A busy day at Melwood and Anfield today as the press hovered like vultures waiting for Liverpool to announce the departure of Steven Gerrard. Reports over the last week or so came to a head this morning with claims that Steven Gerrard had been arguing on Saturday with Rafael Benitez and that he wasn’t going to talk any more. Last week’s stories started in Spanish paper "As" and reported Gerrard as telling Benitez he was tempted by a move to Spain and Real Madrid.
More updates are filtering through from unofficial channels as to where these stories have all originated. The stories in today’s press did come from SFX it seems. Not from Gerrard’s actual agent Struan Marshall though, but allegedly from other senior members of staff at the agency.
The reports in last week’s Spanish press are alleged to have come from Real Madrid, who are moving as they often do to unsettle players through the press.
The delay, albeit a very short one, has come from Rick Parry assuming that there was no need to rush into the deal as Gerrard wanted to stay. Gerrard has privately made it very clear that he does want to stay.
The management at SFX seem to be on their own agenda. They want Gerrard to move away from Anfield so that they can get higher commission. Last year it was a move to Chelsea, this year it’s a move to Madrid.
Last week’s stories were "leaked" by Madrid. Stories that claimed Gerrard wanted to leave. Whether SFX had any dealings with this story is unknown, but they have since used it to their advantage, by saying that Liverpool had planted the stories to make Gerrard unpopular. They even claimed that Benitez had leaked the story – something which has made Benitez extremely angry as he denies doing this.
Parry and Benitez have been meeting with Gerrard this afternoon, in an attempt to explain their side to the captain. Hopefully they’ll be able to do this without members of SFX present. We are told that the "bust-up" on Saturday did not happen – it was invented by SFX. Liverpool are willing to meet his contract demands. There’s been a major misunderstanding between the two sides, with the agency in the middle trying to turn Gerrard’s head. Again.
From what we have been told SFX, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all been involved in leaking stories in an attempt to engineer matters to their own advantage. There’s even allegations that some of this may have been bending UEFA and FIFA rules, if not breaking them.
Struan Marshall also handles Jamie Carragher, but Carragher is not likely to leave Anfield. He’s trusted by Gerrard, but Gerrard will no doubt question this in light of the recent events. Gerrard is reportedly extremely upset and pressured, as people he trusts are all contradicting each other. He needs to take stock of what is happening and work out who he should trust. If Struan Marshall is an innocent party in this – and from what we’ve been told he isn’t responsible for the manipulation of the media – then he needs to get to the bottom of what’s happened internally within SFX to ensure Gerrard is now told the truth.
Liverpool’s financial problems are still there but are not playing any part in these problems surrounding Steven Gerrard.