17 July 2010

No Friendly, No More Insua

I was hoping to write about Liverpool's first friendly today. Lord knows I'd much rather "analyze" matters on the pitch. Ha.

Instead, after postponing and then canceling the game against Al-Hilal due to torrential rain in Austria, the official site announced that the rumored Insua to Fiorentina link is a done deal. When it rains, it pours...

I expected bad things to happen this summer. I still expect more. But I did not expect the sale of Emiliano Insua.

Don't get me wrong; "worse" things can happen. And, yes, I admittedly have more time for the player than most, having been firmly on the bandwagon since his debut against Pompey in April 2007. But this sale makes zero sense.

He is young, on comparably low wages, and would have counted as a homegrown player come next season. He was the only senior left back at the club. The deal will reap all of £4-5m, which will scarcely be enough to purchase any new left back, let alone keep "bigger names" at the club. This move is stupid and short-sighted any way you look at it.

More ominously, this came out exactly one week ago:
“I saw him play in the last three days and I like him both as a player and on a personal level,” Hodgson told Radio Blu in Florence.

“However, talks with Fiorentina started before I got here, so I don’t know how advanced they are.

“I cannot say if Insua will stay at Liverpool or not. I’ll have to discuss that with the club.”
Super. It's not proof, but it's yet another sign the bankers (read: Purslow) are running the club. I doubt Hodgson's seen enough in the past week to change his mind, and it's exceptionally strange Insua came along on the Swiss training camp. It also, again, begs the question of who's running the football side of the club, but, sadly, I don't think that question needs answering.

The only, only explanation I came come up with is that it's "senior sources" yet again. Insua was a scapegoat last season, even though he played more games than expected because of Aurelio's inability to stay fit and the sale of Dossena for working capital. I can't help but think that, like with Rafa, the media's doing Liverpool's business through Cecil. Picking off the players that Purslow thinks the fans will make the least fuss over, even if they're the young prospects the team should be built off of. Wonderful.

Despite last season's difficulties, Insua still had five Premiership assists, six in all competitions, which made him joint-third in the squad (Gerrard and Benayoun had more in all competitions; Gerrard and Aquilani had more in the league). Yes, he was beaten like a rented mule at times last season, but he thrown into the deep end with bricks tied to his ankles. His acceleration and pace on the turn are questionable, but otherwise, he's always an above-average attacking fullback and will only get better defensively. And he is 21 years old. Other than Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy, I'm struggling to come up with any left-backs who've been defensively solid or made the breakthrough in the Prem at that age.

I am so baffled and irate about this transfer. And I'm sure it won't be the last time before the end of August.


Ed said...

If I can speak freely, it's a fucking joke.

In the midst of him playing so much last season I forgot that he was 21 and essentially saved Liverpool's ass after Dossena busted and Aurelio couldn't get fit. He needed a spell during the late winter months (and who didn't), but he kept his head down and played his ass off.

To sell him at this point is absolutely baffling--two weeks away from a competitive match and Liverpool don't have a left back.

nate said...

Hey, thanks Ed, that brings up a good point I forgot to mention.

Liverpool has exactly 12 days to buy a left back in order to register him for the Europa League. I'm almost positive any sales after that date are ineligible until after the group stage.

It was already obvious that Liverpool was looking for a left back. Now clubs will try and hold them to ransom knowing this deadline.

Way to concede any negotiating leverage, Cecil. Seems like piss poor money management from a banker...

Mike Georger said...

I don't know if I'd prefer Agger or Taiwo right now, but I'm guessing those are the two options.

drew said...

Not worried about if we get a player registered, just who it will be. We'll likely pick up some left back from the Norwegian third divsion or something.

It increasingly feels like Liverpool FC has become Purslow's own private version of Football Manager. Ponder this: we are a poorly-run financial shambles by the standards of high-dollar football teams. The mind boggles.

Anonymous said...

But in his version of FM2010 it's all about asset stripping. Why on earth would any player be convinced to stay now? No left back with very few prospects with very little time. Insane. Really insane.

nate said...

Agger is a centerback, dammit. And as long as Marseille want £7-8m for Taiwo, Liverpool has as much chance of getting him as Evra.

But hey, by my count, Liverpool's made more than £18m profit since January 2010 (Out: Dossena, Voronin, Mihaylov, Benayoun, San Jose, Insua. In: Maxi, Shelvey, Jovanovic), so maybe we will get Evra!

