Monday, 23 November 2009

Troublemakers, crocks and has-beens: Who Liverpool FC will REALLY try to sign in January

IT'S just six weeks until the transfer window opens, so who will Liverpool buy?

Tottenham's Roman PavlyuchenkoRuud van Nistelrooy? Carlton Cole? A loan deal for Roman Pavlyuchenko? All have been linked with a January switch to Anfield by the media.

And what about Tottenham's five-goal hero in the 9-1 demolition of Wigan, Jermain Defoe?

Believe it or not, some Liverpool fans actually think that's realistic...time to smell the coffee.

First, there's the evidence of two high-profile interviews in recent weeks - the 5Live Q&A with Liverpool FC managing director Christian Purslow, and the Rafa Benitez interview in The Times.

Purslow told 5Live: "We haven't tended to use January as a significant period for player trading. There may be activity, but I wouldn't say it is a key part of our plan."

And Benitez said: "If we want to have money available, then we have to sell some players. We have to sell expensive and buy as cheaply as possible."

Perhaps most tellingly, writer Tony Evans, Football Editor of The Times, added in that interview: "Manager and chief executive may face a difficult transfer window, with the priority being to lower the wage bill. Three or four players may head out of the Anfield exit door, with none of the cash heading back to Benítez..."

Some fans are speculating that club co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will recognise the need for a quality striker and dip into their personal fortunes to pay for one. Maybe.

LIVERPOOL V ATHLETICO MADRIDOr maybe they'll approach another manager behind Benitez's back - and we all know which they've got previous for...

Whatever happens, it's clear Liverpool are crying out for reinforcements up front with Andriy Voronin failing to recapture the form of either his early days at Anfield, or his loan spell with Hertha Berlin.

Then there's the problems with Fernando Torres' fitness and, while David Ngog has done well, it's too big an ask for a 20-year-old to lead the line on a regular basis.

So it's time for fans to lower their sights. What Liverpool need is a striker who can offer more than Voronin - that is the lowest common denominator.

And given the financial situation, the Reds are looking at a player that is not first choice at another club, maybe getting on in age, has injury problems or has a reputation for having a bad attitude.

Realistically, anyone else will be too expensive.

Whisper it, but we could do worse than look across Stanley Park for inspiration. Louis Saha was allowed to leave Manchester United on a free transfer due to his dire injury record. But Everton have nursed him into form and he has scored nine goals already this season.

Pavlyuchenko for me is a good shout - he's desperate to leave, he's a proven goalscorer and Harry Redknapp clearly doesn't fancy him. But will Spurs really want to loan him to a side they are battling with for a top-four finish?

Defoe, well that's clearly a pipe dream. As, I would suspect, is van Nistelrooy, whose wages alone are likely to be a stumbling block.

Of course, the picture may change if we manage to sell players. But that's a big if. Too many fans think it's simple, offering the 'sell him, him and him and we can buy him' logic.

Like much of the logic around football, it is fatally flawed.

Firstly, some of the Anfield deadwood is hardly likely to be top of the shopping list for other clubs. And teams that are interested will know Liverpool are desperate to sell, and will offer a low price.

Then there's the issue of whether Benitez will actually see the money generated by sales - the reason Voronin is still at the club when there was money on the table for the player from other clubs in the summer.

So, who could we sign?

Well Kevin Davies has been mentioned. Unfashionable, yes. But a proven Premier League performer, and one who can certainly hold the ball up.

And just because players are unfashionable, doesn't mean they can't do a job - remember David Speedie?

Aged 30, he signed for £675,000 in 1991. He was at Anfield for just six months but scored away to Manchester United on his debut, hit two against Everton and finished with stats of six goals in nine starts, with five substitute appearances.

A Speedie-type signing right now would suit Liverpool down to the ground.

My suggestion? What about a loan move for Amr Zaki?

Premier League: Liverpool Slip Up At WiganThe 26-year-old showed he could handle the English game and hit 10 goals while on loan to Wigan, including two against Liverpool.

But after then Latics boss Steve Bruce labelled him the most unprofessional player he had worked with, clubs have hardly been queuing up to tempt him away from the Egyptian Premier League.

But the player himself said: "Yes, I was wrong, but my mistakes were not intentional, they resulted from my trouble adapting to England. I want to get back to England to prove that I am a good player, and that I have learned from my mistakes.

"Maybe if I went back to England, I would finish my career there.''

Just a thought...