So the transfer window has closed and now we know who the Red’s runners and riders will be to take us into the New Year.
As usual Sky covered the evening’s unfolding events in their own “unique” manner which included serving up Big Ben chimes and fireworks at the end of the deadline. I’m tempted to mock but it’s much, much more preferable to New Year’s Eve!
Throughout the summer many Liverpool fans have said that with the new signings the midfield is now top heavy and that defensively we need new blood. Yesterday we saw those “imbalances” balanced, all in all it was good business. At the back Sebastian Coates joins Jose Enrique to hopefully add extra steel and stinginess whilst the middle is trimmed of excess fat with the departure of Christina Poulsen and Joe Cole (on loan) to clubs across the channel. Vive le Entente Cordiale and all that!
However, on the night perhaps the biggest attention was paid to Raul Meireles. Sky suggested that he handed in a written transfer request late on in the evening. I suspect this just an attempt to rack up the excitement and tension. Liverpool announced this in the evening which it doesn’t necessarily mean Meireles handed it in at a late stage particularly if he wasn’t assured of getting a move. As ever these things are linked but we had an inkling about the way things were going yesterday. Chelsea’s £40m offer for Luca Modric was rebuffed by Spurs so they turned their attention to Meireles. Yesterday it was reported that we had rejected their offer of Yossi Benayoun and some cash so presumably Meireles took umbrage and put pen to paper?
Result or not? Perhaps one should understand Meireles wanting to link up with Andre Villas-Boas however, if his head is turned so quickly and easily then, despite his good form last season, we are best off without him. On paper we now have decent, even better, alternatives and throughout the summer there was always an underlying hint or suggestion that Meireles wasn’t really part of Kenny’s plans anyway?
I guess, as with Torres, we are paying the price for lack of Champions Football, however as the striker has found out, the grass isn’t always greener. As I write I don’t know the fee but hopefully we have secured a decent return in excess of the £11.5m we paid for Meireles. Thankfully Yossi Benayoun is not part of the deal. He has gone to Arsenal on loan where his fiddly, fannying around style will be ideally suited their play!
Elsewhere and the departure of Joe Cole to Lille, albeit on loan, fills me with disappointment. It was only last summer that many were calling for Cole’s inclusion in the England starting line up as they fumbled and bumbled their way through the World Cup. I was reading through some of my posts that dealt with Cole’s signing. They were optimistic partly because of the World Cup thing I guess. However, things have changed since then injury, and an inability to make his mark, have meant it has come to this.
I don’t know what the problem is (or was) with Cole. Lack of confidence? Lack of opportunity? Lack of adaptability – Cole likes to play “in the hole” but has played most of his game for us out wide. You certainly couldn’t fault his attitude it was painful at times seeing his frustration as another pass or move went astray because of him. His sending off for a tackle on Arsenal’s Koscielny in his first game wasn’t down to maliciousness but a misguided, overenthusiastic desire to do well? Hopefully the move and a change of scenery and some regular first team footy, some in the Champions League, will increase his confidence and who knows, we may reap the benefits in the future I hope so as I don’t want us to regard him as “the one that got away”. Sadly however I’ve a feeling he may not be back.
Even though he has broadly the same amount of chances as Cole, I don’t think many fans will be too disappointed by the departure of Christian Poulsen for Evian (that’s the French Club he joined not what we got for him!). We signed Poulsen for £4.5m last summer and to many along with Paul Konchesky he, perhaps unfairly, epitomised the bad times we experienced under Roy Hodgson. It is wrong to make someone a scapegoat so let’s be positive and say that if it hadn’t be for the competition offered by Poulsen perhaps Lucas won’t have improved into the player he is now? I’ll drop these straws now as I’ve been clutching at them for too long!
One wonders what Sebastian Coates can bring to the back? He has all the right signs, a first glance anyway. He is young and voted best young player in the recent Copa America. He has Luis Suarez to keep him company and the striker played a significant part in persuading him to come here. I don’t know if Coates will initially be flung into the first team however with Jamie Carragher approaching the “twilight” of his career and Daniel Agger’s continued susceptibility to injury it is surely a question of when and not if.
Damian Comolli believes we’ve got a bargain. After listing attributes which would rank him alongside Moore, Beckenbaur and Maldini he then got “real” and went on to slightly contradict himself
“We think he is the complete package. He is only 20 so there is a lot of time for improvement”
Inevitably some will have doubts about Coates’ ability to adapt to the pace of the Premiership? Initially may be this will be the case but at his age would you really expect to be buying the complete player? As Comolli said he is young and will learn and playing a part, at the age of twenty, in leading his country to a major national title is a really good start.
David Ngog’s departure to Bolton appears to have been on the cards for some time. The fee is undisclosed but as figures of £4m – £5m have been bandied around, one can assume that it is about that? Although Ngog had his moments he was far too inconsistent which I guess wasn’t helped through not getting a decent run in the team. His chances and his inability to seize them by taking them were limited and the signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez reduced his prospects even further. Presumably he will have more opportunities at Bolton but is that certain?
Finally and, as expected, Ngog’s departure has meant the arrival of Craig Bellamy – oh dear. Sky kept repeatedly pointing out that his squad number would be 39 which is hopefully not the amount of days that will pass before he makes an arse of himself again!