Football agents don’t always act in their clients’ best interests, and it looks like Yossi Benayoun’s is the latest one to speak out in a way that could be damaging for his player.
Rafa Benítez has a reputation for rotating his players, and this summer he took steps to ensure he had at least two decent-quality players for every position. When the games are coming thick and fast the changes will be more apparent than ever as Rafa tries to ensure that the eleven players on the pitch at any one time are as close to 100% fit as possible. In quieter times his selection will be based on a mixture of how well a player has been performing, and which players he feels are best suited to the opposition. Nobody, perhaps except the goalkeeper Pepe Reina, can expect to start all the major games.
That rule applies to the more expensive signings like Fernando Torres and the longer-established players like Steven Gerrard. So Yossi Benayoun has quite a disappointment in store if he thinks he’ll be starting every game.
His agent – Ronan Katzav -has made the mistake of giving Rafa an ultimatum: Play Yossi or he’ll be leaving. Rafa’s answer is likely to be along the lines of ‘Shut up or he’ll be leaving anyway.’
Katzav was interviewed on Israeli radio and said: “If Yossi won’t be involved enough he will think of moving to a medium-sized team. When we first met with Rafa Benítez, he asked for a lot of patience since there is a huge squad at Liverpool.”
So far Yossi has been involved in one of the three matches since the start of the season. Katzav went on: “We don’t analyse each match. Yossi has patience and motivation and he will get his chance. When you are taking a decision to move to Liverpool, you are prepared for all possibilities and Yossi decided to follow his heart. The target was to try and integrate in the team and I’m sure he will play a lot. Naturally, Yossi wants to be in the squad and knows he has a lot of work to do but if he won’t play for a long period we will think again.”
It’s important to point out that this was the player’s agent, not the player, making these ultimatums, but no doubt Rafa will mention the quotes to Yossi at some point. The agent was speaking about the situation because it seems the media in Israel assumed their hero Benayoun was good enough to walk straight into Liverpool’s first team. In fact Yossi’s chance for that still has time to come to fruition – Rafa has made it clear that he doesn’t want to introduce too many new players at a time this season, preferring instead to introduce them slowly.