Today’s newspapers use the sale of Morientes to create some gossip about the Reds, including the Mirror who use some not-so-clever maths to make Nando sound like a very costly mistake.
The Mirror says his fee was “around £2.5m” and so he was sold at “a hit of nearly £5m for the Merseyside club on a fading star who cost £7m from Real Madrid”. Well if the first and last figures were correct then it would be a difference of £4.5m, but the first figure is out by £1m anyway, the second by £700,000. So the difference between the price paid and received by the Reds for Nando is actually £2.8m. The way transfer fees work though mean Liverpool are actually no worse off than they would have been if Nando’s stay had worked out. Still, it sounds good for the papers.
The Mirror use Nando’s departure as evidence that Dutch World Cup squad member Dirk Kuyt is on his way to Anfield, they say for £10m. (In fact Rafa’s hunt is for two strikers and Kuyt is just one possible candidate in Rafa’s mind). The Mirror acknowledge this and say that Rafa has “Charlton’s Darren Bent top of his list, closely followed by Blackburn’s Craig Bellamy.” Also in the Mirror it says this summer “will see at least seven new faces arrive. Marseille are keen to take French international striker Djibril Cisse – and Benitez will also look to offload winger Harry Kewell, cashing in on the Aussie’s return to form. Squad players Djimi Traore, Jan Kromkamp, Jerzy Dudek, Neil Mellor, Chris Kirkland and Scot Carson will be allowed to leave.”
Harry Kewell is unlikely to leave Anfield and there’s no way that both Dudek and Carson will be allowed to leave the club. Chris Kirkland wouldn’t be prepared to remain a reserve so he’ll not be playing at Anfield next season, but if no buyers are ready to take a chance on him then he could ultimately go out on loan again. We’ve already spoken of Jan Kromkamp’s imminent departure. Neil Mellor is still trying to come back from injury and no decision has been made either way on his future.
One link from the Mirror that is certainly a possibility is for the Reds to move for Seville’s Daniel Alves.
The Guardian are a bit more realistic with the Nando transfer fee, saying it was “a deal worth about £3m, less than half of the fee paid to Real Madrid to sign the striker only 16 months ago.”
The Independent describes Nando’s move back home as the end his “inglorious Liverpool career”. As for the fee, they say, “Liverpool were seeking to recoup £4m of the £6.3m they paid for the 30-year-old in January 2005”. They report accurately that the possibility of an exchange deal to involve Valencia’s Italian forward Marco Di Vaio was Valencia’s idea, not Liverpool’s – Liverpool rejected the idea before Di Vaio spoke in the press about not being a parcel. Also talking of Cissé’s departure, the Independent say Rafa has Kuyt, Defoe and Charlton’s Darren Bent “high on his list”.
Oliver Kay writes in The Times that the fee was “a cut-price £3 million”. Kay says talks were conducted directly between Rafa and Amadeo Carboni, the new sports director of Rafa’s former club. Kay then says that “Morientes and Gines Carvajal, his agent, have already agreed personal terms, although Liverpool are likely to have to contribute a portion of the player’s wages for the next two years as a result of him taking a pay cut.” In fact Liverpool’s deal with Nando is said to have been largely performance-related. He hasn’t actually taken a pay cut of note to go back to Spain.
For Kay the new striking targets are David Villa, of Valencia, Kuyt and Defoe. He also speaks about Daniel Alves being the first choice of Rafa as a new right-winger.