Lining Up Bids. Ronaldinho, Elia, Hazard, N'Zogbia, Bentley, Jarvis, New Faces in New Places?
by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
December, 22 2010
The rumor mill of transfer news continues to swirl around Anfield like the winter weather of the past weekend in Britain. The Liverpool giants are in the news almost as much as Manchester City as far as transfer news goes lately. The change over in ownership to John W. Henry and New England Sports Ventures in October has given the club a much needed opportunity for cash injection and investment. However, it will be key to see just how and where the money will be spent. With NESV already showing they are in it for the long haul with teams, having proved themselves and their model with the Boston Red Sox, it will be an interesting project to watch develop.
The biggest name commercially that is still being tossed around is Ronaldinho. The Brazilian play maker has been out of favor with AC Milan over the last few months, and critisism from the club owner over his resurfaced poor training habits leaves his future in Italy in doubt. That being said, commercially he certainly is a big name that catches the eye, and his class is masterful when he is in form, however, it remains to be seen if he will recapture the form that made his name for his time at Barcelona. The poor training, and wild party life cost him his spot there, and is now looking to have cost him another. Do the Reds really need a big name bad influence in the changing room? I think not. I see a very slim chance this is anything more than a rumor.
Given the pronounced goal for long term investment I am more likely to believe that the new owners will splash cash on possibly one or two established stars, and then more on younger players that are nearly ready for first team action. With this in mind I also see them spending money on those that have already broken into the first teams but are still developing their potential to be big stars.
This idea leads the debate over the possibilities of a new winger or two for the club. Youth is on the side of nearly all of the names mentioned to come into to bolster the attacking flanks. Recently Eden Hazard (Lille), Eljero Elia (HSV), Charles N'Zogbia (Wigan) , Matt Jarvis (Wolves), and David Bentley (Spurs) have all been reportedly on the wish list of Roy Hodgson. The most likely I could see the Reds moving for are Elia, Jarvis, of Bentley. Those three would be at most likely a better price tag then Eden Hazard or N'Zogbia.
Splashing the cash will also require the movement of several players out of the squad. Milan Jovanovic is believed to be under the watch of German sides Cologne and Hamburg. The later being the home of Elia could offer a cash plus switch option on either side to make it a more cash friendly option. This leads me to continue to believe this is a more than likely move to be made.
Christian Poulsen is also reportedly on the way out in January as another six month in and out as he has failed to produce anything to believe he can handle the pressures of the Premiership.The exit of the Dane would allow for the arrival of another transfer target and free up more access cash. The need for midfield bolstering is apparent after the loss of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano in back to back seasons. Lucas Leiva has come into his own, but he and Steven Gerrard cannot carry the load alone, and young Jay Spearing still is not ready for constant involvement just yet. He still needs another year or two of careful development to ensure he is mentally and physically prepared.
The window is growing ever so near and it will be a wild flurry of movement I believe for Liverpool and new football strategy director Damien Comolli. The former Spurs man brought in some great talent during his time in London and is hoped to do the same for the Reds. With only nine days till the transfer period, it looks to be a busy holiday season.