Rafael Benitez has this morning confirmed last night’s breaking news that Liverpool were close to bringing Dutch international star Jan Kromkamp to Anfield in a swap deal for Spaniard Josemi. As was reported last night, the two clubs have agreed terms with each other, but now the two players need to be convinced that the move suits them.
Rafa revealed that both players are having trouble at their current clubs because of the language barrier.
Kromkamp cost Villareal €7million (approx £4.8million) when he move from Alkmaar in the summer, with Josemi costing Liverpool £2million 18 months ago. Despite this difference in perceived valuations, reports suggest that this will be a straight swap with no cash added on.
Speaking at today’s press conference, Benitez explained: “We have an agreement with Villarreal, and if we can get an agreement with both the players then we will swap them. Josemi is a right-back with some problems here with English, and Kromkamp has problems with Spanish at his new club.”
The policy at Anfield and Melwood is that all communication should be in English, and it seems Josemi has found it difficult. “Maybe this swap will be good for both of them. Josemi is happy here, he’s a good professional, but he sometimes prefers to talk in Spanish and to do that when he is with the Spanish players here.” No doubt Jamie Carragher will be pleased if the swap goes ahead, as the loudest voice on the field he expects his full-backs to understand the orders he’s dishing out to them.
Kromkamp has not been able to pick up the language in Spain and no doubt have faced similar troubles himself, as Rafa says: “Kromkamp has the same problem at Villarreal with the Spanish language. We still need to talk to both players, but in a few days maybe he will be here training with us. He is a strong full-back, aggressive and offensive. He can play as a full-back or a wing-back, but I would rather now wait to make sure the deal can be completed.”
If Kromkamp does become a Red, he’ll be despised even more by Manchester United supporters. When Villareal played United prior to their Champions League exit this season, Kromkamp was involved in the incident that saw Gabriel Heinze suffer an injury he’s yet to recover from.
Seville had also been looking at buying Josemi, but their valuation wasn’t close to Liverpool’s and they may now have missed their chance, as Rafa told reporters: “Josemi had interest from Seville, but Villarreal have now talked to us and we have a deal with them but still need to talk to Kromkamp. It is very difficult to play in another country and he has had trouble learning Spanish. He is maybe too offensive for a defender there because they need to strengthen at the back.”
Josemi has at least had some team-mates and coaching staff that are able to speak his language – not the case for Kromkamp: “Josemi has improved his English, but for him and his family it has been difficult. Kromkamp has the same problems because I think 100% of the team at Villarreal only talk Spanish, no English, and that has been really difficult for him.”