Reports: Dossena set for Reds, Lee delighted to join

With Rafa Benítez having already lined-up one new full-back in Swiss right-back Philipp Degen, the Liverpool boss is now linked with another in Italian left-back Andrea Dossena.

26-year-old Dossena made his one-and-only international appearance for the World Champions in a friendly against South Africa last October, getting the assist for Lucarelli’s only goal of the game. Italy coach Roberto Donadoni still hasn’t named his squad for the Euro 2008 finals and is giving little away as to who might be in it, but the Udinese number 8 will consider himself a possibility.

Andrea Dossena (No 8) celebrates scoringTottenham have been linked with the Udinese defender too, but are no longer believed to be interested. The fee quoted in reports linking him with Spurs was £8m. Reports in the Italian press claim a deal with Liverpool is close, saying Liverpool have already agreed personal terms with the player’s agent, Federico Pastorello, and are now talking to Udinese about the fee.

Udinese director general Pietro Leonardi played down the links yesterday: “We have always said that we will not change the team. For Dossena to Liverpool there is nothing concrete, he has a contract with us until 2012 and the rest is speculation.”

Dossena has been with Udinese since 2006, and has had two red cards so far in this Italian season, which ends tomorrow. Udinese visit AC Milan who are hoping for three points and favours elsewhere to get them a Champions League qualifying spot. Udinese will finish in at least seventh place and have already qualified for the UEFA Cup.

With Liverpool set to release John Arne Riise, and Fabio Aurelio’s Anfield career so far suffering numerous injury-related interruptions the need for a quality left-back isn’t in doubt. Emiliano Insua is still considered one for the future, but can expect more involvement next season than this.

Despite Scott Carson’s recent complaints about feeling trapped at Anfield because of the fee Liverpool are asking for him, fellow reserve goalkeeper David Martin has just signed a new contract, keeping him at the club for two more years from now. Signed from MK Dons in 2006, Martin, 22, knows that getting to the front of the queue currently headed by Pepe Reina will be a tall task. He’s yet to make a first-team appearance but he’s been on the bench nineteen times in his two years at the club.

Carson, also 22, said earlier this week that the £10m fee Liverpool have reportedly put on his head is too high: “It’s too much. It’s stupid money really. You pay £10million for a goalkeeper who is 27, 28 and the finished article. To be honest, I’m far from the finished article. I have got another five years of learning. I don’t think Liverpool are stupid. They know what I’m worth. They would have recouped what they paid for me in loan fees over the last couple of years.” Liverpool paid £1m for him in 2005, Villa are believed to have paid £2m for his services just for this season’s loan.

Carson clearly feels it’s time to call an end to his Anfield days, and doesn’t particularly mind where he goes: “So hopefully, they can help me out and if there is a sniff of going somewhere, then hopefully they will respect my wishes and help me that way. I would like to get settled but it’s not up to me. Whether it’s Villa or anyone else, it’s up to them to try to sort it out. I haven’t got a clue what’s happening. I haven’t even spoken to Liverpool.”

A compromise is likely to be reached eventually; whatever Carson’s true value is he would be an expensive reserve goalkeeper. And he doesn’t want to be a reserve goalkeeper: “I want to play football. I have played football for the last two seasons and I don’t think I will be content with sitting on the bench. I still don’t know what’s around the corner. I have got a couple of weeks now to think about what’s going to happen. As it stands, I go back to Liverpool but I want to be playing first-team football. Liverpool have got a great keeper in Pepe Reina and he’s going to take a lot of shifting.”

Carson seems to be as much a victim of the uncertainty that is hovering over Anfield as anyone else: “It might be the time for me to move on but I don’t know Rafa’s thoughts and I don’t know if anyone is going to agree a fee with Liverpool. It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.”

One positive piece of news this week came in the small, some would say (or sing) rotund, shape of Sammy Lee. The former Reds midfield star was confirmed as the new assistant to Rafa this week and made his first appearance at Melwood in his new role, on the last day of training.

Rafa said of his new assistant: “He is a very experienced and very well respected coach in his own right and his reputation in football made him the outstanding candidate when we knew we were looking for a new member of our coaching staff. We are very pleased because he is someone who knows the club really well. He also knows about the passion of the club and about the standards that we set here so that will make it much easier for him to settle into his new role.

“But we have not brought Sammy back simply because he used to play for the club and used to work here as a coach. He will add something different to what we already have and it will be good to work with him. I already have a good relationship with him and I will be looking to build on that in the weeks and months to come.”

