Players signed by Rafael Benitez

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In order to try and dispell a few media fuelled myths that sections of our fanbase seem to have swollowed; here’s the full list of players he’s signed since he’s been at the club (please read the summary below):


£2m – Josemi: peanuts and was moved on in a swap for Kromkamp 18 months later
£1.5m – Antonio Nunez: part of the Michael Owen deal and filled a gap for a while. Peanuts.
£10.7m – Xabi Alonso: Massive success and sold for £30m+ in the summer when he wanted to leave
£6m – Luis Garcia: Massive success and sold to Athletico Madrid for £4m
Free – Pelligrino: Stop gap that allowed us to rest Sami for league games, benefitting us massively in Istanbul. Now on the coaching staff.
£6.3m – Fernando Morientes: Pretty much everyone made up when we signed him, top class, but never settled. Sold for £3m to Valencia.
£1m – Scott Carson: One the most highly rated young keepers around. Lost out through injury and signing of Reina when Dudek left the club. Sold for £3.25m.

Total bought: £27.5m

Free – Marcus Babbel: Released to Stuttgart at the end of his career.
£2.5m – Danny Murphy: Xabi Alonso signed to fill the role Murphy had in the side
£8.5m – Michael Owen: Wouldn’t sign a new contract and sold before he left on a free. He’s done nothing since that is a masterstroke with hindsight.
Free – Stephane Henchoz: Released to Celtic at the end of his career

Total sold: £11m

A total of £16.5m net spend in his first year at the club, with the vast majority of that being spent on Xabi Alonso.

2004/05 net spend: £16.5m


£240,000 – Antonio Barragan: Kid for the future. Sold for £675,000 to Deportivo a year later.
Free – Boudewijn Zenden: Signed for nothing and released for nothing. Did a job for us.
£6m – Pepe Reina: In the top 3 or 4 keepers in the world now and still young. One of Rafa’s best signings.
£5.6m – Momo Sissoko: Brilliant for a few years, had that eye injury and sold to Juventus when his form dipped for £8.2m. Replaced by Mascherano.
£7m – Peter Crouch: One signing I did question but proved to be a great bit of business. Turned him from a laughing stock into an international. Sold for £11m.
Unkown – Miki Roque: Kid bought for peanuts. Sold again for an unknown amount.
£150,000 – Jack Hobbs: Highly rated 16yr old signed from Lincoln. Didn’t progress as hoped and sold to Leicester for a reported £1.5m, although figure not confirmed.
£190,000 Besian Idrizaj: No idea who he is
£1.5m – Mark Gonzales: Cheap player to provide back up for the left wing. Sold for £3.5m to Real Betis.
Exchange – Paul Anderson: Swapped for John Welsh. Sold for £250,000.
Exchange – Jan Kromkamp: Swapped for Josemi. Later sold for £1.75m
£5.8m – Daniel Agger: Blighted by injuries but potentially top class and great signing for the money.
£250,000 – David Martin: Young reserve keeper
Free – Robbie Fowler: Pay as you play deal and no risk involved. Scored a few goals. Released in the summer.

Total bought: £26.73

Free – Vladimir Smicer: Out of contract and released. Played a small part in Istanbul.
£3.5m – El Hadji Diouf: The best £3.5m Rafa has ever recieved.
Free – Pellegrino: Filled the gap in the last 5 months of the previous season, not good enough and released.
£2m – Alou Diarra: Sold for £2m. One of Houllier’s buys.
£2m – Antonio Nunez: Bought for £1.5m and now sold for £2m when didn’t work out.
£6.5m – Milan Baros: A Houllier signing sold at a profit. He’s done nothing since.
Exchange – John Welsh: Swapped for Paul Anderson
Exchange – Josemi: Swapped for Kronkamp.

Total sold: £14m

2005/06 net spend: £12.73m

£6m – Craig Bellamy: Good signing and later sold for £7.5m to fund Torres deal.
£2m – Gabriel Palletta: Played a few league cup games, not good enough and sold for £1.2m
Free – Fabio Aurelio: Very injury prone but a good player when fit. Great signing for nothing.
£6.7m – Jermaine Pennant: Second choice after missing out on Alves. Ran his contract down and released. Attitude stank.
£9m – Dirk Kuyt: Has his critics, but has been brilliant for the money. 15 goals last season from wide and vital to the way we play. Ultimate pro. Great signing.
£200,000 – Nabil El Zhar: Few cameos last season and improving. Injured now. Promising still. Peanuts.
£750,000 – Astrit Ajdarevic: No idea who he is, and released on a free to Leicester.
Loan – Daniele Padelli: Reserve keeper, made one appearance and never seen again.
Undisclosed – Jordy Brouwer: Young reserve.
£2.5m – Alvaro Arbeloa: Bargain signing, great service for a few years and sold for £3.5m when running his contract down.
Loan – Javier Mascherano: Rescued from West Ham, now one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and will probably be sold to Barca this summer for a massive profit. Paid £18.6m for him a year later at end of loan deal.