Very rarely do I write something and wish I ranted more stridently in retrospect. There's a first time for everything, I guess. However, in anger, I did forget to wish Insua the best of luck. I kind of don't mean it, since I'm still very bitter he's been sold, but I eventually will.

Mike Georger said...

He's also the best passing centerback we have and from the current roster who is a better option? Don't want it to happen, but it may be what he has to do. Either way I refuse to believe they're so stupid that they don't realize there isn't a LB now. Though that's probably a ridiculous assumption to continue making.

I would prefer Agger over Pranjic though. Midfielder who couldn't get in at midfield then kept out of the side at left back by a twenty year old and nineteen year old. Fuck no.

Anonymous said...

It's so much bigger than just a LB. I don't think Insua was a great prospect by any means - mentally he was lazy and he wasn't particularly impressive at either end of the pitch. He wouldn't be first or 2nd choice on any top team. However, he is a decent back up for our current mid-tier squad and given the fact that we no longer have a back up, it was extremely reasonable to have him stay on.

But who cares about all that - we have people with NO football experience making transfers and setting our first team. It's just another sign of the imminent implosion.


nate said...

We may disagree about Insua, JP, but you're absolutely right on the larger point.

As much as I try to keep the bigger picture in mind, I tend to focus on the football aspects even though they're fairly irrelevant at this point.

I wish I could just write about the football, but the four horsemen of the apocalypse have made that impossible.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, rearranging the deck chairs etc. Hard to not talk about the owners. So much rot.

I was looking forward to the match today because the offseason has been awful to sit through. Nothing like football to make things bearable. But a terrible start for Hodgson - he looks like a big time sucker right now and his quote about Purslow is downright frightening. I didn't pick him to be the patsy type, but as things stand right now that's exactly what he sounds like. How do you let someone sell your only left back with 10 days before registration?

This is a really, really scary development. A small percent of me thinks that some sort of plan must be in place because right now things are absolutely haywire.


Noel said...

Football's the accessible point, though; it's something that as fans and supporters one feels a connection to as armchair manager. A part of me says, well, of course it's about more than the footballing side of it, but that aspect to it--that a man brought in to drum up investment and take care of the financials who largely failed at that and has no footballing knowledge is now the de facto general manager of the club making management and player decisions apparently based on the whims of the English press who write their stores based on the lines he feeds them as an anonymous senior source and meanwhile he's lying through his teeth saying things about how players won't be shipped out without the input of the new coach/manager who is now making as many noises as he can to let the world know he doesn't get a say in who's coming or going on the squad and... so forth in a continuingly stream of thought manner....

That aspect of it's not especially easy to get a handle on. It's foreign to the sports fan's usual experience. And it's bleak as fuck, really. In continuing news, Hicks and Gillet and Boughton and Purslow continued to fuck us over, a large portion of the support still doesn't really seem to see a problem, the media on the whole still doesn't seem to see a problem, and while sponsorship and TV dollars are there they probably don't give a damn about any cute little rants and protests and petitions. Meanwhile, ranting about the stupidity of selling an English trained Left Back and the only one on the squad for around £4M when any quality replacement would cost more than that and still need a back up in any case, and that even if you're one of those who believes that at 21 years old Insua was a failed experiment as a top line starter (though given how few genuine quality fullbacks you see before the age of 24-25 I don't tend to buy this) it should be obvious that it's a daft footballing move, is a rant that's much easier to feel a bit of passion for rather than complete despair.

I get wanting to re-arrange deck chairs on the Titanic. Mostly because I've very rarely in the past felt so much desire to re-arrange the deck chairs. And anybody out here swapping things around who doesn't have as a given starting point that the captain and his mates should be shot will get tossed into the water post haste. Though perhaps I'm stretching the metaphor too far.

Matty said...

I remember when we used to have 3 left backs at the club...wasn't that long ago either. Surely they'll have to sign SOMEBODY for left back now. If we got Taiwo I'd feel a bit better about this whole thing. He's class and still has a lot ahead of him at 25. What are your thoughts on him Nate?

nate said...

Taiwo's a tidy player; I was impressed with him when Liverpool played Marseille, especially in the November 2008 game. But, as said above, Marseille's been so vehement about him not being for sale that I'd be stunned if he came. Even if OM does decide to sell, which doesn't look likely, I'd assume he's out of Liverpool's price range.

Matty said...

Thanks Nate. At least it's encouraging to see some kind of positive movement in the transfer market for us. Hopefully now Roy & Co. will focus on some of those gaping holes in our squad. But still, it's kind of hard to complain about snatching up Joe from under 'arry's nose.