Sammy Lee back at MelwoodLee said of his return: “When a club the size of Liverpool comes in for you, and when a manager of the magnitude of Rafael Benitez wants you, then you cannot say no. When I found out they were interested in me I was really thrilled. After the sabbatical I have had I just wish the season was starting tomorrow, but the players have had a long, difficult and demanding season and they need to get away and get their batteries recharged.

“I have been around the Melwood training ground this morning and seen a lot of old faces but a lot of new faces as well. I have shaken hands with everyone and introduced myself. There are some great people here and I cannot wait to get working with them. It is so nice to be back.”

Of his time at the Reebok Lee said: “I was very honoured and privileged to be given the position as Bolton manager. The pride and the honour I felt to be their manager was only outweighed by the sheer disappointment that it did not go well. I have to say the Bolton fans were fantastic towards me. I have not had the chance to say that before but I want to thank them. Even when results were not going well they were very supportive towards me and, most importantly, to the players.”

Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie denied his club had been talking to Peter Crouch the night before: “It’s a lot of nonsense to say we were negotiating to buy him last night. We are all concentrating on the FA Cup final.” That game is this afternoon at Wembley, against Cardiff, and unfortunately Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler didn’t quite make it back to fitness in time for a place on the bench for the South Wales side.

Blackburn winger David Bentley’s name has cropped up again as a target of Rafa’s, with Jermaine Pennant’s name again on the list of likely departures. Gareth Barry’s potential arrival won’t be as a replacement for Xabi Alonso, but Martin O’Neill needs to calm down a touch first before any constructive discussions over a fee can be had.

159 thoughts on “Reports: Dossena set for Reds, Lee delighted to join”

  1. @Fred: Raju was being humorous, sarcastic, ironic, taking the proverbial – he’s certainly no fan of the Americans.

  2. “I can’t see DIC, unless they completely change tack and run us as something close to a hobby, finding a great deal more money than Tom Hicks for the purposes of going back into the club.”

    Jim you just got to be joking, DIC will put whatever it needs into the club for success. They will want to compete with best clubs in the world. Don’t you kid yourself these guys are winners not tin pot Texans. In my opinion the raison d’etre for DIC’s desire is Al Ansari’s affection for the club from his time at Liverpool University.

  3. Jim – If the rumours are to be believed and there is a cash flow problem at anfield at the moment if DIC where in charge they could free up more capital to purchase players than could Hicks.

    PS is there a censorship program running or are you doing it or would you like us to mind our language?

  4. “They can end this nightmare now by offering Tom Hicks a deal that makes him consider giving up on his LFC investment. But they haven’t. They could end this nightmare (or this version of it) tomorrow morning by finding another £300m (say), but they won’t.”
    Jim you talk complete bollocks at times, Hicks has shown DIC the door at least twice,

  5. @Stephen: “It seems to me that Liverpool are not purely an investment for Dubai. If they want to make money there are alot easier ways than football. Its one of the most difficult and grief ridden ways to make money. Look at all the bad press you receive running a football club. The Glazers and Hicks are protrayed as complete villians.”

    So what does Hicks want / what has Hicks wanted / what did Hicks want from LFC? If it’s not just to make money then what is it?

    You say DIC want money + a chance to promote Dubai, to put Dubai in a good light. They need to work hard to put Dubai in a good light given some of the stories about treatment of the workers who built their city into what it is now, and what it’s becoming. A lot of reports are no doubt exaggerated, but as a state that censors its press and the internet who can tell?

    Stories and articles like this are worth a read:
    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/01/25/why_liverpool_fans_are_wrong_t.html
    http://64.233.183.104/search?sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fhrw.org%2Fwr2k8%2Fpdfs%2Fuae.pdf
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/world/middleeast/01dubai.html?ref=europe

    I hope you can find time to read them.

    We’ve not had 18 months of Hicks rule, we’ve had 18 months of Hicks-Gillett rule. Does anybody think the Evans-Houllier 50-50 partnership was better than either man on his own? Of course in the end it turned out Houllier wasn’t what we wanted anyway, but he was still better alone than he was when 50-50 with Evans, who had also been far better before being put in that mad position.

    Dubai care about their image for one reason – to make more money!

    If we can live with the accusations about their treatment of “foreigners” and accept that they are working hard enough to right wrongs, then I suppose it’s ok, their attempts at making money could of course help us win things.