Total bought: £27.15m

£200,000 – Zak Whitbread: Youngster
Undisclosed – Bruno Cheyrou: Houllier flopped, sold for a reported £1.5m.
£3m – Fernando Morientes: Didn’t work out. Cut his losses.
Free – Didi Hamann: Great servant, released at the end of his career
£675,000 – Antonio Barragan: Paid £240,000 for him.
£2m – Djimi Traore: Houllier signing and daylight robbery getting £2m for him
£500,000 – Neil Mellor: Signed as a kid and did a job for a while. Not good enough and released.
£1.75m – Jan Kromkamp: Nunez bought for £2m, swapped for him, who then sold for £1.75m. Stop gaps at minimal expense.
£525,000 – Darren Potter: Acadamy lad, not good enough and robbery getting that much for him.
£1.5m – Steven Warnock: Probably sold to cheap and looks a mistake with hindsight. Good squad player.
Free – Salif Diao: The clearout of Houllier’s flops continues.

Total sold: £10.15m

2006/07 net spend: £17m


£5m – Lucas Leiva: Brazilian player of the year when signed. Could still go either way but a lot to prove.
Undisclosed – Krisztian Nemeth: Promising youngster currently out on loan in Athens.
£270,000 – Mikel San Jose Dominguez: Youngester plays in the reserves.
£1.8m – Sebastian Leto: Left winger signing but refused a work permit. Sold for £3m.
£20.2m – Fernando Torres: Bargain of the century
Free – Andriy Voronin: Free transfer to strengthen the squad. Plays well in Germany, garbage over here.
£5m – Yossi Benayoun: Took a while to settle but now a key player. Superb signing and an absolute bargain.
£11.5m – Ryan Babel: Highly rated dutch international. Absolute waste of space. Bad signing on reflection, but nobody knew how he’d turn out. Still got potential but he can’t be arsed.
Undisclosed – Charles Itandje: Back up keeper signed for peanuts. Now released.
£1.3m – Emiliano Insua: Youngster who is now a full Argentinian international and massive potential. Bargain.
£6.5m – Martin Skrtel: Been off form this season so far, but brilliant last year and a good signing for the money.
£18.6m – Javier Mascherano: Completion of loan deal

Total bought: £70.7m

£2.7m – Florent Simana-Pongolle: Houllier youngster sold wanting first team football.
£100,000 – Daniel O’Donnell: Kid sold
Free – Jerzy Dudek: Released at end of contract
Free – Zenden: Released at end of contract
Free – Robbie Fowler: Released at end of contract
£4m – Luis Garcia: Wanted to return to Spain. Great service.
£6m – Djibril Cisse: Houllier signing sold to part fund Torres deal.
£7.5m – Craig Bellamy: Sold at profit to part fund Torres deal
£3.5m – Mark Gonzales: Signed for £1.5m and sold when didn’t work out.
£1.2m – Gabriel Palletta: Bought for £2m but never worked out. Young defender.
£3.5m – Chris Kirkland: Houllier signing. Injury prone and wanted first team football.
£8.2m – Momo Sissoko: Great signing, good service, sold when lost his form at a profit.

Total sold: £36.7m

2007/08 net spend: £34m


Free – Philip Degen: Garbage, but free.
£7m – Andrea Dossena: Italian international left back. Hasn’t settled. Bad signing.
£3.5m – Diego Cavalieri: Reserve keeper. Only played league cup games so far.
£1.5m – David N’gog: Young French striker. Promising.
£19m – Robbie Keane: Everyone made up when we signed him. Didn’t work out and sold back to Spurs for £16m.
£8m – Albert Riera: Spanish international. Started well but jury still out.

Total bought: £39m

£4m – John Arne Riise: Good servant but form tailed off. Snapped their hands off at £4m.
Free – Harry Kewell: Harry who?
Undisclosed – Anthony Le Tallec: Houllier youngster finally released. Fee not known.
£11m – Peter Crouch: Laughing stock bought for £7m. Great signing. Wanted first team football.
£2.25m – Danny Guthrie: Youngster from Acadamy thought not good enough.
£3.25m – Scott Carson: Injury prone and Reina now first choice. Sold at profit.
Undisclosed – Steve Finnan: Sold for a fee believed to be £1m
£16m – Robbie Keane: Didn’t work out.
Undisclosed – Jack Hobbs: Young defender that didn’t progress. Sold for believed to £1.5m.

