. I’m not really bothered if it’s less than half of the original £14m, which it probably will be. That always looked likely to be the fee. It’s not another loan, he’s off the wage bill, and it’s an extra £6m or so that maybe wasn’t factored into the transfer budget.
In retrospect, it’s certainly a pity Djibril had the two leg breaks; had he not, we might have had a different outcome, but for my money, he was far too similar to Baros and not enough of a Benitez player. Head down, run as fast as possible, then blaze an awkward shot at goal. As we’ve seen, that works far better in Ligue 1 than the Premiership.
It is, however, worth noting that if a 22 year-old striker with his reputation came from the French league to the Premiership this summer, it’d be for a lot more than £14m.
- In the meantime, Darren Bent’s been ruled out, as he’s finally signed with Tottenham. Since the fee’s £16.5m (?!), that’s a huge relief. West Ham is playing with Monopoly money, and Spurs were more than happy to follow their lead. Also, the British market is absolutely berserk. I had thought we’d seen the pinnacle of this with the Carrick, Walcott, and Bale, but Bent’s fee blows those out of the water. I also highly doubt the majority of Spurs fans feel that a new striker was their top priority. Bent’s a better player than he’s being given credit for because of the outrageousness of the fee, but still. Defoe seems certain to be on his way out (and had better stay far, far away from Anfield), while I can't wait to see how Robbie Keane reacts to being part of a three-man partnership again.
- And finally, more Anfield youngsters: German striker Marvin Pourie, Swedish winger Alexander Kacaniklic, Spanish defender Mikel San Jose, and Bulgarian keeper Nikolay Mihaylov. Further continuation of Rafa’s youth revamp.
As to Mihaylov, this is from the first article I saw about the transfer:
He was hailed early in his career as a dead cert future national team goalkeeper, where he would follow in the footsteps of his father Borislav and grandfather Bisser.
But his poor performances in the last season made him a figure of ridicule among Levski fans, who accused his father, now head of the Bulgarian Football Union, of nepotism.
His worst moment in a Levski shirt came in a Champions League game against Werder, when he failed to control a back-pass from a defender and turned the ball into his own net, then letting in two more goals in the space of five minutes.
He ended the season as Levski's third-string goalkeeper after falling out with manager Stanimir Stoilov over his flashy lifestyle and was reported to have signed a deal with Italian Serie A club Fiorentina.
Seeing as that's from a Bulgarian news source, I reckon they think exceptionally highly of him.