28 July 2008

Robbie Keane signs for 4 years

See, every now and then, Liverpool can actually complete transfers at something other than a snail's pace.

After posting about Robbie Keane on Saturday, I certainly didn't expect the deal to be finalized by Monday afternoon. Even as late as this morning, the Liverpool Echo was reporting that the medical would take place today, with an announcement no earlier than tomorrow.

So much for that. The fee is £19m, with the potential to rise up to £20.3m (which is a minimum of £12m more than Spurs paid for him). It's Liverpool's second-highest transfer fee ever. And Spurs are incensed, claiming that this is “an enforced sale.” The story on Tottenham’s official site is incredibly hilarious; I’d link it, but Tottenham’s web site seems to be down. I wonder why.

And you know what, the pace of the transfer is refreshing. Like with Babel last year, Rick Parry can get his finger out his ass to get some work done once in a while. Although, unlike with Babel, we'd heard rumors of this deal for a few weeks. But in comparison to Gareth Barry, who I first wrote about in May, this deal actually was completed (and I'm willing to bet good money that Barry isn't coming to Liverpool this summer).

Now, as I implied in the earlier post, I expect this transfer to alter Liverpool's tactics. For all intents and purposes, Keane is replacing Crouch, although the players have very different styles. But the addition of Keane should force a move away from the 4-2-3-1, as I don't expect him to play in Gerrard's role or in a wide position (at least, in a wide position like Kuyt does).

So let's take a look at the possibilities.

Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Kuyt Gerrard Mascherano Babel
Keane Torres


Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Gerrard Mascherano Alonso Babel
Keane Torres

Skrtel Carragher Agger
Arbeloa Mascherano Gerrard Alonso Aurelio
Keane Torres

Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Gerrard Mascherano Alonso
Keane Torres Babel

Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Kuyt Gerrard Babel
Keane Torres

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know which formation would be best, or even which Benitez is leaning toward. But if it were up to me, the 4-1-3-2 looks the strongest.

Notice how rarely I include Alonso, Skrtel and Kuyt, and how I didn't mention Degen, Dossena, Lucas or Voronin at all. It'll be interesting to see how Benitez rotates, and exactly what formation he sticks with.

A big complaint last season was that Benitez didn't know his best team until he settled with the 4-2-3-1 in February. Although I don't know if I fully subscribe to that theory, if Liverpool is going to improve on last season's performance, and finally compete as we hope they can, that cannot be the case this season. The team certainly needs to be more stable.

So this takes summer spending up to around £32m, with Keane, Dossena, Degen, Ngog and Cavalieri signed. About £20m has been recouped through the sales of Crouch, Riise, Guthrie and Carson with more likely to come.

We're getting to the point where I don't see the need to add any more "big-name" players to the line-up. Liverpool has a big enough squad, and they may well have a strong enough squad. Look at the players, both established and young, that I left out of those guessed line-ups. Now we need to learn which formation is most effective and stick with it, so Liverpool doesn't waste half a season figuring out what's the strongest line-up.


Mike Georger said...

i was trying to think of the last time we went out and took one of the leagues best players, i cant think of any in recent history. for the longest time if we wanted 'elite' talent we had to go out of the league. the way i see this, this is the kind of transfer that united have been able to make the past fifteen years.

PapBoubDiop said...

what about BENAYOUN - more creative offensively than pennant or kuyt

Mike Georger said...

i think yossi is going to be a super sub this season. hes the kind of guy that will come in when we are tied with bolton or fulham and score with twenty minutes left. also a great cup player

Ace Cowboy said...

I feel like there are gonna be at least two supersubs per match at this point. Man, this is by far the best the club has looked on paper in YEARS. Signing of the summer, even if it was an inflated price tag for a 28-year-old. Great move.

nate said...

Yeah, I think Yossi will mainly play as a sub too, but I still can't believe I forgot to mention him.

And it looks like Keane's gonna get the #7. There's some extra motivation for a boyhood Liverpool fan...

Abhiram said...

Awesome post! But i would prefer Skrtel in the line-up just for his awesome entry into EPL last season. My change would probably be Carragher as RB and Skrtel replacing him as CB. When there is need for attack Degen and Dossena can replace Aurelio and Agger/Skrtel depending on the fitness level. I would also like to mention that Bennayoun and Alonso should be used wisely and they will give suprelative attacking stability to the team when subbed for the right people. One good winger and we are ready to roll. I feel we will mount a serious challenge this time. YNWA

Mike Georger said...

did you not get to catch the game today?

few thoughts

- dossena is getting accustomed to the team it seems. getting fit and his crossing is excellent (that cross he whipped in at 15 minutes is the best cross ive seen from a left back on this team in years). the goaline clearance he made was the stuff of legends, how the hell did he get to that?

- pennant, garbage

- xabi, definitely seems to have carried his form over from spain. anyone else think he looks a little thinner?

- same for agger, definitely looks like he is in better shape than he was last year (not that he was in bad shape, just seems he has trimmed down)

- clear that the torres/keane partnership is going to click well. there were several nice one twos.

- yossi, theres a strong argument to be made that he should be a starter on this team on the left of midfield. especially considering babel is going to be in china. dudes little but again, probably the most underrated player, brilliantly creative.

- impressed with the new kids and such, ngog looked to have settled down, and that goal was beautiful. he really is very tall and if he works on his control he could be a force

one final thought, as degen is out hurt (ugh) and arbeloa is ... arbeloa, i would not be shocked at all if darby is a frequent benchwarmer this season

soccer said...

I would love to see Yossi play as a sub, it would definately hit the board.

footballs said...

dossena is getting accustomed so I would favour him for the spot.

soccer passion said...

no, I would rather favour Keane for the place.