Total sold: £36.5m

2008/09 net spend: £2.5m


£17.5m – Glen Johnson: Big fee, but has been brilliant so far.
£17.1m – Alberto Aquilani: Injured so far but meant to be a class act. Highly rated in Italy.
£2m – Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Last minute signing to fill Hyypia’s shoes. Only money we had to spend.
£160,000 – Daniel Ayala: Young defender, played a few times this season and looked promising.

Total bought: £36.76m

£250,000 – Paul Anderson: Youngster that didn’t progess.
Free – Jermaine Pennant: Out of contract. Poor signing.
Free – Miki Roque: No idea who he is. Bought for peanuts.
£3m – Sebastian Leto: Signed for £1.8m but didn’t get a work permit. Had to sell.
£3.5m – Alvaro Arbeloa: Wanted to leave and out of contract in the summer.
£30m – Xabi Alonso: Wanted to leave. Bought for £10.7m. Great signing.

Total sold: £36.75m

2009/10 net spend: £10,000

Total Players Bought: £228,976,000
Total Players Sold: £145,100,000

Total Net Spend: £83,876,000

So, that’s a total spend of just over £83m in 5 years at the club. An average of £16.6m a year.

The vast majority of his signings have been sold at profit, or if still at the club, are worth a lot more than we paid for them. Exceptions being Babel and Dossena, but we’ll still get decent fees for them when sold as they’re full internationals.

A lot of the signings above have been stepping stones in rebuilding the squad, gradually improving it by replacing players with better ones. Our league positions over the past 5 years and the improvement in our league positions and points totals show the progression.

2004/05: Finished 5th – 58 pts
2005/06: Finished 3rd – 82 pts
2006/07: Finished 3rd – 68 pts
2007/08: Finished 4th – 76 pts
2008/09: Finished 2nd – 86 pts

Is it any coincidence that the progression seems to have stopped this summer? Look at the transfer activity above for this year and it might explain why.

We have a wage bill that is the 5th highest in the league. We can’t afford to pay players £70,000 to be sat on the bench like United and Chelsea can.

Rafa Benitez’ record with signings at the top end of the market is nothing short of brilliant. Robbie Keane being the only flop, but he was sold 6 months later and only a small financial hit taken on that mistake. Rick Parry agreed the fee for buying him in the first place, and common knowledge Rafa wasn’t happy with it; feeling it was far too high.

Where has this myth come from that he’s wasted money on shite players? Have a look through the lists above and try to point them out. There isn’t many.

The ones that haven’t worked out he’s moved on, and not very often has he made a financial loss on them.

The squad is now worth a hell of a lot more than the one he inherited, and that £83m net spend over 5 years is easily offset by the increased value of the squad. He’d recoup nearly all of that through the sale of Torres alone!

He’s worked absolute wonders with the money he’s had to spend. Then take into account the massive amounts of money he’s self generated by reaching the latter stages of the CL every season. Two final appearances, one win. That £83m he’s spent he’s earned the right to spend.

And when comparing it to what United have spent in the same period is flawed, as they already had a title winning squad and all the foundations in place. They weren’t rebuilding from scratch like we were. It also doesn’t take into account their massive wage bill.

When comparing to Chelsea, they spent all their money before Rafa came to the club and just topping up an already established squad.

Man City have spent more than double in the past 12 months than Rafa Benitez has in his 5 year reign.

Do some people still want to get rid of him? If so, you’ve been listening to Martin Tyler’s Monkey and the hairy-handed halfwit for too much and unable to look at the facts yourself to form an opinion.

Every manager makes tactical mistakes. Every manager makes mistakes in the transfer market. Despite what the press seem to think; Rafael Benitez appears to make less mistakes than most.

We’re expected to win the league and European Cup on a budget and wage bill that is entitled to finish 4th or 5th in the league. We’ve been overachieving under Rafael Benitez, not underachieving.

I’m not even going to mention the environment he’s working in under them two clowns.

You’ll only miss him when he’s gone….


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  1. Chapeau Irfaan. Everybody who wants benitez to leave is crazy because it’s hard to work with so less amount money against all the other clubs with a lot money. And at every club the know a period with less luck and then they come over it.

  2. This is a brilliant article, I have been looking for something like this for ages because I always belieeved that Rafa has done good.

    For some reason the media and Football pundits are loving this blip we are having lately, I dont know why? What have Liverpool ever done for people to hate us so much?

