I have gathered my thoughts around three issues which are currently ‘up in the air’ and for which most Liverpool fans would love to see a positive conclusion in the interests of the Club, and the beginning of the new era that the Henry, Comolli and Dalglish trilogy is working hard to lay the foundation for before next season.
Subject 1: Pepe Reina: Staying of Leaving!
Perhaps this is the one player that is really giving us sleepless nights and most of us fear another Xabi Alonso or Xavier Mascherano type saga which will, in the end, see the much loved keeper leave Merseyside for other pastures.
Reina has quite recently signed a contract extension which includes a very healthy exit clause in favour of the Club, yet a concerted effort by the player himself, his agent, and the media in general, have thrown some doubt on whether the Spaniard would be guarding the Liverpool posts next season. There is also the less important fact that both Manchester United and Arsenal would be very interested to lure away from Anfield a proven world class keeper, a position which they need to fill in with a quality signing for next season. It could be that the player is indirectly or tactfully pushing the Club into gearing up with quality by threatening to leave, but then it could also be that he feels he should move on to new pastures.
Surely Reina can now see that the Club is moving forward. There is a buzz around Anfield and Melwood that has been missing since the Reds finished second in the Premier League a few seasons ago. The new owners are building the right team with Ayre, Comolli and Dalglish at the foundations of a new winning cycle. Personally I think he will stay, but I guess that’s my heart having her say. With the way things happen in football nowadays however, it’s still very much fifty/fifty!
Subject 2: Alberto Aquilani: Coming back or not!
Okay, I know and am fully aware that this issue has become stale, almost boring, and some of you will probably say it’s best to cash in on him and close the chapter. But it does not seem like it’s going to be that simple.
We know the story. We have debated whether or not Roy was right to send him out on loan to Juventus. We have also agreed that the Italian is pure class and he showed snippets of his brilliance when Rafa decided, every now and again, to put his technical abilities to good use. Since moving to Italy on loan, the classy Italian has had a successful and relatively injury free season that saw him conquer midfield dominance with Juve and the Azzurri! His ratings in Italy are back on the rise and there are Italian Clubs waiting in the wings to see if Juve will take up the option to sign him permanently.
With Juve playing mind games in an effort to deviate from the original deal and lower the agreed price substantially, the Italian midfielder has come out to say he would not be disappointed with a return to Anfield. Whether this was an effort to rekindle the admiration of the Liverpool support, or whether the Italian is aware that the bianconeri are not willing to honour the deal remains to be seen.
Perhaps Aquilani’s space is now well taken care of by Raul Meireles, but then it would do no harm in having two technically brilliant midfielders with the flair to invent and the ability to strike at goal. Can you imagine Aquilani playing for Liverpool with the present pass and move system? I mean his one-touch play and instinctive vision is out of this world. It’s a question of money really. I would not let him go unless we recover a large part of our investment, after all, the lad came to Anfield with an injury and we contributed towards revitalizing his career. I’d love him to stay, but objectively, the Aquilani Affair remains….fifty/fifty!
Subject 3: Stadium: Anfield or Stanley Park!
Yes, another issue we have debated time and again, but which this week came afloat again when newly appointed MD Ian Ayre voiced his opinion that we would personally prefer the option to have Anfield re-developed, and then claimed that the Red would seek a lucrative naming rights deal only in the case that the decision is taken to go for a new build at Stanley Park!
With both FSG and our new MD prone towards a redevelopment, supported in this train of thought by the majority of fans the world over, it still remains to be seen if this will be the final solution. One thing’s for sure, the Reds need, deserve and will have a better sporting venue in line with today’s requirements and focused towards the success of the future. It is, and will remain, a delicate balancing act between finance and heritage, the commercial and historical aspects, our legacy and our future. As such, it very much remains….fifty/fifty!