    I just don’t particularly feel we’ve anything to celebrate if DIC get in other than the fact that we can then move on from this current 50-50 civil war mess.

  6. @Jofrad: “Jim you just got to be joking, DIC will put whatever it needs into the club for success. They will want to compete with best clubs in the world. Don’t you kid yourself these guys are winners not tin pot Texans. In my opinion the raison d’etre for DIC’s desire is Al Ansari’s affection for the club from his time at Liverpool University.”

    All assumptions. And is it Al Ansari, the Sheikh, or the Sheikh’s son’s love of LFC that’s supposed to warm our hearts and fill us with hope they’ll not just treat us as an investment? al Ansari works for DIC, and DIC are now, according to the most recent claims, not actually looking to buy us after all, it’s another Dubai vehicle. The Sheikh’s love for LFC varies from story to story and week to week. And his son’s love of LFC is all well and good, but it’s not pushed that offer any higher has it?

  7. @I am the Egg Man: I edited your post yesterday by hand – others with *s in them since have had the *s put there by the original poster. I just deleted your last line though, the test.

    I’d prefer it if the language was toned down, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.

  8. ” Dubai care about their image for one reason – to make more money! ”

    Jim – That is a good thing. British airways care more about their image than say Easyjet to make more money and to attract a different type of customer. Dubai are entering into the world of sports franchises with the likes of the golf, tennis and Formula 1. DIC will not want LFC damaging their brand image so it will be in DIC’s best interest to make sure LFC is doing well on the pitch as well as off it.

  9. Jim, I see you have slipped back into everything Hicks straight up – everything DIC shaddy and suspect.

    Question DIC by all means but can you at least apply the same standards to Hicks.

    You can make all the assumptions you want about DIC re borrowing for players, no extra money invested, selling the club on etc. But thats all it is assumptions on your part.

    Hicks facts are borrowing for players, no extra money invested, selling the club on etc. But thats all it is, facts.

  10. @Jofrad: “Hicks has shown DIC the door at least twice”.

    But Jofrad, DIC have offered only a marginal profit. Yes, it’s a nice profit for 18 months of investment, but it’s not close to the amount Hicks feels it would be worth selling for. He maintains he doesn’t want to sell anyway, at any price, but if he did, the price offered isn’t even close.

    Perhaps Hicks is valuing it too high (we don’t even know if he’s actually ever given DIC a price for his 50%). Let’s say he’s valued it at £1bn (pro-rata, all this, he only owns half). Let’s say an independent valuation, based on plans Hicks has in mind, values it at £650m, for argument’s sake. Hicks is asking too much at £1bn. It’s only worth £650m. But Hicks doesn’t actually want to sell anyway. And DIC offer him £400m.

    Put that in mind on something you own. Your house say. You don’t want to sell it. You find through a valuation or looking at a neighbour’s property that it’s worth around £250k. Someone hassles you to sell it to them, so you tell them you want £400k, hoping to scare them off. So they come back the next day and offer your £180k for it.

    What would your second word be? Off? (I’ll probably add *s to the first one!)

    How many times would you show them the door?

    Obviously if you didn’t want to sell the house but couldn’t afford to keep it then the £180k might be one you’d find yourself forced to accept. If you’d got a £150k mortgage then it might eventually come to a point where you’d have to concede defeat, and be happy with the £30k profit to cushion the blow. But even then, you might as well see if you can get a figure nearer its valuation from your buyer.

    Complete b*llocks? If DIC know beyond doubt, and always have, that Tom Hicks can’t possibly stay on as 51%+ owner, and worse still he can’t even afford to stay on as joint 50% owner, then their strategy is understandable and they’ll eventually win this war, spending the least amount possible.

    But if he’s got the means to stay on as joint owner, as 51% or more owner, and to do everything else he needs to keep his investment on some kind of target, then they’ve done nothing more than insult Hicks with their offer! Maybe he deserves it. But do we?

  11. @I am the Egg Man: “Jim – If the rumours are to be believed and there is a cash flow problem at anfield at the moment if DIC where in charge they could free up more capital to purchase players than could Hicks.”

    The only way to free that cash flow up is to borrow some money! An overdraft from the bank or out of the owners’ pockets, however it’s done it has to be borrowed. DIC are capable of putting the money in short term, or getting the facilities to borrow it short term (overdraft style), no doubt about that. But at the same time there’s no saying Hicks can’t do it either. Whether or not GG can, it’s unlikely he will. That’s one of the problems with this joint ownership.

