Riera signs, Finnan’s Anfield days are over

Albert Riera has signed for Liverpool this afternoon as the summer transfer deadline draws near to a close.

Although manager Rafa Benítez hasn’t seen all his summer plans comes to fruition, he’s been linked with a move for the Spanish left-winger for some time, and is believed to have paid Espanyol around £8m for his services.

The announcement was made a couple of hours after Steve Finnan’s move in the opposite direction had been made public. Finnan has been one of Liverpool’s unsung heroes during his time at the club, but he’s now embarking on a new stage of his career with Espanyol – the fee wasn’t disclosed, but it’s believed that disagreement between the two clubs over what that fee should be had held up the Riera deal.

Riera has now flown back to Spain for a couple of days; he’ll be back in England in midweek ready to start his Reds career.

The usual transfer deadline was extended by a day due to 31st August falling on a Sunday, and although there are a few hours left there isn’t any big news expected from Melwood or Anfield today.

The Riera-Finnan move hasn’t been the only business for Rafa today.

Andriy Voronin has been linked with a move back to Germany for most of the summer, and this move finally took place today. However it wasn’t a permanent deal, the striker has gone on loan for one year, to Hertha Berlin. The Ukrainian was signed on a free transfer last summer, but despite some early shows of promise on the whole was unable to get any kind of regular place in the starting line-up. Although it is only a loan deal, it reduces the club’s wage bill and should also see a fee being paid for Hertha’s 12 month’s use of his talents.

Young Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi spent last season on loan at Anfield, and that move was made permanent today, the 18-year-old signing from MTK Hungaria.

Liverpool also signed a Brazilian striker – 18-year-old Vito Flora, who came on a free transfer from Botafogo. There should be any work-permit problems with the player, who holds an Italian passport. And given recent issues for Liverpool players with Italian passports we can only assume the club checked this one out more thoroughly.

Manager Rafa Benítez spoke highly of his most expensive signing of the day: “Riera has the qualities we were looking for. He’s a left footer who normally plays on the left wing; he’s good in the air, strong, powerful and a good crosser of the ball. He’s the kind of player we have been talking about. He can beat players and get good deliveries into the area for our strikers.”

One criticism of Liverpool that goes back many years is a lack of width, and Rafa seems happy Riera can provide this. He says he’s had his eye on him for quite a while: “We’ve known about him for a long time, since he was at Mallorca and then through his career with Bordeaux, Manchester City and Espanyol.”

That time at Manchester City was on loan, but the experience he got in that time did him no harm when Rafa looked at the options open to him on his limited summer budget: “He can talk English and of course he knows the Premier League, which is a big bonus. Usually foreign players need time when they go to a new country, but Riera already knows the league and the style of football.”

It’s believed that Everton had made an offer matching Espanyol’s full asking price, only to find the player was unwilling to join them. He wanted to play for Liverpool: “He also had offers from other English clubs,” said Rafa, “but he said no to them because he wanted to come and play for us. That means a lot to me because it shows the commitment he has to play for Liverpool.”

One player who did provide width for Liverpool – but seemingly not of a quality acceptable to Rafa – was right-winger Jermaine Pennant and although time is ticking on he could yet move elsewhere. A £4m move to Stoke is believed to have been turned down by the former Arsenal and Birmingham player.

Some rumours earlier in the day suggested (as is becoming traditional in any transfer window) that Michael Owen could be on his way to take back the number 10 shirt just vacated by Andriy Voronin. Earlier in the summer there were some whispers that Rafa had been asked to consider Owen instead of Keane. The savings made on that transfer would have allowed Barry to be bought without Xabi Alonso being sold, but whatever the truth in those rumours Rafa went ahead and bought Keane, and the Barry deal fell through. Any move for Owen would have to be very much at a cut price anyway, Rafa having now pretty much used up his budget. And rumours in the North East later in the day were linking Owen with a move back to the club he supported as a boy, the team just turned down by Albert Riera.

Liverpool are going to be one striker short for the next few weeks, after the club got confirmation of the extent of the injury to Fernando Torres hamstring. Torres left the field early in Liverpool’s dour draw with Aston Villa yesterday, and today a spokesman said: “A scan this afternoon has confirmed a hamstring tear in Fernando’s right leg. He is expected to be out for between two and three weeks.” The international break means his absence will have less of an impact than it perhaps might have had.

Meanwhile Liverpool’s 19-year-old reserve striker Craig Lindfield has had his loan to Bournemouth extended until the end of the year. He scored Bournemouth’s goal in their 3-1 loss against Port Vale at the weekend, and although glad to score is more concerned with his temporary club’s fortunes: “I’m pleased but I want to win games. There are two teams on zero points but I think this team is too good to go down,” he said.

