What does £15 million buy you these days? That’s the question that Roy Hodgson will now be asking himself after being officially unveiled as the new Liverpool manager. And the answer is perhaps more than one might initially think, particularly this summer.
With the likes of Rafael van der Vaart and Joe Cole in the window, there is certainly opportunities to be had, ones that don’t come about too often. Real Madrid have made it known they are open for offers for the Dutchman, possibly for as little as £10 million. Joe Cole, a free agent after leaving Chelsea is, arguably, the best free transfer of the last few years. Acquiring two players of such quality for £10 million would be a terrific piece of business.
Players in that mould are exactly what this Liverpool squad is missing, skill and flair and with the playmaking capabilities to provide for Fernando Torres. The difficulty Roy Hodgson may find is trying to tempt them into making the move to Anfield at this time. There will certainly be no shortage of suitors for the pair, clubs crucially who have secured Champions League football for the new season. Liverpool may now begin to experience the cost of failure last season. With such a prize unable to be offered, this makes keeping the stellar names like Gerrard and Torres all the more crucial. They are players who others will want to play with, an attraction towards the club whose presence can help us to improve and claim back our place in the elite competition.
Other names mentioned include the Fulham defender Brede Hangeland though this link appears a definite non-starter. After recently losing their manager to Liverpool, you can expect Fulham to demand close to the whole £15 million fund before even discussing the Norwegian defender’s departure. Even if Hangeland could be acquired for less Roy Hodgson, as he stated in his press conference, will not wish to return to his old club and sign one of their best players at a time when disruption has already been caused.
Discount the signings of Rafael van der Vaart and Joe Cole however, and the situation turns grim and very serious for the football club. In short, a transfer fund of £15 million is just not good enough at this moment in time if the club hope to get back on track. That amount would not even come close to signing the number of top class players required. In Liverpool’s current situation they need to add three or four players to the squad all costing upwards of £15 million EACH if they are challenge the teams around them. Manchester City’s recent signing of David Silva for a reported £30 million highlight what Liverpool are now up against. Although in a league of their own when it comes to spending, other clubs have shown they are not afraid to spend big. Spurs have also been seen to spend high amounts on individual players in the past couple of years, a policy that has now reaped big reward.
Liverpool will not challenge for the Premier League or Champions League places with £15 million to spend. Not a chance. Roy Hodgson and the board will obviously be aware of this. And so the worry builds that Liverpool need an injection of cash, and that injection will have to come from player sales, selling a big asset to provide the manager with the funds that the owners just don’t have. Hodgson’s quotes at his press conference were telling, “the board have made clear that if we were unfortunate to lose somebody then that money would be made available”.
In this instance supporters will hope that Hodgson takes option number one, being that any exits to raise cash will be restricted to the likes of Albert Riera, Ryan Babel and the Ngogs of this world, players that without obviously commanding big fees individually could collectively bring in a decent amount of cash and be replaced with players of greater quality. Whilst fans try to ignore the ongoing speculation regarding Gerrard and Torres, there is a feeling amongst us that the rumours about Javier Mascherano may have more strength to them. After stalling on a new contract and an unhappy wife to deal with, Mascherano has also made clear his disappointment at Benitez’s exit. He is certainly one of Liverpool’s best players and thus will be hugely missed if he was to leave. However as the one player, besides Gerrard and Torres, who can command a big fee, the decision may be taken that they have to sell the Argentine, without then having to sell the two untouchables. This appears to be option number two for the manager to think over. Ultimately it should be his decision to sell any player and that’s the way it should always be. Time for the hard work to begin.
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