  12. @Stephen: “I see you have slipped back into everything Hicks straight up – everything DIC shaddy and suspect.”

    You know, if you’re honest with yourself, that this isn’t the case here with me. If you don’t know that, you might as well ignore the rest of this comment. I’ve said it so many times now I’m sure it’s boring anyone reading to hear me explain just why that isn’t the case with me.

    One of the reasons I tend not to respond to all your posts Stephen is because it always seems to be a case of going over the same old arguments, time after time. I don’t enjoy arguing, I doubt many reading this site enjoy reading arguments, and after the debacle with Anfielder and his many aliases I’m in no hurry to go back to that again!

    Question DIC by all means but can you at least apply the same standards to Hicks.

    Am I questioning DIC? Or am I questioning the perceptions of a large number of fans? I feel it’s the latter, and as a result it means I also sometimes question the perceptions with regards Hicks.

    Hence the reason I posted those three links, about DIC or Dubai, because it doesn’t match the perceptions of a large number of LFC fans who have fallen for the sugar-coated version of DIC. If you’ve read those articles, even if it’s not changed your mind that Hicks must go and DIC must stay, maybe it will give you a little bit of a different perspective towards Dubai.

    Just try finding half-an-hour to read them. I found them over the weekend looking for something else (in vain, as it happens, looking for any evidence that Bush wanted to buy back into Texas Rangers). I think it was the Guardian blog that turned up first, the others came up from searches I performed after reading that.

    Whoever we talk about, it’s pretty much all assumptions! Hicks, DIC, whoever takes over, it’s all assumptions, with perhaps the odd “fact” peppered here and there.

    I’m not going to keep arguing with you Stephen, I don’t think we’d really be arguing about anything else to do with the club, and one of the big problems I’ve got with this mess is the way so many of our fans are at each others’ throats these days.

    I don’t mind talking, discussing, etc – but it’s hard to do that when the first line is so confrontational!

    We’ll never get the old LFC back. Ever. We’re a profit-making machine now essentially, whether it’s long-term, short-term, high-risk, low-risk, whatever, we’re not here purely to win things. That is gone.

  13. Jim,
    You’re lost in a fog. How will Hicks ever be a 51% owner when Gillett won’t even sell him whoopee cushion for his seat and why would DIC need to borrow 1 penny for their plans for the club.
    I’m worried about you, you really ought to get out more.

  14. @Jofrad: “Jim you just got to be joking, DIC will put whatever it needs into the club for success. They will want to compete with best clubs in the world. Don’t you kid yourself these guys are winners not tin pot Texans. In my opinion the raison d’etre for DIC’s desire is Al Ansari’s affection for the club from his time at Liverpool University.”
    All assumptions
    Wrong, Al Ansari has great affection for Liverpool he has been attending matches for years and in my opinion this is his main but not exclusive driving force: DIC are economic winners by any standard you care to name. I AM assuming that they will want to compete with the best teams in the world but I’ll bet my house on it.

  15. @Jofrad: “You’re lost in a fog. How will Hicks ever be a 51% owner when Gillett won’t even sell him whoopee cushion for his seat and why would DIC need to borrow 1 penny for their plans for the club.
    I’m worried about you, you really ought to get out more.”

    Nice of you to worry about me Jofrad!

    Gillett’s refusal to sell to Hicks is no stronger than Hicks’ refusal to sell to DIC. In fact Hicks resolve is probably stronger, because Gillett decided some time ago he wanted out. And whether DIC need to borrow or not isn’t the point – they will borrow unless they change their usual way of buying. The difference is they won’t borrow as high a percentage as Hicks and Gillett did, and they are less likely to hit any problems getting the borrowing.

    As for Hicks not selling to them, they did something similar to Whitbread over Travelodge: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/03/23/cchotel123.xml

  16. @Jofrad: “All assumptions
    Wrong, Al Ansari has great affection for Liverpool he has been attending matches for years and in my opinion this is his main but not exclusive driving force: DIC are economic winners by any standard you care to name. I AM assuming that they will want to compete with the best teams in the world but I’ll bet my house on it.”

    According to the latest stories, al Ansari will have very little to do with this deal, because it won’t actually be a DIC deal. He’s not exactly been the main player in negotiations, that task’s fallen to Amanda Staveley.

