It’s all gone quiet – publicly at least – on the transfer front at Anfield, as we move into the last week of the transfer window.
Deals for youngsters like Paul Anderson and David Martin have been accompanied by deals for more experienced players like Jan Kromkamp and Daniel Agger. Very little has happened with players leaving the club, Josemi went as part of the Kromkamp deal and John Welsh as part of the Anderson deal. Most unwanted Liverpool players are on loan elsewhere at the moment, with other players loaned out to get first-team experience before being at the very least reviewed again in the summer. Neil Mellor turned down a move to Hearts and will be glad he did after scoring the winner for Wigan in his first match after starting a six-month loan.
Hearts have shown a lot of interest in Liverpool, Mellor was the latest Red target of many that they’ve made moves for. Their move for Darren Potter – a move that was verbally agreed between the two clubs and the player before the transfer window even opened – seems to have fallen through though now. According to The Liverpool Way , who have good contacts with many of Liverpool’s fringe players and one or two bigger names, the deal was doomed when Potter’s agent saw the contract. The problems with the contract, added to a Hearts approach for a Liverpool youngster that left the club three years ago, suggested that Hearts weren’t being as professional as a club in their position should be. At this point in time the deal may still go through, but Potter will need to be convinced that these incidents were isolated.
A big rumour doing the rounds right now is that Reds legend Robbie Fowler is on his way back to the club. Fowler undoubtedly remains a Red at heart, and most Liverpool fans were sad to see him go. Talk is that Fowler is prepared to accept an extremely low wage, or a pay-as-you-play deal. Some strands of the rumour claim that Rafael Benitez is extremely interested in bringing Fowler in as an extra option up front. Fowler certainly has Premiership experience, but his return to Anfield may cause other problems, certainly for the likes of Djibril Cisse who was heavily criticised by a lot of Reds after his performance at Old Trafford on Sunday. The biggest sticking point for Fowler could well be his fitness, and another rumour claims the player is out in Germany this week to have his long-standing problems assessed to see if his career can be "saved".
Another rumour, which to be frank seems more unlikely than Sven Goran Eriksson becoming a columnist for the News of the World, is that Chelsea are about to let Liverpool sign Shaun Wright-Phillips. It’s an open secret that Liverpool had shown interest in the player, and that he wanted to join the Reds until Chelsea came in with their massive bid. It’s no secret that he’s unhappy with his limited chances at Stamford Bridge. The problem with the likelihood of the move taking place is that the rumour claims it would be a loan move. Chelsea and Liverpool are unlikely to do any business with each other given the rivalry, but least of all loan moves.
That rumour comes about because of Liverpool’s need for a right winger. Rafa Benitez made it clear all through the summer that he wanted someone to fill this position, along with a centre half. The signing of Daniel Agger satisfied his defensive desires, but still no word from Rafa on who will be hugging the Red touchline any time soon to give Gerrard a chance to go back into his preferred central role. A move for Simao has fallen through completely it seems – and there’s even been a report that Chelsea made a bid for the player, a bid much higher than that Liverpool refused to pay for him in the summer.
Left-winger Mark Gonzales was seen training at Melwood last week – and it was a gaffe by the staff at the official Liverpool FC site that revealed him to fans. Training at Melwood is done behind closed doors, but the official site posted a picture of various players going through their paces on Friday. According to the site’s staff, writing on the club’s message boards, the player was going through a fitness assessment, but his picture (with other Liverpool players in training) was quickly pulled from the site. Gonzales could yet be about to make a quicker-than-expected debut for the Reds, with the club awaiting the results of a second attempt to earn him a work permit expected this week. Gonzales was turned down for a work permit because of his country’s FIFA ranking when Liverpool last applied, but could be given a permit under a different method. Rather than using the criteria for footballers, Liverpool have reportedly applied under a “talented foreigners” method, and are confident of being successful. Whatever the outcome, the player is expected to qualify for a Spanish passport in the summer, and so would be eligible to play anyway at that stage.
Rafael Benítez is undoubtedly still working on things in this last week, along with Chief Executive Rick Parry, but very little news is leaking out. Once the transfer window is closed Liverpool shareholders are hoping for an AGM to be called so that some firm news on the investment can be revealed. Perhaps the delay is a good sign that Rafa still has money to spend, and by keeping the investment quiet he keeps prices down for players he’d like to buy.