Monday, 4 January 2010

LIVERPOOL FC: So who is Rafa Benitez really going to buy in January?

David Villa

PIPE DREAM | David Villa won't be heading for Anfield  

SO the transfer window's swinging wide open and fans and the media are working themselves into a frenzy playing the guessing game about who's going where.

Liverpool have been linked to ELEVEN players in the last two weeks in the national press, but it doesn't take a genius to work out which stories can be dismissed as complete fantasy.

Basically, if the players mentioned cost anything of note, they won't be coming to Anfield.

It's well documented that Rafa Benitez is now operating within extremely tight financial constraints. The club is operating under a strict sell-to-buy policy, a fact alluded to in Benitez's extensive interview with The Times recently.

Club managing director Christian Purslow also warned fans in an interview with FiveLive's Sportsweek before the home game with Manchester United that this window wouldn't be a time for big business by LFC.

Despite that some seem to be living in an alternative reality, like it's all a big a lie, and so the rumours continue and the pointless debate goes on.

Today an article on the internet linked the Reds to a £3million move for Aston Villa's John Carew. So where's that £3m coming from then?

Benitez has to SELL first. And what Liverpool player that's up for sale would fetch that £3m? Phillip Degen? Doubt it. Andrea Dossena? Maybe. Andriy Voronin. Possibly.

But until that happens - and there's no guarantees - there is nothing to spend. Nada. Nil. Zero. Zilch.

Even incoming loans or freebies have to be offset by something going the other way so, unless Tom Hicks and Geroge Gillett suddenly break their silence and ride into L4 on white horses clutching bags of money, it's the bargain basement for Rafa, the bring and buy, the car booty.

And with that in mind, it's easy to see which players we've been linked are realistic - and which most definitely are not.

ASTON VILLA V WIGAN ATHLETICAccording to Football Transfer League, these are the players that have been linked most to Liverpool since September, with the number representing how many times a story has appeared about that player in the national press.

8 Emile Heskey (Aston Villa)
8 Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid)
4 Victor Moses (Crystal Palace)
3 Carlton Cole (West Ham)
3 Scott Parker (West Ham)
3 Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham)
3 Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid)
3 Frederic Piquionne (Lyon)
2 David Villa (Valencia)
2 Klaas Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan)

Of them, there seems to be more questions than answers. Like why would Martin O'Neill sell to a manager rivalling him for the top four? Ditto Harry Redknapp.

Rodriguez aside (yes, it's still on), the rest look sure to attract a transfer fee, or in the case of Real Madrid players, huge wages.

And David Villa? Please, that must have been in The People...

So while I, like most Liverpool fans, would love to see a string of reinforcements arriving at Anfield during the transfer window, I won't be holding my breath and certainly won't be placing any bets.

Because just a few weeks ago, the smart money was on not a single new face arriving at Liverpool in January.

Now, one looks sure. But beyond that? Well let's just hope someone somewhere has a Voronin, Degen or Dossena-sized hole in their squad and money to burn...