    Whoever takes over will allow some money to go back into the team, but there isn’t one drop of evidence that Dubai will put more back into the squad than anyone else. I wouldn’t bet my half-eaten sandwich on them wanting to compete with the best teams in the world if if eats significantly into their profits. But we don’t need to spend like Chelsea to compete, and we shouldn’t expect to either.

    DIC had been in existence for 2 years when DIC made that first attempt to buy LFC, and al Ansari has been CEO since they were formed. Although he’s only an employee of DIC, he’s trusted by the Sheikh, and is likely to be around for some time. He worked for “Dubai” before DIC.

    Interesting piece here:

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_03/b4067042272294_page_2.htm

    (Extract) By contrast, Sameer Al Ansari, manager of Dubai International Capital’s relatively small $12 billion fund, displays some of the swagger of a private equity king. A compact, athletic man, Al Ansari, 45, wears designer suits and does business not from a drab civil service complex but sleek, sun-drenched quarters high up in a gleaming office building. His investment capital comes from Sheikh Mohammed’s umbrella company, Dubai Holding, which invests 30% of its cash flow in Dubai International Capital and other funds.

    Born in Kuwait of Palestinian parents and brought up in Britain, Al Ansari graduated from Loughborough University in 1985 with a degree in accounting and financial management. In demand as an Arabic speaker who could make sense of numbers, he soon moved to Dubai to take an accounting job with Ernst & Young. His work in cleaning up Dubai Aluminum, a large government company beset by problems, attracted the attention of Mohammed Gergawi, a close confidant of Sheikh Mohammed and now chief executive of Dubai Holding. Gergawi hired Al Ansari to be chief financial officer of the Sheikh’s executive office, where he helped straighten out the ruler’s sprawling business interests and set up Dubai Holding, which now manages most of those assets. After Al Ansari expressed alarm that almost all of the Sheikh’s wealth was tied up in real estate, Gergawi gave him the go-ahead to set up Dubai International Capital, to diversify.

    Despite his lack of buyout experience, Al Ansari has jumped in headlong, allocating about 60% of his portfolio to private equity. (A quarter is devoted to stakes in large companies and 15% to emerging markets.) In addition to co-investment deals with private equity firms, he has engineered six solo buyouts, including wax museum operator Tussauds Group, which he bought from Charterhouse Capital Partners for $1.6 billion in 2005. (Less than two years later he sold Tussauds to Blackstone Group for $2 billion in cash and a 20% stake in an entertainment company valued at more than $200 million.) Last year Al Ansari, who still speaks with a clipped British accent, nearly scooped up his beloved Liverpool soccer club, but lost out to a North American group that included buyout mogul Tom Hicks.

    Al Ansari, like Al Sa’ad, seeks to double the size of his portfolio in a couple of years. To boost his firepower, he has taken on lots of debt from such banks as HSBC (HBC), Barclays, and Royal Bank of Scotland. His Global Strategic Equities Fund, which now holds stakes in Sony (SNE), HSBC, and EADS, borrows $4 for every $1 of its own money. The fund also buys derivatives to limit its losses. One former employee says: “Dubai plays a very shrewd game.” But he worries that “it’s leverage on leverage on leverage.”

    Al Ansari spends much of his time hunting up deals abroad. When he’s in Dubai he typically spends 10 hours a day in the office, mostly taking meetings with investment bankers and private equity people pitching ideas. He says he’s invited to three to six social events a day and usually goes to one or two. “Dubai is a work-hard, play-hard kind of place,” he says—for better and for worse. “My career has gone from good to great in the past two years, but my personal life from bad to worse.” Al Ansari’s two sons, 17 and 14, live with him, while his daughter, 10, lives with his ex-wife. Over lunch at a Lebanese restaurant near his office, he confesses that trotting the globe for buyouts has only added to his exhaustion.
    JUICY DEALS

    Looking for help in coming up with new deals, Al Ansari last year began courting hedge funds. With the help of JPMorgan Chase he agreed last November to a $1.1 billion, 9.9% stake in Och-Ziff Capital Management (OZM). Al Ansari met with Och-Ziff founder Daniel S. Och several times in New York and London; the two sealed their bargain over dinner at the swank New York restaurant Daniel in a private, glass-walled room overlooking the kitchen. When Och visited Dubai after his firm’s November, 2007, IPO, Al Ansari took him to the Al Muntaha restaurant, which rests 700 feet above the Gulf on top of the Burj al Arab Hotel, where rooms start at $2,000 a night. The two talked of Al Ansari’s hopes to tap Och’s global team for co-investment ideas and deal research, while helping Och-Ziff raise money in the Gulf. “We are very pleased with the relationship at this point,” says Och.

