So it was a day of chartered helicopters and silly money.
In the past January transfer windows have tended to be rather sedate affairs, last year only £20 odd million pounds changed hands. This year, as I write, the money looks likely to break the £200m barrier. Call me naive but it is an astounding amount and totally at odds with the austerity than most of us are going through? However that’s the way it is but unlike the bankers bonuses everyone seems to lap it up oblivious to the fact that both tread similar obscene paths?
One day it will all end in tears for the English Premiership, and chief protagonists such as Chelsea’s Abramovich, but at the moment it steams on unhindered and unrepentant. It isn’t an impressive dash in fact it’s got so bloated, full of it’s own self importance that it is, at times, enough to make me want to jack it all in and watch Chester in the Northern Section of the Evo Stick league! However, Liverpool, the club I’ve loved since God knows when, is a part of this freak show and it had a leading role (the leading role) in yesterday’s grotesque drama.
It was a day when money talks. When loyalty, commitment and patience came a very very distance second to self regard and avarice? A day when we attracted a young player from his home town club for an obscene fee out of all proportion to his talent and achievements so far. It was a day when a Kop “idol” proved he wasn’t the man or the hero we thought he was. He rode the crest of our good form, and indeed he was responsible for a fair chunk of it, but when the going got tough rather then knuckle down, be professional and work he became moody, withdrawn and sullen and eventually got going.
It was a day that was concluded at eleven o’clock, the end of the deadline, with Sky crassly aping New Years Eve with the Big Ben bongs. How strange that all the big deals were concluded just before this? Keep ‘em hanging on, make them wait, up the anticipation keep it as dramatic as possible. What cr*p but, like you I suspect, I watched most of it!
So what of our new signings? Where do you start? It is clear that that we needed back up support for Fernando Torres. He had been ploughing too much of a loan furrow for too long and sadly patience ran out. We signed Suarez but he wasn’t prepared to give it a go perhaps if we’d acquired him in the summer he would still be with us however, off the pitch chaos did for this. Torres or no Torres we needed two top class strikers and I guess, with the signing of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez we might have something approaching that?
I’m pleased with Luis Suarez. On the face of it, it looks a good signing at a realistic fee. It’s always a gamble but his record is good even though his temperament is suspect, how many players get banned for biting someone! The same can be said for Andy Carroll, bet’s on how long before he is cited in some Liverpool nightclub incident? Carroll has talent and his signing smacks of Kenny all over in the sense that he’s bought a player to fill a specific role or position in the team rather than just someone for the sake of it. Carroll and Suarez together could be, on paper at least, a devastating combination. Carroll’s physical robustness and, let’s not forget this, considerable skill paired with Suarez’s guile and individual versatility? Dare I say it be we could we be looking at a new Toshack and Keegan?
However I defy anyone to suggest that Carroll is worth 35m even £25m. It is, to be frank, a hell of a gamble on a player whose career is still embryonic. However, we should not hold this against him, it’s not his fault. Some will say it’s a panicky knee jerk reaction to Torres’ leaving, I’d say it’s an all over bodily spasm! Perhaps it is a calculated gamble, a last ditch shot to get into the Champions League? If it works we will get our money back on Carroll however, on this evidence one has to wonder just what Damien Comolli’s rationale is that he should feel it necessary to recommend that we spend such a large amount? Was Carroll all that was left after his so called extensive research into potential signings?
Of course we have this money to burn due to Fernando’s departure to Chelsea. Liverpool fans tend to get all misty eyed about certain members of their team, I do and sometimes, even when things show clear signs of going wrong, go into denial. Torres’ demise this season was such a case and may be, when we look back on this, we will be pleased to get £50m for player who clearly hasn’t been interested or unable to achieve past glories this season?
In fairness to Torres injuries, and then the difficult quest to regain full fitness, played their part and I suspect he will get more support at Chelsea than he did at Liverpool, provided Fat Frank can keep up! However, to sell him to one of your rivals (if given our position we can still call Chelsea a rival) stinks and I think Torres should have showed more respect by moving abroad, at the end of this season and giving it a go with Suarez. Would five months or so have made any difference?
Of course much of this “bile” is motivated by disappointment at what we have lost. Even though it doesn’t extend to the childish burning of number nine shirts we saw last night. On his day Torres was a pleasure to watch, pure class and for all the disappointment at the manner of his departure, he deserves to be appreciated. £50m represents a more than handy return on our initial investment. If Torres thinks he has gone to better place where he can achieve his ambitions I’d like to remind him about Michael Owen who went to Real Madrid and then had to watch us in Istanbul as a spectator! More to the point there will two big bare patches of wall in my son’s bedroom where posters have been removed. Dam I think the reverse of his scarf says “Torres” as well!
So a lot to take in on an unexpectedly eventful day whose fallout will no doubt will be covered in more detail as the weeks unravel. There was also the loan move of Paul Konchesky to Nottingham Forest but no doubt Old Ma Konchesky can comment on that. Charlie Adam, who was courted by us for so long, has to endure another four to five months of Mr Holloway’s Christmas Cracker wit! This was totally outdone by Rangers’ comical loan signing of Blackburn’s (and ex red) El Hadji Diouf. Spitting at Celtic fans can pay?
However back to us and to me it does all boil down to this. For all the money and for all the speculation the season goes on. It will be a new, fresher Liverpool that lines up against Stoke tomorrow night and then ironically against Chelsea on Sunday. It’s a cliché but no one is bigger than the club and I guess, in time, you also find out that some people in it don’t turn out to be as big as you initially thought they’d be?
“Walk on…” and move on?