Barry, Milner, The Villas (Aston and David), Euro and the importance of keeping Rafa!

The publication of Kop Holding’s accounts attracted plenty of comment however, amidst all this was Rafa Benitez’s reaction to the associated money situation. For me this bought into focus just how important his presence is at Anfield is right now.

Despite the less than encouraging results Rafa remains upbeat. Can he really say anything else?

“If we had a lot of money to spend it would obviously be better. But if we don’t it doesn’t matter. It is not about buying the most expensive players, it is about buying the right players and we can sell some players to get the others we need. We have the spine of the team and we just need others in other positions.”

Of his future he said

“The supporters have been absolutely magnificent with me, the staff are working very hard and I would not have brought players like Fernando Torres and the young players we have here if I did not have a long term vision for the club. Now is not the time to be saying goodbye! Fernando’s agent has asked about my Liverpool future and my answer is that I am 100% committed.”

On the face of this encouraging stuff but perhaps there is a more worrying aspect in Rafa’s aside over Torres’ agent asking about his future at Liverpool. One wonders just how long Rafa, and certain players, are prepared to accept the current situation where funds, to strengthen the side, are limited and the behind the scenes unrest shows no sign of abating? Torres has already gone on record this month urging the owners to spend big this summer. They appear to be prepared to give the club time, for now, but for how long?

If Rafa were to go then could we expect the likes of Torres, Mascherano, Reina, or even some of the home based players, to follow? This is not a new theory, it’s already been suggested that Jose Mourinho, once he’s made himself at home at The San Siro, will sign some of his old Chelsea players, only a few days ago Ricardo Carvalho suggested he would consider joining his old boss in Italy. Although there appear to be no short term worries at L4, if things aren’t resolved soon and say if a year or so on from now Rafa were to go, would he be the only one we would be saying goodbye to?

Meanwhile the offer for Gareth Barry has been upped and rejected by Villa. Apparently the stakes were raised to £15m but Villa folded preferring to hold out for £18m. This appears to be the only sticking point, Martin O’Neil, speaking on the BBC last night, appeared resigned to losing him.

I can’t help wondering if Villa’s stubbornness and desire to hold on to their main man, even though he seemingly wants to leave, is partly our own fault? There is the alleged leaking of the initial approach which caused Martin O’Neil to blow a gasket. This wasn’t a big deal in my book but perhaps if we’d been more accommodating over the Scott Carson issue, instead of asking £10m for him, Villa might have been more amenable?

It’s sad as we have had a good record of business with Villa over the years. Players who have come and gone include McMahon, Staunton, Saunders, Collymore, Houghton, Baros and James. Relations might be further soured by the rumour that we look like beating them to the signing of James Milner from Newcastle. The deal seems to be “a winger for a winger” with Jermaine Pennant going the other way to St James’ Park, plus cash? I’ll refrain from commenting on this until it happens!

As for Barry, personally I don’t feel he is worth £15m let alone £18m and I would be more than happy to tell Villa to stuff it and keep Xabi Alonso. However, that is the road we appear intent on following and perhaps we, and Barry, have now gone too far down it to consider turning back?

Back at Euro 2008 David Villa’s star continues to rise. Seeing him playing with Torres against Russia one couldn’t help thinking what might, or could, have been. Some combination eh? We’ve been consistently linked with Villa however, I guess for us in terms of signings it was only going to be one or the other (Villa or Torres) rather than both? As it is I suspect Villa’s price is now beyond what we able to currently afford? A pity as the two seem to combine well and, if Villa’s actions in running to Torres after his hat trick are anything to go by, respect each other.

Said Villa

“The first two goals were with the help of Torres, you saw what happened with the first one and with the second he opened the space so Andres Iniesta could make the pass to me. I think he had a very important game, he’s a key player to us and I wanted to dedicate that third goal to make him happy.”

Elsewhere Croatia qualified for the knock out stages last night by cleverly outwitting Germany. However, The Germans must still be favourites to go through as Poland and Austria do not appear to be good enough to win their last games. On Wednesday Portugal surprised no one by qualifying although the Czech’s must now fight it out with Turkey who squelched and splashed there way past a “Degenless” Switzerland. This prompted our “favourite” commentators and presenters to rhyme the words “Swiss” and “miss” as in “miss out”. Urrrrrrrrrrgh!

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