The silly season is underway in England now after the league season came to an end on Sunday. There’s still one game to play for Liverpool, and there’s a World Cup this summer too, but there is still too much time on the hands of newspaper journalists. They have too much time and too little to tell. So off we go with the annual full-on transfer rumour spectacular.
We will try and keep you up-to-date with anything we hear, excluding certain sources we’d never trust. A lot of the rumours wash over us for one reason or other – if you think we should pay attention to any particular rumour contact us
We’re pretty certain that Fabio Aurelio will be joining us this summer. He’s a defender, usually a left-back, Brazilian, 26 years old and currently playing for Valencia. He will be joining on a “Bosman” free transfer once his current deal officially expires later this summer.
Aurelio is going to be one of a number of new faces at the club by the time the new season kicks off. The Liverpool Echo’s Chris Bascombe believes there will be seven in all. We already know about Chilean left-winger Mark Gonzalez (assuming he finally gets a work permit or European passport) and 20-year-old Argentinean defender Gabriel Paletta. As if there aren’t enough left-sided players about there is talk that former captain Glenn Hysen’s son Tobias – a left-sided midfielder – has been catching the eye of the Reds scouts. Valued at somewhere between one and two million pounds, the Djurgarden star would be signed as a squad player with the potential to improve his game under the Anfield coaching staff.
Two possible options for the right side of midfield are being bandied about. One is Shaun Wright-Phillips, who has been one of the most expensive squad players in English football since his move to Chelsea. He was already said to be unhappy and looking for a way out, but his exclusion from the England World Cup squad has made the whispers grow louder. Talk of a £14million fee is probably guess-work, but Chelsea won’t want to lose too much on him if they are to sell him to one of their main rivals. It’s one of those football “secrets” that Liverpool were interested in buying him when Chelsea came along, and that his people practically begged Liverpool to buy him, but the Reds weren’t able or willing to match Chelsea’s offer. The other option for that side of the pitch would certainly be more affordable, and that is Birmingham winger Jermaine Pennant. There is no doubting the player’s talents, but his troubled past is something that may cause some reluctance from Anfield. The troubles seem to be behind him now, and with Birmingham relegated now they will be looking to offload some of their wage bill. That relegation cost Liverpool around £1.5m in what would have been the next payment from the Heskey transfer, but the rumour will not go away that a deal was already agreed between the Reds and Birmingham before their fate was known. Pennant is said to have been a childhood Liverpool supporter, but we’ve heard that before.
Guillem Balague, Spanish journalist, Liverpool supporter and friend of Rafael Benítez hinted in a recent interview with The Liverpool Way fanzine that Rafa was looking for two new full-backs. Steve Finnan and John Arne Riise have done a great job this season of course, but Rafa likes to have cover. Aurelio looks set to be the cover for the left-back position, but has Rafa got someone up his sleeve for the right? Other rumours are rife that Jan Kromkamp is unhappy at Anfield and wants to go back to Holland. This of course leads to rumours of part-exchange deals with Dutch players.
Which other Liverpool players are to go out remains to be seen. Chris Kirkland knows he isn’t wanted by Rafa and now has to wait and see what offers come up for him, but Jerzy Dudek won’t want another season on the bench. Scott Carson has earned himself a place in the England standby squad after his performances on loan with Sheffield Wednesday this season, but if Dudek does leave Carson will be needed back at Anfield next season as understudy to Pepe Reina.
Up front Robbie Fowler has just secured a new 12-month deal, but what is going to happen to Cisse and Morientes? Both players claim they want to stay, but this remains to be seen.
Expect a full summer of stories and rumours, and expect an extra burst of these as the stars of this summer’s World Cup emerge, before the final surge as the weeks tick down to the August 31st deadline. All this will start in earnest after this Saturday’s FA Cup final.