A tale of two full backs, Degen and Dossena to sign?

Transfer rumours appear in the papers these days more often than Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears. However, like these two, one has no inkling of what planet these originate from!

Apparently the trial for David Bentley has now gone cold as too has one of Rafa’s long term targets, Daniel Alves. Either way one cannot see much happening, regarding the big signings until after Euro 2008 especially if our targets are playing in the tournament. Nonetheless this hasn’t stopped the press and I suspect that once the Champions League Final news has ended there will be more stories. Ones with substance or just column fillers? Ah ha wouldn’t we like to know!.

Philipp Degen from Borussia Dortmund clearly looks like one signing that will go ahead. Who said that we’re not ambitious, forward looking and prepared to put our money where our mouth is? The fee? Well actually it’s a free transfer! Watch out Mancs, watch out Chelsea here we come!

Degen is a right sided full back. Clearly Rafa wants him as cover for Finnan and Arbeloa and has said as much.

“Sometimes you can find these players on the market. When you find a player like him who costs no money it means you can use money for improving other parts of the squad. He is a good signing, a player of potential, who can help us improve in the wide areas.”

Degen has Champions League experience, from his time playing for Basel, and of course experience of the Bundesliga. He also has 26 caps for Switzerland and played for them in the last World Cup. He will also represent them this summer in Euro 2008. Assuming there are no last minute hitches, he will sign for us on 1st July. Degen welcomes the move as a chance to resurrect his career which, through loss of form, stalled in Germany

“When I received the offer from Liverpool, there was no doubt I would accept it. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am looking forward to the challenge of establishing myself there and playing in the best league there is.”

Not exactly the big name, and not that hard to convince him to move it seems, but hopefully a useful addition to the squad providing cover and experience at the back. He’s no risk as he’s on free and if he has a good Euro 2008 it could be good business for Rafa?

To the other side of the pitch now and the left back position. Presumably with John Arne Riise heading for the out door Rafa will need more bodies in this area? Rumours are that Udinese’s Andrea Dossena is our man.

Dossena was signed by Udinese from Hellas Veroa in 2003 and was good enough to be offered a new contract by them in 2007. He has one Italian cap, earned in a friendly against South Africa. Because of this Dossena is likely to cost us more. Fees of around £8m have been quoted. He was also linked with a move to Juventus earlier this year so is clearly highly thought of in his own country?

Again perhaps not a name to excite and many will see these signings as not matching our ambition however, I suspect, or hope, these are hors d’oeuvres and that the bigger courses will come later. Besides it is hardly unusual for managers to sign players who are relatively unheard of for them to proved quality. The Premiership is littered with them and it’s all the more satisfying to have unearthed a bargain? As mentioned Degen is on a free so no risk and Dossena, if the reports are true, looks a good prospect.

Either way we have to trust Rafa’s judgment and his knowledge of continental football.

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