    Some financiers in Dubai think Al Ansari is in over his head. “He’s a very smart guy, but he’s not a fund manager by training,” says one. While Al Ansari’s people say privately that the fund is making 20% annual returns, bankers are skeptical. “I question what that’s based on,” says a senior Dubai-based investment banker, noting that the portfolio’s private equity investments might not be easy to sell in today’s turbulent markets. Moreover, the stock prices of EADS and HSBC are down some 20% and 10%, respectively, since Al Ansari bought them, while Och-Ziff has tumbled 23%. Al Ansari stresses that his big stock positions are hedged with derivatives. If HSBC’s stock sinks further, he says, he might buy more. Och-Ziff, he insists, is misjudged.

  17. Jim, I am fully aware of the issues that are happening in Dubai and I am not comfortable with them. I have been there twice and didn’t like it. I wouldn’t live there or wouldn’t want any of my family to live there.

    But in its defence I will say compared to what is around it, it is a shining light. Dubai despite its seeming independance is controlled by the Saudi’s. The Sheiks of the UAE have to get the green light from the Saudi’s to enact most of their plans. They are treading a very fine line as they are trying to develop a modern capitalist soceity without suffering the wrath of the Arab street so I sympathise in that regard. They have to show their muslim credentials (hence strict Sharia law) while also promoting business (contrary to Sharia Law).

    The Sheik is a dictator but without him that place could just as easily be like Saudi Arabia or Afganistan where women are treated disgustingly denied education and public mutilations and hangings are considered normal.

    If the Middle east is ever to recover then Dubai is their greatest hope. The Sheik has a vision for that area of a tolerant and forward looking place. He is looking beyond the oil. But he is operating in an extremely volitile and backward looking place and he knows time is tight. If the Sheik can pull it off it’ll do more for the prosperity of the region (and hence the world) than anything we in the west can do.

    However, I am prepared to seperate sport and politics.

  18. ” According to the latest stories, al Ansari will have very little to do with this deal, because it won’t actually be a DIC deal. He’s not exactly been the main player in negotiations, that task’s fallen to Amanda Staveley. ”

    Can I just say that I think we have drew the short straw with Amanda Staveley. What I mean is for a society girl who mixes with the London crew she must come very near the bottom of the list where looks are concerned. When I heard socialite I started getting images of Zara Philips and Tara Palma Thompkinson, but when I saw her picture in the Echo I felt quite let down. Don’t get me wrong I would not boot her out of bed but it does mean that should DIC take over she will have to do more than just flash a nice smile at me in the press to impress me. She will have to get the club winning the league on a regular basis.

  19. ” Jim, I am fully aware of the issues that are happening in Dubai and I am not comfortable with them. I have been there twice and didn’t like it. I wouldn’t live there or wouldn’t want any of my family to live there. ”

    Stephen – Is your opinion of Dubai based on the fact that it is a dry state where alcohol is banned, so you would not be able to come by a pint of Guiness?

  20. Alcohol is available in Hotel bars in Dubai. The Guinness, like all Guinness outside Ireland, is crap!

  21. @ Tarquin // May 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm
    One thinks that Rafael doesn’t know what one is doing!

    I hope Mr Hicks get’s control and not these oh so improper Arab folk. When he does, one would be most obliged if he saw fit to rid Rafael of his duties and instead install a more suitable fellow.

    Lay off the Pimms…..One would say of course 😉

  22. Jim,
    Please will you get it through your befuddled head GILLETT WILL NOT SELL 1 SHARE TO HICKS.
    Good night sleep well you need the rest !

  23. Hahaha Jim, sh*t thrown at Al-Ansari, who would have thought it? Hedge funds? In over his head? It even turns out he was at Loughborough uni not Liverpool!

    Really though there’s so much speculation from fantasists on here this whole debate is getting like a UFO spotters convention.

  24. Sameer al Ansari studied at Liverpool University School of Law before he attended Loughborough University.

  25. @Hop: “Jofrad, I stand corrected, as the man in the orthopedic shoes remarked.”

