Has Rafa Benitez’s transfer policy the main reason Liverpool are in such dire straits?
He came very highly rated from Valencia, a La Liga winner and UEFA Cup winner he came to Liverpool under a wave of expectation. It was not long before he fulfilled this expectation by winning the Champions League in his first season. You may or may not remember that thrilling, emotional and spectacular evening in Istanbul during 2005. Many would think this should have been the start of a new era for the Anfield club, moving from strength to strength, dominating at home and abroad as the once did, but it was not to be. Nearly five years on and Liverpool are in a state of disarray.
Manchester United have levelled the league score at 18 a piece, and with no trophies since 2006, the club has not reached the heights expected circa 2005. Financial trouble is dogging the club and boardroom upheaval has not helped the Spaniards cause, but is Rafa more to blame than some have said, and in particular his transfer policy, which has been shambolic to say the least.
His first signing Josemi a right-back from Málaga made just 16 starts in 18 months at Anfield before being sent to Villarreal as part of an exchange deal, £2 million well spent indeed. A number or Spaniards have followed Rafa from Spain, Fernando Morientes, Antonio Nunez, Luis Garcia, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fernando Torres to name but a few. It can be argued most have been flops other than Arbleoa and the fantastic FT, but he has got it wrong with home-grown talent as well. Craig Bellamy, Scott Carson, Jermaine Pennant, Robbie Keane and for me £18 million on Glen Johnson is not good business.
We cannot be all doom and gloom, there is enough negativity floating around Anfield as it is. Benitez has made some excellent signings, the aforementioned Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt, Javier Mascherano and Martin Skrtel. Although many are not on the same level of club Captain Steven Gerrard or Torres, they have done extremely well for club and manager.
Its all well and good being hit or miss in the transfer market, but if you think about the other 20+ players brought in by Rafa who have fallen by the wayside then you begin to question, first the number of players brought in and second, why they have somewhat flopped spectacularly. In particular, Ryan Babel and Lucas.
Having spent over £220 million pounds during his tenure, has he truly blown the budget given the team’s apparent financial troubles and lack of form or even spirit. Dumped out of the F.A. Cup, Champions League and not likely to win the Premier League, no Carling Cup, so salvation must lie on success in the Europa League. Rafa, it is not good enough.
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