A reaction to a good list of potential signings.
West Ham watchers are increasingly resigning themselves to a fire sale this January as their financial woes catch up with them. But while Liverpool have got cash issues themselves, they may be willing to strike to secure up a defence which has not had the resilience of last season – particularly as Upson is about to enter the final year of his contract and could be available for a cut-price £5m.
Bruno Ecuele Manga
Liverpool are among a number of clubs tracking Angers SCO’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, according to the defender’s agent. The Gabonese is currently playing in the French second division, but Reds boss Rafa Benitez is said to have sent scouts to check on his progress.
Kristján Gauti Emilsson
Benitez, despite the rumours and theories swirling around Merseyside, may still be thinking he’s there for the long-term and may cast his eyes to the horizon rather than short-term successes. Hence his reported interest in 16-year-old ‘wonderkid’ Kristján Gauti Emilsson.
Rafael van der Vaart
While the Aquilani mystery goes on, so the feeling persists that Benitez is looking for more invention in midfield. Van der Vaart was thought to be about to sign for Everton in the summer, before deciding to give Real Madrid one more go. That final heave hasn’t looked too successful, though, and Real are thought to be happy to let him go this January. A loan period, with a view to a permanent signing when the summer transfer funds are released, could be the way forward.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who is out of favour at Inter Milan, is believed to be keen on a move back to the Premier League in a bid to bolster his chances of claiming a place in France’s World Cup squad. Benitez, meanwhile wants strength and experience in his midfield with Javier Mascherano and Lucas both struggling for form and Aquilani a frustrated figure. Vieira is past his best, but his steel and experience could make him an invaluable stop-gap signing.
The rumours surrounding Mascherano continue, with Barcelona allegedly ready with their cash. So Benitez may want to strengthen his options sooner rather than later. Mutterings in Madrid suggest that Lassana Diarra is not happy in Madrid and would welcome a return to the Premier League. And Benitez is in need of some oomph in central midfield to replace the lightweight Lucas and free up Steven Gerrard to be more forward thinking. The price tag will be hefty but if Mascherano does make a bolt for it, the money (probably not far short of £20m) will be there.
Ruud van Nistlerooy
The former Manchester United forward could be set for a move to Anfield. The Dutchman has fallen down the pecking order at Real Madrid and is desperate for first-team football to secure a place at the World Cup. Arsenal had reportedly been leading the chase but reports suggest the 33-year-old favours a move to Anfield. Van Nistelrooy has made it clear his is open to a return to the Premier League, and a high-profile club would suit him at this stage of his career.
With Fernando Torres proving fragile, there are reports that Liverpool are planning a swoop for West Ham striker Carlton Cole. The England man has been attracting interest from a number of clubs and due to the Hammers’s financial difficulties it is understood they will be forced to listen to offers. The former Chelsea striker, currently injured, has been a consistent performer since moving to Upton Park and has scored six goals in the Premier League so far this season. He would add goals and muscle to a rather threadbare Liverpool attack.
Barcelona beat Liverpool to the signing of £12m Brazilian striker Keirrison last summer. The striker, now on loan at Benfica, may be ready to move on, since his opportunities in Portugal have been few and far between. He is likely to get more first team action at Liverpool (during Torres’ assumed absences at least), but it may be that a loan deal, with a view to a possible long-term deal may be the best bet to give all parties all the options.
Pavlyuchenko has made no secret of his discontent at White Hart Lane in recent weeks and has been linked with a number of clubs as he looks to secure some first-team football. Liverpool and Spartak Moscow are reportedly among the clubs interested in the Russia international, who has slipped behind Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe in the pecking order at White Hart Lane. It may seem like a long time ago, but Pavlyuchenko was regarded as one of Europe’s finest before he disappeared at Tottenham. If Benitez were to rescue his career, it could also save his own. (Independent)
With our season shot to pieces just a few months after it started it would be good to think we would be bringing in some new blood in January but any interest in potential signings is tempered by the knowledge we don’t necessarily have a great deal of cash to invest and indeed any signings made would depend on players we might offload to fund additions.
Of the ten targets listed here there are some who really are mouthwatering, perhaps the most interesting would be in the form of Rafael Van der Vaart. We could do with some more creativity in our midfield and the Real Madrid bench warmer is a top notch playmaker who is looking for a new challenge after seeing his position at the Bernabeu become untenable.
I would question the signings of defensive midfielders such as Lassana Diarra or veteran Patrick Vieira and moves to capture such players would only be relevant if we did lose Javier Mascherano, which may or may not be on the cards. I rate Real Madrid’s Lassana and would see him as the best replacement if indeed Javier did make his much anticipated move to Barcelona.Then we come to a crucial area of improvement that is so desperately needed at Anfield, the attack.
We know that without Fernando Torres we are pretty much impotent. David Ngog has shown good potential but is not ready to be thrown in at the deep end and we are woefully short of options up front. Roman Pavlyuchenko may be a reasonably plausible signing as the Russian sees himself struggling to make a name for himself at White Hart Lane. Carlton Cole in my opinion isn’t good enough to pursue even though he has greatly improved and Ruud Van Nistlerooy would be a decent short term solution but ideally any striker signing would also in theory work well alongside Torres if indeed Rafa decided on occasion to play two up top and in that regard I could see a combination of Pavlyuchenko and El Nino working pretty damn well as they have attributes that could complement each other effectively.
January could be more about some chopping and changing rather than wholesale changes. We need more options of quality to really be able to put together a good run of results and in turn improve confidence in the camp. The reality may see us not making a single new signing, which would be a shame. There are a good half a dozen players we could happily sell, players who have little to offer the side, and then if are wise in the transfer market we could come out the other end with a better chance of clinching that coveted top four spot as well as perhaps a bit of cup silverware.