As well as unveiling Dutch international midfielder Bolo Zenden as a new Liverpool player today, Rafael Benitez took the opportunity to point out that he was just one of four players signed today – and that there are two or three more still to come this week.
Zenden joined from Middlesborough on a free transfer and may make his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt this weekend at Wrexham for Liverpool’s opening pre-season fixture.
The manager also revealed that he’s signed, as expected, goalkeeper Jose Reina from Villareal. Also on Liverpool’s books now is Chilean international winger Mark Gonzales and a young right back, Antonio Barragan who has signed from Sevilla.
Rafa said that: "We have today introduced Bolo Zenden as a Liverpool player but we have also signed Jose Reina, the best goalkeeper in Spain, Mark Gonzales, the best player in Chile and Antonio Barragan." Barragan is likely to start his Anfield career in the reserves as he is nurtured by Rafa’s coaching staff.
As if four players wasn’t enough, Benitez also revealed: "We will be signing two or three more players this week." Strong rumours that Luis Figo could be one of those won’t go away, although again there are stories about the players wage demands being higher than Liverpool are prepared to meet.
Zenden was the first of the players to be revealed to the press, with the others expected later today or later this week. The former Barcelona player said: "I am absolutely delighted to be signing for Liverpool. When a club like this comes in for you then you don’t need asking twice."
Zenden is well aware of the work of manager Benitez, but said all the right things about what he thinks of the Anfield club and their supporters: "Rafa Benitez was a big influence in me coming here but the biggest influence was Liverpool FC as a name and its magnificent fans."
Zenden looks back as fondly as the rest of us on that day in May when Liverpool became European Champions, as he recalls: "I watched the Champions League final in a hotel and the thing that stuck in my mind was at half time when we were 3-0 down and all you could hear were our fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone." Notice he said "we" and "our". The open-top bus parade thrilled him too: "I saw the scenes from the parade of the city and they were absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait to play my first game in a Liverpool shirt."
It’s unfortunate for Zenden that these words may go unheard on a day when the headlines have been hijacked by stories about another Reds midfielder.