Only 6 days remain in the current transfer window and Liverpool find themselves still without having added the minimum of a striker, left back and attacking midfielder / winger to the current squad. A number of faces have left the Liverpool playing staff but their replacements have been slow in arriving after early moves saw the club capture Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Danny Wilson and re-sign Fabio Aurelio.
Linked to an extortionate number of players as the weeks progressed since the 2009/10 season finished, the “small” and well documented matter of minimal finances available has prevented Liverpool from making any further progress with any players, let alone recognised ones. Having recently let Alberto Aquilano leave on a season long loan to Juventus, the future of Dirk Kuyt hanging in the balance and the departure of Javier Mascherano to Barcelona seemingly just a matter of time until completion, it is more than fair to say that perhaps the minimum of three new arrivals required is in fact closer to six.
With the departing Krisztián Németh’s agent commenting on his exit, that he is was aware his player and others departed were as much for financial reasons as opposed to technical ones, the horizon is once again painted very much that of a bleak picture at Anfield. With the sale of the club no further closer to seeing the exit of Tom Hicks & George Gillett from the helm and the Chinese consortium lead by Kenny Huang stepping down from the table, it became even more evident to the Liverpool fan base that there was going to be no last minute war chest cracked open to overhaul the squad. The players the club are forced to target consist of those just finding their way in the game, those having reached the latter stages of their career or players unable to gain regular football at high profile clubs and deemed surplus to requirements. The move for players in their prime, at the top of the game, is a luxury that eludes Roy Hodgson at the present time due to financial constraints, instability in the board room and no Champions League football on offer for them to showcase their talents.
Roy Hodgson and Rafa Benitez left their clubs confirming that they would be not returning any time soon to make a raid on former players. However in both instances it appears that could end up not being the case, with Rafa looking to lure Kuyt to Milan by any means possible and Hodgson looking to prise Paul Konchesky away from hid former employer Fulham. While Hodgson has moved to state no offer is officially tabled for Kuyt and he believes the move attempt to be one engineered by his agent, he has confirmed his intentions for Konchesky.
The situation at Liverpool lends itself very readily to the whim of the media, with players linked ranging from the logical and ideal, through to concepts fully stretching the imagination to the limit as to viability. In summary here are some of the main stories presented in the media over the first half of the last week in the transfer window.
Roy Hodgson has confirmed he has spoken to former club Fulham regarding a possible move for Paul Konchesky who he has been a long term admirer of and was a regular in his previous Fulham side. A return to working with Hodgson could be ever closer to reality for the 29yr old left back and former England international who Hodgson sees as one possible answer to his left back problem. Speculation has accelerated over the last 24hrs as Fulham were credited themselves with closing in on a deal for PSV’s Mexican international full back Salcido, another name reportedly on the radar of Liverpool as an option.
“We had discussions with Fulham about whether they were prepared to sell any of their players and I would be lying if I said Paul was not a name we considered,” said Hodgson.
“Whether or not there is a chance of business is still very much up in the air.” commented Hodgson having previously assured the Fulham fans he would not be looking to take any of his former players with him. In contrary though, a very large number of Liverpool fans have voiced their preference as being Salcido over Konchesky, it remains to be seen if the manager knows best.
Ola Toivonen & Carlos Salcido
The 6ft 4″ Swedish striker has been making a big name for himself in the Dutch Eredivisie, netting 24 goals in the last campaign and gaining growing praise for his performances along the way. Liverpool are believed to have tabled a £9m bid for the former Malmo striker, with PSV initially commenting that a high bid for the player could see him depart for the Premier League and that they could not block the transfer. However since then sporting director Marcel Brands has moved to state that the forward would not be leaving the club.
“They called us last Thursday, in the morning, and asked how much we wanted for Ola Toivonen,” Brands said.
“But our answer was clear: we will not sell him at this point. We don’t want to lose Ola during this transfer window.”
Liverpool were believed to have been looking for a double purchase at PSV, taking left back Salcido at the same time. Kenny Dalglish has been to watch both players recently and Roy Hodgson went to observe Toivonen as Sweden faced Scotland in the recent round of international friendlies. With Liverpool seemingly switching interest to Paul Konchesky of Fulham as their left back solution, perhaps what seemed like a possible progression on a deal has now been conceded as defeat. Fulham are reported to be ready to imminently complete a £1.6m deal for Salcido which may leave many Liverpool fans left wondering how they succeeded where Liverpool failed, or why the Reds decided to opt out.
Juventus striker David Trzequet was linked to Liverpool after an initial report from Tuttosport. Trezeguet was one of several Juventus players mentioned at the end of last season as possibly being moved on for the coming campaign. Roy Hodgson has reportedly enquired in to the availability of the striker during conversations that led to the arrival of Christian Poulsen and then seeing Alberto Aquilani move in the other direction on a season long loan.
