Update (5:15pm): So in my rush to get this up before all eyes were on tomorrow's match, I may have jumped the gun a bit. Wouldn't be the first time, probably won't be the last. The most recent news is that Young traveled with Villa to Portugal after initially failing to agree terms. The Telegraph's Rory Smith posted similar on Twitter soon after. The move may still go through, or it may not. Small wonder he might not want to come to Liverpool to sit on the bench for less money. Either way, I won't delete this post as a reminder that summer makes me batshit insane. However, if it does collapse, I'll probably strike through the whole thing for thoroughness' sake. Except the part about Degen being garroted. I expect that to happen regardless.
I hate to bump the preview off the top, but the signing of Luke Young is just about official, and while I'm not obviously not overwhelmed, I reckon I should still chime in with a few ifs and buts while they're timely.
I'm desperately hoping he's the new Arbeloa – a versatile bench player, primarily the deputy right-back with an ability to fill in on the left if needed. Even considering the rumored £2.5m fee, he's a better option than Degen, who'll probably be surreptitiously strangled and dumped in the alley out back if Liverpool can't find some sucker to pay money for him.
Yes, he's the fourth right back on the books if we count Kelly and Darby in addition to Johnson (we're not counting Degen anymore), and it only feeds into the lingering suspicion that, like at Fulham, Hodgson doesn't trust youth. Liverpool still has no starting left back, but I still expect one will be bought once Insua agrees terms with Fiorentina. In an ideal world, Insua won't agree terms, and Liverpool will still buy Figueroa or someone similar, but we've long left any semblance of an ideal world. Maybe Hodgson simply thinks Darby's not good enough and Kelly should be a center-back. It's all speculation for now.
I will say this. If Young's supposed to be the first choice left-back or, god forbid, a replacement for Glen Johnson if the Inter rumors come to fruition now that Maicon looks likely to go to Real (sorry for even mentioning, but the crazy person that lives in my head won't shut up), all bets are absolutely off. Death, violence, destruction, murderous rampage, etc. But let's wait to see if that shoe drops before baying for blood.
Yes, he's 31 years old. Yes, he couldn't get into Aston Villa's team last year, and it's more than odd to see O'Neill willingly sell a player to Liverpool, let alone an English one. But he's a homegrown, experienced addition to help fill out a very thin squad. He's a player Hodgson's been tracking since Fulham (make of that what you will). I can't imagine his wages will be prohibitive. We can whine about 'lack of ambition' all we want – and I probably will – but a squad player is a squad player is a squad player. And on the face of it, Luke Young isn't the worst option to have in the squad. We all know money is tight, to say the least.
But even considering the deal in the best light possible, there are a lot of "ifs" involved. Good luck, Luke. You're gonna need it.