Today is the last day of the transfer window in the UK, and Europe, a last chance to buy a player or three to help chase a place in Europe. Or to stave off relegation. While the window opens on January 1st, the most exciting deals are often completed in the final hours on the 31st and this year is no exception. Especially if, like me, your team is Liverpool. Especially after the painful torment of the first half of the season, with a dunce for a manager, two crooked owners and the crazy threat of relegation hanging over the club.
But we’ve got what we wanted. Hicks and Gillett are gone, and so is Hodgson. King Kenny is back in charge after a 20 year absense, and our star player, Fernando Torres, is firing again. Except. Torres then goes and hands in a transfer request. He will in all likelihood be a Chelsea player by 11pm this evening, heading one way down the motorway while £50 million is going in the opposite direction. Disaster?
Not in my opinion. In fact I am feeling more positive about the second half of the season than I ever thought I would be. As I write, Newcastle have just accepted Liverpool’s record breaking bid of £35 million for striker Andy Carroll, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez has agreed terms on a £23 million deal, Charlie Adam looks like switches Pool’s, from Black to Liver, and there may yet be more to come.
I’ve been suggesting for the last year at least that if someone comes in for Torres with £50 million or more, the club should take the cash and run. Nando has spent far too long injured over the last couple of years, and I have more than a sneaky feeling that he’ll carry on hogging a table in the physio room for years to come. Yep, he’s a fine striker, one of the best. Yep, his goals per games ratio will always be better than Carroll’s over the long term. But no, he probably won’t be scoring in as many games. And that is key. Goals in bunches looks great, but earns very few points. We need a player who can scores 10 goals in 20 games, not a player who’ll score 11 goals in 5 games.
Carroll is just 22 years old too, and will undoubtedly improve further still. He is the closest thing in the Premier League to Alan Shearer in terms of attributes – great with his head and with either foot, from 1 yard out or 20. Not that he is the ‘new’ Alan Shearer. The stats reveal there is really only one Alan Shearer, metaphorically as well as literally. And Carroll is a perfect foil for Suarez, who can add some very literal bite to the Liverpool attack. If his name sounds familiar, it may be because he was the guy who broke Ghana’s heart in the World Cup with his handy intervention.
Liverpool still lack width, and I’d have loved to see a wide player or two come into the squad. I guess there’s still four hours of the transfer window going, so you never know. Defensively, the team have looked fragile for a year, so strengthening there would have been nice too. But that may stretch the coffers too far. There’s a recession on, you know. The prices we’ve paid for Carroll and Suarez are way, way over the odds, but if they work out, and if Torres does go on to have an injury plagued few years, then this might well be looked back on as having been good business.