Blackburn’s Lucas Neill has spoken this week of his disappointment at missing out on a move to Anfield in the summer, a move that failed despite Liverpool making effort right up until the close of that August 31st deadline.
He of course has to be careful what he says, but it’s no secret that Liverpool wanted to sign the player who had just 12 months left on his contract, but weren’t willing to pay any more than the player was worth. Blackburn wanted Liverpool to include Stephen Warnock in the deal but the Reds refused to entertain that idea. In the end the deadline passed and Neill stayed at Ewood Park. The Australian international said he’d never have turned down the move to Anfield had it got to the stage where he was allowed to talk to the Reds: “I was linked to Liverpool, and no player in their right mind would not want the opportunity to go to a club like that with so much history and prestige. The deal that was presented to the club at the time from Liverpool was not in Blackburn's best interests, therefore I didn't have a say and I didn't move on.”
Liverpool and Blackburn clash in the league as soon as the international break is over and Neill’s comments could see him getting jeers from his own fans. He’s making it clear that he won’t be staying on at Rovers, and could move in the January window if Blackburn decide that enough’s enough. The player clearly would have preferred to move in August, but he’ll wait if he has to: “It's unfortunate for my career that it didn't go that way, but as a professional I have to move on. Now I'm hopefully in just as good a position when those opportunities present themselves again in January, or if not then, I'll get a free transfer in June.”
Neill is a controversial choice as a signing for Liverpool, given his track record in clashes between the Reds and Rovers. However it’s believed that there is no animosity from the players towards Neill, even Carra who had his leg broken by Neill is said to be unperturbed by the idea of the player joining the Reds.
This weekend Neill gets the honour of leading his country out as captain when the Socceroos play Paraguay, something he’s immensely proud of: “It's a dream come true and I will be fighting hard not to give the armband back.”