The news that Yossi Benyaoun has agreed an extension to his contract flies in the face of recent worries about midfield players leaving Liverpool.
In fact Benayoun joins a long list of players who have signed for a longer stint in red – things can’t be that bad after all despite what the reports would have us believe? Benayoun had a decent end to the season scoring some vital goals most noticeably in the Bernabéu and then, more importantly, a last gasp winner at Fulham which kept the title challenge on track. Hopefully, now that he has signed for a further two years, hopefully Yossi’s agent will accept that occasionally his “client” will be required to sit out a number of games and will therefore refrain from the annoying habit he has of moaning and groaning and hinting at a move whenever this happens?
Elsewhere since signing Glen Johnson it’s been nothing but rumour, rumour and no action. Perhaps Rafa is revisiting his transfer strategy in view of the Spanish Armada’s threats to his key garrisons of Alonso and Mascherano? What goes on behind the scenes is one thing however outwardly Rafa remains defiant about both player’s departure stating that neither are for sale and slapping what he sees as a prohibitive price on both.
Perhaps this has had the desired effect? We’ve heard nothing from Mascherano’s suitors (it’s quiet, too damn quiet?) and yesterday Real Madrid manager Valdano commented…
“Alonso is a priority if he falls within our budget at the moment, that’s not the case. We’re a long way from the fee Liverpool are asking for.”
If Alonso or Mascharano should go thoughts will turn to who will replace them. In case of Mascharano yesterday’s Daily Telegraph suggested his fellow Argie, Esteban Cambiasso of Inter Milan was in Rafa’s sights. With Alonso as far as I can see no one has been suggested but then again perhaps it’s been lost amongst all the other speculative nonsense that one reads at this time of year? Although Rafa was intent on replacing Alonso with Gareth Barry if you asked me who he’ll go for now I suspect he’ll look abroad. However the answer to this problem, should it ever arise, could right under his nose…
A West Ham fan has recently joined our office. He’s a nice bloke, mainly because he has that obsessive fixation with football that other so called normal people would describe as “sad”. Needless to say we get on! Yesterday, after a good half hour discussing the 1981 League Cup Final, we moved onto the respective performances of our clubs players. For him there was no contest as to who was West Ham’s best player of 2008-09. Ladies and gentlemen I give you …. Scott Parker!
Even before the recruitment of my colleague I’ve always admired Parker right from his days with Charlton. However, for some reason I never saw him as a potential Liverpool player. God knows why because the more you think about it the more feasible and logical it sounds especially now. Parker’s game is in the same ball park as Alonso he can tackle, tough if necessary. He can defend but he also likes to use his pace to go forward and link up with attack. He can pass and scores a fair amount of goals for a midfielder.
Parker is also consistent, with the exception of Chelsea, where he found it difficult to displace the likes of Lampard, Robben and Makélélé, he has played well for every club he’s been with. His performances with Charlton helped him win the Young Player of the Year title. He has been on the fringes of the England squad but ultimately injuries and. let’s face it, a pretty strong, more experienced midfield, have only allowed him a few games. However, when he went to Newcastle he was their best player until he contracted glandular fever and since recovering and playing for West Ham their and his form have picked up. He was voted their player of the year last season.
The price? I don’t think it would take anywhere near half the amount that Rafa might get for Alonso and to cap it all he is English which squares with the forthcoming barmy UEFA laws governing home grown players, one of the reasons Rafa gave for pursuing Barry and signing Glen Johnson? In addition he knows the Premiership like the back of his hand so we would avoid the “acclimatisation” problems that some foreign imports occasionally face. A gamble? No more than any other player we’d sign? Think about it…….OK, just a thought!
Finally I’ve just finished watching the Ashes highlights. Is it me or is there a disturbing similarity between Aussie bowler Peter Siddle and Craig Bellamy?