By the time you read this Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson may well have finalised his move to Liverpool.
The quickness and timing of the deal is welcome. In the past we’ve dillied, dallied and procrastinated and have had to wait until well into the summer before securing deals or even see players escape our grabs and move to other clubs. This time everyone appears to have moved quickly. Henderson is in the England Under-21 squad for the European Championships and perhaps this is a decisive factor? Perhaps if he has a good tournament Sunderland might up the price or someone else will come in so, on the whole, I believe we have done well to act so quickly. It shows we mean business and of course Henderson will also have more time to settle in before the new season starts.
What does concern me is the price of £19.25m. Perhaps we are entering a new level and this is the new “benchmark” for players of Henderson’s type, if it isn’t then signings like his will soon make it so. Perhaps we will offset this through selling other players however, which ever way you look at it, £19m for a young, unproven and inexperienced player, albeit one with good prospects, does seem to be a awful lot and something of a gamble no; it is a gamble. Having said that every time we sign someone I always show anxiety about the size of the fee! I hope I will be proved wrong but, with my cynical killjoy hat on, I do wonder if we have paid over the odds, the fact that Henderson joins us with Sunderland’s “blessing” suggests that they are more than happy with the deal?
No doubt people will add this to the £55m or so we spent in January and make all sorts of conclusions conveniently forgetting the £50m we got for Torres. Just like that transfer I suspect something will have to give (ie. someone will have to go) to offset the Henderson fee? However, let’s not be negative. Henderson certainly impressed when he played against us at Anfield in the first half of last season (was it that difficult?) and has been voted as one of FIFA players to watch. It is also good that we have an eye on the future and are actively encouraging young players. To me this is the way forward, in terms of building a team and of course financially providing you encourage them to come through the ranks rather spending £19m every time! One wonders where Henderson will fit in? I assume that at £19m he won’t be warming the bench for too long? We seem to have a lot of midfielders now and with Charlie Adam rumoured to be still on our list, it is likely to grow?
A related rumour to the Henderson deal concerns David Ngog who has been linked with a move in the opposite direction. Hopefully Henderson won’t experience the same “fortunes” Ngog, another young player, did with us. Although he started well and showed promise especially in Europe, he simply couldn’t maintain it or transfer it on a regular basis into the league. Not being a permanent fixture clearly didn’t help and, given our situation last season, there wasn’t always the inclination to show him patience, on the pitch and in the stands. Once Carroll and Suarez were signed in January then surely his days were numbered? One wonders why Ngog didn’t go to Sunderland as part of the Henderson deal? Maybe he wants to go abroad or perhaps they weren’t offering as much but surely his chances of first team football would be greater which, at his age, is surely the decisive factor?
Other rumours are becoming just that or appear to be taking more shape even though they are not necessarily in our favour. Ashley Young and Phil Jones look to be bound for the Mancs which perhaps explains yet more reports of our interest in Charlie Adam and intriguingly Arsenal’s Gaël Clichy. The former has been linked with us for some time now and again questions will be asked over the number of midfielders we have if he signs?
The Clichy rumour is a new one, may be the trail for Newcastle’s Enrique has gone cold? There is no doubt that we need to strengthen our defence, especially at left back. Arsenal need to do the same so perhaps Arsene Wenger might be willing to offload him as part of any overhaul? However, I suspect that even Wenger might crack his face into a rare and incredulous smile at our offer which is reportedly only £5m? Does this make sense in the light of the money we paid for Henderson?
So the rumours and speculation are in full flow. All a bit mad but still I guess we can console ourselves that it’s only about players coming and going to or from Liverpool and not their hair or more to the point a lack of it!