    I laughed at that far more than I should have done…

  26. I have felt so bloody weary of the circular arguments about the takeover in the last two or three weeks, and so the return of the transfer talk is such a delight after all the Hicks-related speculations! Let’s face it, all the attempts at deciphering rumours are a waste of energy, and so let’s get back to what really matters, the pitch. The future will take care of itself DIC-wise!
    So far, it’s difficult to figure out if Rafa will get it spot on this time. It’s clear he’s first focusing on the defence, and his transfers could be ok, despite being cheap. With Steve F/Arbeloa/Degen on the right, the awesome Jamie/Agger/Skrtel in the middle and Aurelio/Insua/the Italian guy on the left, we should be ok in defence. The holding and attacking midfielders are the best in the world (but let’s keep Xavi, if only because Julie’s libido seems to be roused by the fellow!). What worries me is the wingers. Ideally, Bentley and a – preferably Spanish – striker alongside Fernando could enable us to, at last, contend for N°19. Plus a left-winger too? We only have Babel on the left.
    I understand that Bentley is not more expensive than Barry, good god! Bentley is real class, unlike the Villa fellow.

  27. Unfortunately with targets such as Riera and Degan No19 couldnt be further away.Scouring around the bargain basement wont bring the league home. Rafa’s doing a great job rebuilding the club from the youth team upwards. However if the owners continue to only give Rafa a shoe string budget compared to Man U and Chelsea, we’ll be settling for 3rd/4th for the foreseeable future.

  28. i hate all this ‘bargain bin’ nonsense (not just you 999)

    by the same logic, Sami was bargain bin, finnan was bargain bin, riise, hecnhoz, macallister, arbeloa…..

    i apprecaite that he may not be regarded as in the same class as alves…but even the ‘almighty’ alves was unknown and unheralded once….as was EVERYONE.

    just because we haven’t seen them score a hatrick against AC milan it doesnt mean that they are bad players…

    give deggan a chance….

  29. This is just for Pierre:

    There once was a Spaniard named Xabi
    Who made Reds’ fans anything but crabby
    He played in the middle
    And was fit as a fiddle
    And (uh, ummm) should be deified in Westminster Abbey!
    (damn, so close)

  30. MO, we haven’t won the league because we have bought from the bargin bins for too long

    You say – by the same logic, Sami was bargain bin, finnan was bargain bin, riise, hecnhoz, macallister, arbeloa…..

    I have nothing against the players you list but honestly how many of them would get into Chelsea, Arsenal or Man Utd’s teams??

    I hope Deggan will be a revelation but a player who is not rated in his own league worries me.

    If Rafa can win us the league on the budget he is working from then he deserves a sainthood. Chelsea and Man Utd will invest heavily this summer and they are already streets ahead in terms of quality.

    I pray i’m wrong!!

  31. Well, a praiseworthy own goal, Julie. No worry, Xavi will still be orchestrating the reds manoeuvres come August! Well, an own goal not unlike like Manure’s tomorrow night, for once I’ll be a vociferous fan of Didier’s magnificent dives, John’s fantastic clearances, Petr’s UFO saves and Michael’s magic free kicks. Oh to be once, only once, drinking a single malt to the victorious health of the Chelski 11!

  32. I’m not saying Degan’s rubbish but just average. If we’re going to challenge for the title we need to buy players that would get into the top 2 sides First Teams and NOT their reserves!

  33. Pierre: I guess an “own goal” designation is about all that one deserves – my clearance on the last line certainly sent the ball toppling backward.

    It’s a strange situation tomorrow, to be sure, as far as deciding which team is less despised. I was getting some tree advice on the weekend at a local garden centre, and suddenly the staff person stopped what he was saying, glanced down at the large Liverpool tattoo on the inside of my left forearm and said, “You’re a Liverpool fan.” “Uh uh,” I said, “for my sins. And you?” “Chelsea supporter, born and bred, grew up in London,” he replied. The conundrum then became, do I enage with a declared Chelsea fan for the sake of saving my birch tree, or do I scowl and stomp off in a huff? Well, the tree won out, and I begrudgingly wished him luck for Wednesday. The moral of this story…when faced with the choice between Manure and Chelski…oh, this is so hard to say…I guess I want Chelsea to win simply for the opportunity to watch Ferguson’s face turn four shades of red as he spontaneously combusts.

  34. Julie: I have to second you on the insignificant match between the two plucky underdogs of the european stage.

    I suppose another media blackout for the next 48 odd hours is order of the day then?