    United crowd referees everytime they make a ‘mistake’ against them, fergie gives out about every person high up the football like the FA, but if they lose a few games I never see the press hating them as much as they are doing to us.

    Some ‘Liverpool fans’ are jumping on this press bandwagon and it is really getting on my tits, we are supporters and being a supporter doesnt mean be happy and celebrate when we win it mens get behind the team and SUPPORT them when times are bad more so than the good times!!

    Get behind Rafa and the team!

    Otherwise dont call youself a fan, beacuse you are not.


  3. Outstanding article and so true, shows how Benítez has had to ‘make do and mend’.

    The last sentence sums the whole thing up, we’ll miss him if he goes….


  4. Daniel Agger (back), Glen Johnson (calf), Fabio Aurelio (calf) and David Ngog (ankle)
    This is y they didn’t play

  5. this article makes rafa look so good. many ppl want rafa to go (including me aftert the fulham loss- mainly out of anger) but since it has come out that many players were injured, and this article. i support rafa now and am confident dat we will beat lyon.

  6. In Rafa we trust! This season was always going to be tough after Alonso left, and all these ridiculous injuries… Even if we still probably is going to loose some of our next matches, I still have the trust and belief that we’re moving in the right direction. Form is temporary – injuries as well – class is permanent!

    Last year we played all these draws.. this season we either win og loose.. I still take 2 victories and 1 loss to 1 victory and 2 draws any day! We have to risk loosing to win the premier league!

    In the long run we’ll surely benefit from a more offensive approach!


  7. Another way of looking at it:
    From the above list 21 players remain on the payroll.
    They cost just over £155m.
    That leaves players bought at £73m and sold for £145m.
    Most companies would be delighted with that sort of profit (100%).
    Applying that to the £155m would mean the present squad is worth about £300m plus Gerrard and Carragher and a few others.
    How high are Liverpool’s debts?
    Financially, at least, Benitez is doing a very good job.

  8. Idiot. how dare you say don’t call yourself a fan if you don’t back rafa. 9 of the 11 that started in Istanbul where in houlliers starting 11. Rafa has made money seling players that he bought, but why buy them in the 1st place to only sell them on after a season?. To say Luis Garcia was a great player shows your knowledge of football he’s right up there with messi lol. Ask yourself this, how many of Liverpools players that rafa has signed not including Gerrard would get into another top 4 side? or even spurs or city?. The answer is not a lot apart from Torres. Martin O’Neill, Harry Redknapp or dare I say it Mr. Mourinho would do a fantastic job. Lets call this season a write off and get ready for next year.

  9. Excellent. Then I assume there will be no more complaints about squad depth and lack of funds, seeing he’s had almost £230,000,000 to work with.

  10. Reality check – Benitez is a good coach that can get the best out of a lot of players but the money spent / trophies ratio really does not compare to any of the other ‘big four’.

    United’s net spend over the last five years… £4.5million per season. Less than a million pounds per trophy won. Sure, United sold Ronaldo but Liverpool got plenty for Alonso too. If you take them both out of the equation the spend is more or less the same – but the trophy count isn’t.

    United’s wage bill is around 20% higher than Liverpool’s and does not compare to City or Chelsea. Taking into account bonuses for winning trophies and the fact that players who win trophies always get better wage deals, it too balances out.

    The truth is, both clubs have actually spent very similar amounts on players and wages over the years, especially the Rafa years. The only real difference is the trophies, which sadly for Liverpool always seem to be one more player purchase away.

    And even then, how about a comparison with Arsenal who have spent nothing compared to Liverpool and also won more trophies?

    I can agree that Benitez is a good coach but the idea that he is ‘good’ in the transfer market just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny compared to the other big four.

  11. well, its true that Ferguson won very little in his first five years. And who knows, maybe Rafa will find a Cantona in January. It seems unlikely though, because times have changed.

    Comparing Rafa to Wenger is a much better comparison. Wenger is a much, much more astute manager when it comes to transfer dealings – when looking at how good a manager is in the market, he has to be the benchmark and Rafa doesn’t come close to be fair.

  12. well, are we talking about manager’s in their first five years or we not? Look at Wenger’s first five years compared to Rafa in a very similar situation. And in the last five years Arsenal net spending has been something like MINUS 7 million pounds a year!

  13. This article could not be less true. Our squad now is no better than it was when rafa came. Obviously our first team is better but look at our bench ?? who do we have to influence a game? Babel. Our second striker Ngog is about 12 and has potental, although no way should he be second choice. This article is therefore majority LIES!

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