The Frenchman is reported to have rejected several offers from abroad this summer, opting to stay with Juventus but many close to the club believe he will not feature much for the Turin club. Other speculation has seen Liverpool players Soto Kyrgiakos and Emiliano Insua also linked to Juve in both an effort to broker a deal with Trezequet or to remove them from the club’s wage bill, as Juve look to bolster their defensive options.
The Brazilian back at Eastlands after a loan spell at Santos in his homeland, is believed to want out of Manchester City as quick as possible but with his preference lying in either a return to Spanish football or a spell in the Serie A. The player arrived as a last minute £32.5m signing from Real Madrid in 2008 but struggled to get to grips with life at City and is now expected to only be a fringe player in their 25man squad to compete in the Premier League this season, should he stay. Offers for the player have not been forthcoming in abundance and the only reported interest of any level has arrived in the form of Fenerbache. The player is believed to be opening lines of communication with the club in an effort to secure a move before the transfer window closes.
Spanish publication AS has reported that Roy Hodgson could target Mali captain Diarra in the event that Javier Mascherano secures a move to Barcelona. Following the arrival of Sami Khedira at the Bernabeu, the player has been told he is surplus to requirements and to find a new club, having one year remaining on his present contract.
Diarra signed for Real Madrid from Lyon in 2006, but after two successful seasons suffered a serious knee injury and has limited game time ever since.
Marseille midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has been reported as a £6.5m target of Roy Hodgson. The player who can play either centrally or on the left wing, has had a well documented fall out with the l’OM hierarchy and is desperate to move on this summer. Werder Bremen and Newcastle United have also been linked with a move for the player.
Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo insists no deal has yet been agreed for midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa.
“He has a choice between two or three clubs,” Anigo told L’Equipe.
“But we also have to find an agreement with the club, which is not the case so far.”
West Ham’ s player of the season last year has long been a mentioned target of Liverpool as a possible replacement for Javier Mascherano. Tottenham have already seen a bid rejected for the player this year but Parker still hasn’t signed a new contract at the Hammers. Speculation continues to mount that the player, although happy at West Ham, could very much be interested in a move that was going to see him play for both a higher ranked team in the Premier League and also gain a level of European football. It is expected that should a bid not be tabled for Parker before the close of the current transfer window then he could commit to a longer term at West Ham once it has closed.
Sources in German media reported that Liverpool had enquired to take Mario Gomez on a season-long loan but his current reported wages of £125,000 a would be a huge stumbling block should a deal be agreeable between the clubs.
Gomez, the most expensive player in German football, finds himself 4th choice in the Bayern Munich striking stakes behind fellow countryman Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose, another player linked to both Liverpool and a summer exit and also Ivica Olic. Klose had long been seen as almost a certain departure from the club after a disastrous last season but a string of good performances in the World Cup finals have seen renewed faith placed in him. West Ham, ahead of the finals, had been close to a deal in principle for Klose which would have seen Gomez gain more first team action as reported interest from Real Madrid was never forthcoming for him. Despite the players position on the fringe of the team he is believed to have only interest for fighting for his place in the starting line up at Bayern.
Gomez is quoted as saying: “I have made my position clear – there will be no transfer.” – ”I want to convince the coach that he will soon field me in his starting XI.” – ”Hard work will be rewarded, I am sure about that.”
The link between Liverpool and Carlton Cole has been almost a daily story in the UK press, with Liverpool reported to have enquired about the player after failing to make progress with other options. West Ham are believed to have placed a £15m price on his head for him to leave this transfer window, with the player also stating that he was more than happy at his present club. The England International has also been the subject of a rejected bid from Sunderland and interest from Stoke City. Liverpool are believed to value the player at no more than an initial £6m with further scope for appearance related extras.
The Lille defender nicknamed “The Terminator” because of his fearless style of play is reported to be a £2m target for Roy Hodgson. The right back, who can also play in the holding midfield role, was recently called up to the French squad and is seen as possible competition for Glen Johnson.
Claude Puel, his former coach, once described Debuchy as ‘a player who puts his head where others wouldn’t put their foot’.
Liverpool are reported to have revived interest in the Costa Rican striker currently plying his trade at FC Twente. The Reds were credited with interest in July, when also in contact with Nice over the availability of Loic Remy, who has since gone on to complete a €15m switch to Marseille. Ruiz can lead the attack, play just behind the most advanced striker and operate on either flank and is also reported to be valued at €15m by the Dutch club.
Whatever Roy Hodgson’s targets are, he has very little time to secure the arrival of anything up to half a dozen players in an more ideal situation, even half of that is going to be some achievement due a large amount of his funds expected to be only available should Mascherano be sold. It goes without saying that an interesting an manic few days remain in the transfer window for the L4 club which could well see a number of deals go down to the wire but hopefully not a largely inflated price.