23 thoughts on “Riera signs, Finnan’s Anfield days are over”

  1. Jim, glad to have you back!

    Great summation but I wondered how you could infer that Rafa’s used up all his budget? Would like some indication of what was spent and raised by Rafa and what was put in by the owners?

  2. Good to have you back Jim!
    I’m Glad all this transfer stuff is finally over! Good luck to Voronin & Finnan and Welcome Riera & Flora. Controversial point regarding Owen (I know what I’d have done). It’s beside the point though, I hope everyone now gets behind Rafa and the team. I’ve a feeling that this is going to be a great season for us!

    note: Jim if you get a second can you forward on my login password for the forum. I’ve changed computer and address recently and I’ve forgotten it. I also can’t seem to retrieve it from the automatic responder thing at the login box?

  3. Jimbo! Nice to see you back! We were all getting concerned about your well-being.

    BBC Radio 5 Live are reporting tonight that DIC are still very keen to buy Liverpool. Given the events of the last 24 hours it’s more crucial than ever that we get proper financial backing to build this stadium. It’s taking longer than that wall Hadrian built!!

    Time to get your detective raincoat on and dig up some news for us please. Hicks and Gillett appear to be a busted flush!

  4. Interesting that the name Amanda Staveley was in the mix for the City deal – and was the name in the mix for the aborted (for now?) DIC deal.

    Distinct differences between Liverpool and Man City are:
    They had a willing seller – we don’t (at the current bid price)


    They had one owner – we have two with a scism worse than Ashley/Wise and Keegan.

    @ Jim, interested to know whether you think there is an ‘ownership’ issue for the club at the moment. Or, if it’s simply wishful thinking?!

    PS Jofrad, Edwad, Ray Proudfoot et al glad to read your comments!

  5. Midland-Red. Whilst we don’t have willing sellers we do have an advantage in that DIC only want to buy Liverpool whereas the Abu Dhabi lot considered 2 or 3 clubs (including ours amazingly) before picking City.

    This suggests they just want to own any club and looked for an easy sale. DIC, OTOH, clearly have a love affair with Liverpool and will not be easily put off.

    With the reports being posted in the forum about a new offer for the club these are interesting times and maybe there is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. Ray, I don’t know about a chink of light, but there’s certainly a sign that says “This is Anfield” at the end of the tunnel. B****ocks (excuse the language) to ownership, transfer and general wealth issues, this season I want to see FORTRESS Anfield. Give me FORTRESS Anfield (Not Talk About It) and I’m happy. In a nutshell, I want teams to fear coming to Anfield.

  7. @ Ray @ Edward

    Interesting how the transfer window – whilst dramatic – has boiled down to ownership issues!

    Newcastle – we’ve seen the ramifications
    Man City – suddenly cash rich. How long did it take Parry and Moores to sell us to Hicks and Gillett? 2/3/4 years?
    Tottenham – ENIC who?
    United – The Glazers funding £30m for Berbatov

    And us – with Hicks and Gillett but no snoogy doogy – or at least that wow signing (Barry minus MON).

    Don’t think there’ll be a Fortress Liverpool, Ray, until we’ve sorted out what’s happening at the top.

  8. The take over at Man city, will change the premier league forever. If things are hard now, imagine what it will be like when city, utd and chelsea start splashing the cash. The prices are going to go through the roof . We need to get the yanks out as soon as possible or we could be in real trouble. I do fear any success on the pitch could actually keep these clowns in charge, creaming off the profits. It really is a double edged sword. Who would have thought that winning could actually mean losing and losing is still losing, but could turn out to be winning. Confusing stuff,eh. How I long for the simple life and the joy of being champions, without all the agendas and permutations. Who said footie is a simple game? YNWA

  9. Daily Mail today:-
    “Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are planning another moneyraising trawl of the finance houses in London and New York despite drawing an earlier blank. The difference this time is that the Americans will be offering equity in Liverpool FC rather than just looking for loans. Again, intriguingly, London PR giants Freud Communications, hired by Hicks at the height of his civil war with Gillett last season, are representing both Americans.”
    Worse news than the stadium delay – if true.

  10. Midlands, I disagree, a fortress is a place where teams don’t like going, so from a psychological point of view you’re already winning. It’s much more about the fans and the players refusing to lose in front of those fans (a collective thing) than it is about some superstar player on inflated wages.

    Mind you, the ownership issues are great for a distraction and an excuse but guaranteed when you put all that aside it’s about one thing. Passion.

    Are we just going to lie down and roll over for United on the 13th cos we have all our excuses ready?

  11. Edward, becoming a fortress means having the best players which cost a lot of dough and that means having wealthy owners. Precisely why David Moores sold because he couldn’t afford players that cost £23M. Neither could he affford the funds for a stadium and at least he didn’t try loading debt onto the club to build one. Despite H&G’s efforts we still have a decent squad and pretty good first 11.

