With the ink drying on the Paul Konchesky transfer from Fulham yesterday, the paperwork still hot from the Raul Meireles deal this afternoon and the betting odds on Sky Bet going to 2/1 for Mahamadou Diarra to join before the transfer window ends on Tuesday at 6:00pm BST, is Liverpool set in replacing the void left by Javier Mascherano’s departure to FC Barcelona? Let’s look at each player, and what they bring to Liverpool.
Paul Konchesky is a cheap pickup for Liverpool at around £4 million. He’s an average left-back with plenty of experience in the Premier League having over 150 appearances for Tottenham, West Ham and his current squad Fulham. This pickup would seem to make Konchesky as a substitute and not so much of a starter; I could see him however playing in the Europa League group stage. Ever since the Insua transfer fell apart and his return to the club, the priority has not been getting a replacement of that caliber. Konchesky is a good pickup, nonetheless.
It is clear that the pickup of Meireles so quickly after the departure of Mascherano to Barcelona is a direct move to fill the void left by the transfer. However, Roy Hodgson needs to realize one major difference between the two players—they each have a different playing style. Mascherano attacks the ball and moves forward with it. Meireles, with Porto and with the Portuguese national team, plays more of a passing style game. He tries to shoot for precise passes to make opportunities arise, and can go through the game relatively unnoticed. If Hodgson tries to make Meireles play in the same form as Mascherano this acquisition will be a failure. At around half the price of the transfer money Liverpool got from the Mascherano deal, the Meireles acquisition seems to be a winner, if the cards are played right.
While it is not set in stone yet, it is looking likely that Liverpool may grab Mahamadou Diarra from Real Madrid within the next 48 to 72 hours. Another defensive midfielder, it seems like Diarra could be a backup to Meireles. Madrid seems to want to offload Diarra before his contract is up at the end of this season in order to get a transfer fee for him, and Liverpool is in a position to get an above average defensive midfielder to be a backup to the newly acquired Meireles. It is an unknown at this point how much playing time Diarra may get as a part of the first squad at Liverpool; however, depending on the transfer fee, he seems to be a solid acquisition to be a backup at defensive midfield.
There are a lot of things that can happen between now and the close of the transfer window on Tuesday, so Liverpool may pull another trick out of its bags and sign other important assets to the team. The transfer of Mascherano has opened up some needed money, and with Meireles and Konchesky costing a total of about £15 million, there is enough money to make one or two more major acquisitions.
On a semi-related side note, my brother and his friends have started a blog that looks at the relationship between sports and business. As a finance student myself, I will be posting here on EOTK and there about Liverpool finances and hopefully be able to analyze their statements and financial health (maybe in a few parts). Their website is thesportstomato.com.