I don’t want to appear to be counting chickens before they’re hatched, and hopefully I’ll have more to write about this early next week, but I wanted to say one thing upfront. Georger said similar in the comments last night, but I want to expound on it as well.
If it comes down to Robbie Keane or Gareth Barry, I’m taking the somersaulting Irishman (worst celebration ever) every time. And yes, I mean that after everything I’ve written this summer, whether it was about Barry or Liverpool sticking with the 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Barry deal was always contingent on shipping Alonso out. And I’ve never been sold on that front.
I’ve written multiple times that if Benitez prefers Barry to Alonso, I’m okay with Xabi being sold. But that’s not the same as advocating it. Every time I wrote about Xabi v Barry, whether in the comments or on the main page, I’ve tempered it by writing how much I enjoy Alonso both as a player and a professional. And I believe every word of it. I will lose zero sleep if Liverpool miss out on Barry and are “forced” to stick with Xabi.
Even if Barry would be better for Liverpool in the league, it’s not a huge upgrade over Alonso, especially not if Liverpool’s paying £18m for it. But Keane would be more a potent striker than Crouch, Voronin or Kuyt. Even if that meant Liverpool played more of a 4-3-3, 4-1-3-2, or even a 4-4-2 instead of the 4-2-3-1 I’ve come to love.
Plus Keane would count towards a player quota by UEFA’s standard. I don’t know how much weight I put to the rumors suggesting Liverpool wants Barry because of his nationality (as Benitez also appears to want to sell Pennant, Carson and Finnan, all of whom meet the same standard), but I’ve seen it written.
£18m or so is a lot, especially considering the budget Liverpool looks to be working with, but I’d rather see it put toward a 28-year-old striker who we know can score goals in England than a 27-year-old central midfielder. Now let’s see the deal done.