High flying Birmingham City make offer for Anfield flop.
Birmingham City yesterday kicked off the January transfer sales with an £8m bid for Liverpool’s Dutch winger Ryan Babel in the first indication that new owner Carson Yeung is ready to back his manager, Alex McLeish, with significant funds. Babel, 23, has been open about his disillusionment at Liverpool and is willing to move this month although the clubs are still some way off in their valuation of the player. Liverpool rate Babel at around £12m, having bought him from Ajax for £11.7m, and are unlikely to accept Birmingham’s first bid.
Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, said on Friday that he was not planning to sell Babel although he will have to raise money if he is to buy players in this transfer window. Babel has never made the progress that was hoped for when Benitez took a gamble signing him in 2007. Babel is regarded as the most saleable asset that Liverpool can afford to let leave. While Benitez is not blessed with great depth in his squad, he does have cover in the left-sided positions. He desperately needs to sign a striker, possibly Roman Pavlyuchenko from Spurs, but in order to do so he will need to earn money from sales.
The offer for Babel demonstrates how serious the Birmingham ownership are about backing McLeish, whose team are eighth in the table after a run of seven wins and four draws in their last 11 league games. McLeish would like to strengthen the entire team but a left-sided player is one of his priorities. (Independent)
When Benitez has determined which striker he will sign, he will then swiftly turn his attentions to bringing in a wide player who can help provide the threat that has been missing this season.
He has looked at Erik Huseklepp a 25 year old Norwegian international who can also fill in as a striker, after the Brann Bergen midfielder starred against Scotland for his country recently.
He has also looked at Celtic’s Aiden McGeady, Arda Turan, the captain of Galatasaray who has 34 caps for Turkey and Eljero Elia a 22, Dutch international who plays for Hamburg.
Benitez will wait to see how much money he has left after trying to sell at least four players in the window, but he is determined to also bring in a winger as well as a striker to bolster his squad as he looks to markedly improve performances in the New Year. (Sunday Mercury)
You have to wonder if indeed Liverpool did accept such a bid whether Ryan Babel would fancy a move to St Andrews, my guess is that he would not be too keen and would perhaps rather hold out for a move elsewhere and perhaps a move back to Holland would be more likely than a transfer to Birmingham who may well be resurgent but could still find it hard to persuade players of Babel’s status to make such a move.
The Dutch winger has been hugely disappointing since he moved to Anfield two and a half years ago. Rafa Benitez has tried his hardest to accommodate the former Ajax man’s inconsistent performances and even attempted to play him up front but he would surely take any decent offer now so that he could re-invest the cash to help improve the Liverpool squad and of the three players mentioned Turkish playmaker Arda Turan is perhaps the most impressive and most plausible addition.
There is no doubting the stunning start Alex McLeish has aided his side into and it seems the club can forget about any relegation battle for this term but it could take a season or two of stability to help show prospective signings that Birmingham are in the Premier League for the long haul.