I guess one has to remember that in this season of transfer silliness, players and agents, with a move or a new contract in mind, will use every opportunity to make sure things go their way.
The press is a useful outlet for such aims. Bogus stories are planted which although untrue, at least get the message across to clubs that their player is available and open to offers. Equally stories about other clubs being interested are concocted; perhaps to make the club they are negotiating with improve their offer? Oh what a tangled web of intrigue bluff and counter bluff we weave!
It’s a generalisation but these sort of stunts, rightly or wrongly, tend to be viewed as part and parcel of the game. However, sometimes the mark is overstepped and they can descend into farce or downright stupidity and provoke the sort of response that Rafa made yesterday over rumours about us signing Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Rafa has said he is not interested in signing this player and hopefully this will bring to an end a blatantly transparent piece of one-upmanship from Lavezzi and his team in which Liverpool have been used as a bargaining chip to help improve his lot.
We learn from Lavezzi’s agent that
“Liverpool’s proposal (to buy Lavezzi) is true”
He has gone to say that Napoli’s President Pierpaolo Marino is stalling and has tried to block meetings with us. Compare and contrast that with Rafa’s comments yesterday.
“We never contacted Lavezzi and we have no intention of doing so. We want to put a stop to these rumours.”
On top of this we have, via a letter to the Napoli fans, the biggest load of self righteous tosh from Lavezzi in which he claims to have been treated with “a lack of respect”.
“The only sure thing is that one day there won’t be either Lavezzi or Marino but there will always be this great club and this immense city simply because Napoli does not belong to anyone, it represents the synthesis of the sentiment of their fans’ dignity. Today I have to choose between dignity and a lack of respect, because of my loyalty to my upbringing without doubt I choose dignity.”
Give me strength! All we need is an orchestra of violins and a children’s choir!
People should always check the small print before they use words like “dignity” and “respect” as sticks to hit people with. Sadly Lavezzi’s attempts to elevate himself as some kind of paragon of virtue are rather undermined by these comments from his agent which seemingly reveal the true purpose behind his touching eulogy?
“There is a very real offer from a team who are playing in the Champions League and where he would earn much more than here.”
Presumably that team is, sorry was, us and on balance I think Rafa is right to knock it on the head for a number of reasons. Although he can play wide Lavezzi’s scoring record is not good – he only scored 8 goals in 35 games, in 2007-08, and only 7 in thirty, last season. He ran away to Argentina after Napoli ignored his request for further contract negotiations despite having got himself a deal to 2013. Does this raise questions about his behaviour and commitment if things don’t go his way? How for example will he react if, as is Rafa’s want, he is rotated?
Less seriously he was called “The Chubby One” when was at Genoa and then “The Beast” after joining Argentina side San Lorenzo on loan. Chubby, beast like and verbose (as seen in his letter) – it looks like we could be signing the footballing equivalent of a cross between John McCririck and Vanessa Feltz!
In short I believe Rafa is right, we can do better and that, to paraphrase Lavezzi’s words, is my respectful, dignified “synthesis of the sentiment”!