Liverpool FC have officially confirmed today that Philipp Degen is to join the club when his current contract with Borussia Dortmund runs out at the end of the month.
Degen, in the Swiss squad for Euro 2008, will officially become a Red on July 1st.
Reds boss Rafa Benítez said today of the 25-year-old right-back: “Philipp is still young but has gained great experience from playing in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and on the international stage with Switzerland. He also played in the Champions League during his time with Basel and so is used to top level football.”
He went on: “He is an offensive player with great energy and a winning mentality. His strength is going forward and I am confident he will be prove to be a quality addition to our squad.”
Some Liverpool fans have been critical of the fact that Liverpool are signing players on free transfers, but Rafa sees the benefits of spreading his budget as far as possible, and no fee doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality: “Sometimes you can find these players on the market. When you find a player like him who costs no money it means you can use money for improving other parts of the squad. He is a good signing, a player of potential, who can help us improve in the wide areas.”
Degen himself said he didn’t need to be asked twice: “When I received the offer from Liverpool, there was no doubt I would accept it. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am looking forward to the challenge of establishing myself there and playing in the best league there is.”
One of the players he’ll be competing with for a place in the Reds line-up is Alvaro Arbeloa, who has just been called up for Spain’s Euro 2008 challenge. He said he was delighted to be involved with his country: “I’m very happy to be here, I’m really excited and I’m determined to do well. I want to fully enjoy this experience and go far in the tournament. It’s important to think that we have to win, although we haven’t won much in Spain. That’s the right mentality. We know that we have to go bit by bit but the objective is to win Euro 2008.”
Meanwhile reports in France have linked Liverpool with a move for a 35-year-old goalkeeper. Ulrich Ramé has just ended the season with Bordeaux, finishing second in the French top flight, and leParisien now say Liverpool have looked at him as cover for Pepe Reina. Liverpool’s previous three French keepers have been Pegguy Arphexad, Patrice Luzi and Charles Itandje, and enthusiasm amongst supporters for this possible signing is likely to be rather low. Hopefully so inside Melwood too.