Rafa’s alleged move to Juventus just will not go away.
It’s almost as if the papers feel that if they keep banging on about it for long enough it will materialise, to paraphrase – if you build up it will come? Of course much of the story is based on reports in the Italian press which suggested that Rafa has already set up a deal with Juve. However, the story is easily unravelled. Rumours that he was to go immediately have not materialised as the Italians have appointed a caretaker nor has there, as far as I can see, ever been a quote or statement from Juve. However rather than dump the idea the story has now changed to the possibility of Rafa leaving this summer.
Perhaps this has gone on longer than it should as Rafa’s comments about the move, or not moving, were more evasive than expected. He also said he was “proud” to be associated with Juventus. However, I don’t think anyone can argue with these words…
“Contrary to reports in the Italian media this weekend, I want to make it absolutely clear I have no agreement with Juventus and have not and will not be meeting Juventus or their representatives or any other club.
I have a long term contract with Liverpool and I’ll repeat what I said on Friday that I am happy here and my only focus is to do my job as well as I can to get the team back into to the top four beginning with the Derby against Everton”
So I guess that is the end of the matter until the summer anyway when no doubt this little tale will be dusted off, wound up and let loose again. Will it have any mileage? I’ve a feeling that will depend on a number of factors – transfer money made available to Rafa , Champions League qualification, Rafa’s severance money, the money Juve are offering, who the owners can bring in and how much it will cost, oh and money!
Above I think it will also depend on what the fans think and if Rafa wants to go. I don’t necessarily think that Rafa will mind this recent speculation, some people have even suggested that the rumour was encouraged, even hatched, by his camp as it (assuming the Juve are up for it) creates a handy contingency for him, a get out route, or option to take up should things go pear shaped at the end of the season?
Which brings us to the transfer window. For all the speculation about Rudd van Nistelrooy, Emile Heskey, Milan Jovanovic, Kenwyne Jones, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole we’ve only seen Maxi pass through the Anfield gates. Had this been the summer many, no all, would have been up in arms especially as we sold Dossena and Voronin, albeit for comparatively modest fees. However, the January window is usually one of slim and comparatively unsubstantial pickings and I see no reason why we should spend our money for the sake of it when no player who exactly fits our requirements is available. If we were to get just one player it would surely have to be a forward which makes recent reports about Rafa being after a right back even more bamboozling! If this is true perhaps, with hindsight, it’s good thing we didn’t sign anyone!
The knock on effect to the current squad might be interesting. David Ngog will be encouraged as the departure of Voronin and our decision not to bring in another striker, strengthens his place in the pecking order, a good thing for the long term?. And Ryan Babel? It wouldn’t have surprised me if he went but, for his camp’s verbals, he’s still with us. One wonders what the route forward is for him? Perhaps Rafa feels he has more chance of getting a better deal for him in the summer? Until then if he wants the World Cup place he feels to is entitled to Babel will presumably have to get his head down, try to and make the most of the opportunities given to him and prove himself. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before! OK, I’ll stop!