  35. Julie, Raju: the difference between Manure and Cleski is between hatred and scorn. We can only look down on these pathetic Fulham Road ‘nouveaux riches’, who will be sinking into oblivion in a split second when that Russian mafioso has decided he wants another plaything somewhere else. Scorn is all they deserve. Things are different with the Mancs. They have been chasing our history for twenty years now, and gosh they are catching up (in terms of results, not of history and traditions of course – United is loved in America, especially Texas, in Australia and in the Far East, but reviled in Manchester!). And so any setback is time saved until we resume our domination of the game. But yes, Julie, seeing Ol’WhiskyNose turn purple red when he sees Terry lift the trophy would even get me to buy the DVD of the final for re-playing every time I feel dejected!

  36. Julie, I agree – it has to be Chelsea – The thought of Ferguson winning another Champions League is unbearable. If United do win my TV will be turned off for a week.

  37. Pierre; that is a fair point.

    I suppose it would have been a closer call if Maureen was still at the helm.

    Jim, I read those three articles you referred to in yesterday’s post re: DIC, it make for grim reading. (folks, please do not let this turn into another DIC v Hicks/Gillett debate).

    Apparently, we are also linked with a player by the name of Marek Hamšík. Voted 2nd best player of the year in Slovakia (behind our very own Skertl). Currently plays for Napoli and looks like a decent player for someone in the £8-10million bracket.

    Its good to see that Kewell has come out to defend himself on the eve of a CL final. Perhaps he has been too busy away from lfc to realise that we are not playing tomorrow. The cheek to say that he wants to prove to Rafa what the team will now be missing! hmm.

  38. Raju – The only thing that the team will be missing is a parasite that puts nothing into the coffers of LFC but takes away £90000 a week in wages. He left the club without saying goodbye to anyone, he just packed his bags and left.

  39. ” What match on Wednesday? There is no match on Wednesday ”

    Jim – There is a big game of bridge going on at Liverpool Cricket club they are playing Sefton Park Cricket club. Its the decider to see who wins the local area bridge championships, I am surprised that you haven’t heard of it because everyone has been talking about it.

  40. raju, Pierre, Stephen et al: Pierre, you’ve nailed it when you point out the distinction in the types of disdain for those-two-clubs-that-shall-not-be-named. Hatred and scorn, absolutely. Hatred – ever so slightly borne of envy for their financial resources in the transfer market but mostly of their swaggering arrogance. Scorn – once the the cord connecting Stamford Bridge to Abramovich’s wallet is severed, they’ll go back to being scruffy wannabes.

    Speaking of financial coffers, did you guys read the article in today’s Guardian about how much club debt Manure and Chelsea are in – £1.5billion combined (seems ol’ Roman hasn’t been funding the club, just lending them an interest-free loan of around £700m or so).
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/may/20/premierleague.chelsea

    raju: I’ll confess to be a former fan of Mr. Kewell, but his seeming apathy over the past couple of seasons and his behaviour during his unsurprising release from the club have really put me off. I, too, read today of his comment that he would show his former manager just how good he still was – well, ‘arry, maybe you should have done that all along when your manager supported you in the face of mounting criticism from just about every quarter instead of whining that your injuries weren’t your fault. What a knob.

    Stephen: don’t blame your television if the unthinkable happens tomorrow – yes, your screen will be stained and sullied by the image of Ferguson doing that stupid little dance, but it will be wiped clean by the sight of Gerrard lifting #19 next May. If you can’t want until then, try industrial-strength bleach.

  41. @Modus Operandi

    “i apprecaite that he may not be regarded as in the same class as alves…but even the ‘almighty’ alves was unknown and unheralded once….as was EVERYONE.”

    Yes everyone was once, Steven Gerrard was a relative unknown at one point, but NOT at the age of 25.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t give Deggan a chance, but it is clear, no?… that if Rafa had a sizable tranfer kitty Deggan wouldn’t be his 1st choice!

    You’re just missing the point here.

    Those people you have listed are good players, Hyppia in particular was one of the best bits of business done in the premiership, but I don’t hold high hopes for a player struggling to get into a side of significantly less quality than ours. Mascherano is a good example which contradicts that statement but then he was described as a “monster” player for his national side by none other than Maradona, that national side being one of the very best in the world.

  42. Julie (Toronto) – Yeah, but the loan isn’t a loan in the traditional sense of the word. Roman is not going to start demanding the money back like a bank would, and he’s also never going to cripple the club with demands for his money back. It was after all Roman who went mad and spent like a mad man. he has also put 500 million away in a trust for Chelsea so they are not in debt like we are or Manc U are.

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