    M-Red, after what’s happened at WHU and Newcastle this week LFC seems almost stable! As for City, well it wasn’t their decision, it was Thaksin’s so that’s why it went through in a few days.

    Do you both read the forum? Some interesting news there about a possible buy-out.

  12. Okay Ray, we’ll have to differ on that point!

    Regarding the forum, I’ve been meaning to get back to posting on it, but won’t be indulging in speculation about ownership issues this season. For now here’s a poem by P. Maguire:

    1965 Bill Shankly’s Dream (Liverpool 3 Inter Milan 1)

    A team built with passion and driven with pride
    Their football the finest a true champion’s side
    The dream of Bill Shankly about to be born
    In the boots of St. John and the heart of Moran

    Lawler and Sir Roger Rowdy and Smith
    Big Tommy Lawrence our own flying pig!
    The Kop in full voice roared the Redmen each man
    “Go back to Ital-ee” to the Inter they sang

    Anfield the fortress her walls stood so firm
    And a new football lesson Herrera was about to learn
    He brought with him Mazzola Facchetti and Jair
    But they couldn’t compete with Cally’s brave heart

    A volley from Sir Roger left Sarti for dead
    And when Cally drove his home it was 2-1 to the Reds
    Our lads hadn’t finished one more was to come
    From a rebound he pounced the great Ian St. John

    We split them with precision and played like pure gold
    It was a long way from Reykjavik, Anderlecht and Cologne
    And Herrera distraught to the pressmen he bleated
    “We’ve been beaten before but tonight we’re defeated”

    © P Maguire

  13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/sep/10/liverpool.premierleague

    This is the legacy of David Moores’ decision to sell his shares in Liverpool FC to Hicks and Gillett, could anything be more damning?
    If the two Americans are not willing to sell out pretty quickly then this great club of ours is in deep trouble.
    Where are those apologists for Tom Hicks who peppered this site with their views a short time ago ?
    Where is the Jim Boardman who advised us all to put the ownership issue to one side and get behind the owners for the good of the club ?
    Where is the background to what is going on at the club at this crucial time ?
    What has happened to this website ??

  14. I read the article and thought ‘no way’!

    As a football fan of a club that’s not in your back-yard you can forget that life is not just about what happens on a Saturday or a big Champion League cup night.

    The devastation that Hicks and Gillet are presiding over is immeasurable.

    The should, but didn’t, have not just bought into the finances of the club but the whole regeneration of the area. Instead they have left many lifes – not just football lifes – a misery.

    PS Jim, where art thou (again)? Your blog seems have come to a standstill.

    @Jofrad – We have had many an argument on here about the merits of Hicks and Gillett, Parry and Moores and others re. ownership. It must be said that we are in a real dire state due to a lack of direction, information and clarity about where we go from here!

  15. @Midlands-red – Thank you my friend we’re all on the same side really !
    Now is the time for the fans to show their feelings as vociferously as possible and at every opportunity, starting on saturday. Our most most fervent hope must be that H&G sell to DIC asap but unfortunately I’m not convinced they will. Hicks in particular, he is a vain, shameless arrogant, stubborn man – and he owns our club.

  16. @Jofrad – we are all on the same side as wanting success for our club for sure – which is why I miss, yes miss, Jim’s utterances for good or ill.

    This is when Jim usually comes into his own with another view on where we’re going. He seems to be leaving it to Conn (as in the Guardian story) and Balague to make all the running. Very unusual. Maybe he’s in the States getting an exclusive interview with Hicks and Gillett!!! Wouldn’t that be something.

    One things for sure, whether DIC buy the club or not the club must surely be for sale…..at the right price. It just seems that the price is becoming so astronomical that biddes may be put off!

  17. After reading through the posts, I feel any petty differences and squabbles we may have, should be put to one side, There is little to gain from attacking Jim Boardman, he never got us in this mess. (We all know who is to blame for that!) Anyone who knows Jim or has read his articles over the years, know that he is a true red and only has the best interests of LFC and the red army at heart. What we need now is a broad united front. Without unity, we have nothing! Drastic times require drastic measures and any down turn in profits would send a message to the yanks and more importantly RBS. The time for talking is over , action is required. We cannot dither any longer or we will find ourselves drowning in a sea of the brown stuff!

  18. @Jofrad. I saw the story but like you thought there was little new in it. In any case I’m not sure that journo is privy to any robust, shall I say, leads! Also, an absence of other newspapers following-up on it makes me question the legs on that particular story.

    The only story, in the last day or two, that’s made me think ‘Will these owners stop at nothing? – was Carra’s book. All this talk about ownership/boardroom/managerial issues not infecting the dressing room, were dismissed by him.

    I wonder who’s going to take on a Club, even as great as ous, knowing they’ve got to negotiate with Hicks and Gillett and their bottom-line, unless RBS says we’re calling in the loan. The build-up to January 2009 is going to be very interesting

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