By the time you even read this Robbie Keane could be Liverpool player. Yesterday he completed his medical. The fee, £18m set to rise to £20m with what seems to be these days the usual Liverpool “add ons”, has been agreed. Rumour is that Keane will be handed the number 7 shirt.
I wouldn’t count my chickens but it seems to be, for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Spurs’ Chairman Daniel Levy, a relatively smooth deal. No so for Gareth Barry where we are no closer to conclusion. Martin O’Neill seems to be getting more and more vocal in the light of silence from L4.
Whether his outbursts are out of desperation that something should be done or misplaced crowing about the fact that, despite overtures from us, Barry remains his man, I neither know nor care.
O’Neill still remains deluded over the fee.
“We obviously don’t want him to go, so the price we are asking for him is a fair and realistic one for a player who is so good. In fact, I think it is really cheap.”
It’s not Martin, really, it isn’t! Believe me and the rest of the world that resides outside Birmingham it isn’t, I repeat, it isn’t. Then we get this
“Having not heard anything from Liverpool for some time it is clear we value him more than they do,”
Agreed, if valuing your player is keeping him at your club, even though he wanted to leave, for the sake a few extra million!
Hopefully we can now put this behind us. Another loser in all this apart, from Barry, is Xabi Alonso. The funds from his sale to Juventus were to be used to fund the Barry deal. This is fallen through and I guess Alonso now finds himself in some kind of limbo. Unwanted by buying clubs, it seems, and Rafa? As it stands Rafa will really have to earn his corn as a manager and to speak to Alonso to try and bring him back on board, motivate him for the new season make him feel he is a wanted and valuable member of the squad. In the eyes of many he always was, even before this summer, and hopefully will be in the future. The question is will Alonso be convinced by this given Rafa’s attempts to sell him or is he, like the pier at Western Super Mere, gutted?
Even though he got an improved reception from the Villa fans over the weekend, O’Neill faces a similar problem with Barry. This time it’s trying to focus his mind on Villa away from what might have been. O’Neill may feel he has scored a notable victory in fending us off, not in my book though. For example will Barry be the same player for him after all that has happened.
Anyway is the Barry deal dead yet? I hope so but my guess is that it only will be so if the Xabi Alonso deal cannot be resurrected. There is also the issue of the injury to Philipp Degen which might make Rafa reluctant to release Steve Finnan, a reported makeweight in the deal. Time is running out but if someone comes in with a late and acceptable bid for Xabi I wouldn’t be too surprised if Rafa, and I speak metaphorically now, dons black, shins up the Villa Park drainpipe, crashes through the skylight on a wire and “liberates” Barry from under O’Neill’s nose!
If one takes a step back from all this the sad reality is that all this summer’s shenanigans boils down to one thing – lack of funds. We had to sell to achieve this summer’s targets. I think this suited Rafa but will it next year and what does that say about the long term future of the club? There is nothing wrong with selling to buy but when you can’t sell and therefore not buy, it is worrying. It also seems that the transfer market is not the only area where looking after the dollar is paramount.
The news that we were considering using Goodison Park as some kind of “annex function room” for our match day corporate hospitality is appalling. Granted, the idea has since been knocked on the head however, it is just another ill thought out gaff in a long line of gaffs where the motivation, the pursuit of “filthy lucre”, dictates all other considerations.
Do we and Everton really need to go out of our way in this cheap and shoddy fashion? Moreover do they need to be so greedy? Pack ‘em in, give ‘em a prawn sandwich and pile ‘em high. Are things so bad that have to resort to such stunts? What next? A marquee and picnic tables in Stanley Park? Barbecue stands on cordoned off sections of the Breck Road?
Whoever is behind this idea clearly hasn’t learnt from, or listened to, the passionate but reasonable and well voiced concerns of fans about the way things have been done at Liverpool over the last year or so. Whoever is behind this idea has grossly miscalculated how such an arrangement would be antagonistic to Liverpool AND Everton fans. Whoever is behind this idea should be ashamed of themselves and the reasoning behind it. Sadly, and worryingly, I suspect that whoever is behind this idea has no shame.