As the days go by it looks more and more likely that Javier Mascharano will not be with us.
The Argentinean wasn’t in the squad for the UEFA cup game against Robatnicki and now it looks like everyone is bowing to the inevitable by lining up the Dane Christian Poulsen as a replacement.
HRH was successful in persuading Gerrard and Torres to stay however he was always going to have his work cut out with Mascherano? Truth be told I suspect he would have liked to go last summer. There were rumours of his family being unsettled on Merseyside however Rafa had already sold Xavi Alonso so this was a non starter.
I think Mascherano’s inability to get a move was reflected slightly in his play for us last season? He was not as effective as he had been in previous seasons and now I guess is the time to face up to reality and let him go, if the price is right. Rafa’s “asking price” of £50m last summer is clearly not going to be achieved, I suspect it masqueraded as a “hands off” statement however, I think £25m – £30m is more realistic? At first it looked like he would follow Rafa to Inter but now it appears Barcelona are in the running. Is it any coincidence that we now also been linked with Alexander Hleb. Could he be part of the deal and come our way?
As for Christina Poulsen this isn’t the first time we’ve been liked with the Juventus player. He was rumoured to be in Rafa’s sights as replacement for Alonso but ended up going to Juventus when everyone thought Xavi would. Poulsen is classed as a defensive midfielder I guess he will be seen as a direct replacement for Mascherano. It will be interesting to see if he and Lucas, will line up along aside each other under HRH or will there only be room for one defensive or holding midfielder?
Masch was certainly renowned for his combativeness and Poulsen, if his past history is anything to go by, seems to be a more than able replacement on that score. He is remembered by some for lamping a Swedish player in a 2008 Euro Qualifier which caused crowd trouble, the abandonment of the game and the reward of the result to Sweden. There was also a much publicised Champions League burst up with AC Milan’s Kaka and Gattuso when he was Schalke. What are the odds of a red card against the Mancs if we do sign him?
Other transfer rumours seem to surround our quest for another striker. The Carlton Cole connection has resurrected itself again. Remember we were linked with him back in December. I gave my opinion on signing him then
(click here ) and nothing has happened since to change that. Then of course there is Peter Crouch who has been linked with a return. Will he come back? I suspect he has other things on his mind at present! Elsewhere the left back trial appears to have gone cold but will HRH really be happy with having just Aurelio and Insua has players in that position? Maybe he will be resigned to “reconditioning” one of our centre backs?
All this of course may well be dependant on the take over which we are told will take a significant step on Friday when bids are expected to be placed on the table. However, perhaps a more obvious barrier to immediate activity will be tonight’s international games. Speculation surrounds the sort of reception England will get as they play Hungary. Steven Gerrard has said if he was an England he would boo them. So might if I could be bothered I must check what’s on the Discovery Channel tonight!