Degen deal announced, back-up keeper linked

Liverpool FC have officially confirmed today that Philipp Degen is to join the club when his current contract with Borussia Dortmund runs out at the end of the month.

Degen, in the Swiss squad for Euro 2008, will officially become a Red on July 1st.

Philipp DeganReds boss Rafa Benítez said today of the 25-year-old right-back: “Philipp is still young but has gained great experience from playing in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and on the international stage with Switzerland. He also played in the Champions League during his time with Basel and so is used to top level football.”

He went on:  “He is an offensive player with great energy and a winning mentality. His strength is going forward and I am confident he will be prove to be a quality addition to our squad.”

Some Liverpool fans have been critical of the fact that Liverpool are signing players on free transfers, but Rafa sees the benefits of spreading his budget as far as possible, and no fee doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality: “Sometimes you can find these players on the market. When you find a player like him who costs no money it means you can use money for improving other parts of the squad. He is a good signing, a player of potential, who can help us improve in the wide areas.”

Degen himself said he didn’t need to be asked twice: “When I received the offer from Liverpool, there was no doubt I would accept it. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am looking forward to the challenge of establishing myself there and playing in the best league there is.”

One of the players he’ll be competing with for a place in the Reds line-up is Alvaro Arbeloa, who has just been called up for Spain’s Euro 2008 challenge. He said he was delighted to be involved with his country: “I’m very happy to be here, I’m really excited and I’m determined to do well. I want to fully enjoy this experience and go far in the tournament. It’s important to think that we have to win, although we haven’t won much in Spain. That’s the right mentality. We know that we have to go bit by bit but the objective is to win Euro 2008.”

Meanwhile reports in France have linked Liverpool with a move for a 35-year-old goalkeeper. Ulrich Ramé has just ended the season with Bordeaux, finishing second in the French top flight, and leParisien now say Liverpool have looked at him as cover for Pepe Reina. Liverpool’s previous three French keepers have been Pegguy Arphexad, Patrice Luzi and Charles Itandje, and enthusiasm amongst supporters for this possible signing is likely to be rather low. Hopefully so inside Melwood too.

64 thoughts on “Degen deal announced, back-up keeper linked”

  1. Hopefully, Rafa has unearthed a gem here. Good Luck to him as the full back positions are vital in today’s game.

  2. “He is an offensive player with great energy and a winning mentality.”

    That’s a good start!

    “When you find a player like him who costs no money it means you can use money for improving other parts of the squad.”

    Makes Sense!

  3. It makes sense when you have so little money to go for Degen and not, say, Daniel Alves who we bid for a couple of seasons ago. How times have changed.

    Good luck to Degen. Hope he’s the free transfer that bucks the trend.

    Fingers-crossed for Rafa that he gets some real money to spend! I hear Eto’o’s for sale!, if only!

    @Jim How many players have played/signed at Right Back for LFC in the time Rafa’s been at the Club and how much (in total) did they all cost? I can think of 6. I’m sure that their total cost is less than half the price of Bosingwa, Chelsea’s latest multi-million pound right back signing.

    And of course, on that budget, Rafa’s going to easily win the league right???

  4. Welcome aboard mate, hope you prove your worth and prove us wrong with good runs in the side. Now we better look at the Left-back position and bring in at least 1 wide man, if not 2

  5. Philip is an average player.. i think he not much better than Arbeloa!!!! we need world class Alves, Lahmn, on the wing backs then two wingers Quaresma and Maxi Rodrigues a play maker Diego or Michael Johnson two strikers as cover to Torres i would suggest David Villa and Zarate

  6. @midlands-red: Good question MR.


    Josemi was signed for £2m and then swapped for…
    Kromkamp who was sold for £1.75m
    Arbeloa cost £2.5m
    Barragan cost £250k, sold for £750k (with a buy-back option)

    You’ll have to help me out on the other two, must be missing the obvious

    That’s a net spend of £2.25m based on those probably inaccurate figures.

  7. well Degan sounds promising we’ll know a lot more about him in the coming weeks when we have a chance to look at him in the Euro’s. Also is response to midlands-red, Rafa has signed 4 right backs in his time at Liverpool, Josemi, Kromkamp, Barragan and Arbeloa. Josemi was signed when Rafa took over as i believe he didnt know much about Steve Finnan. Kromkamp was a straight swap for Josemi when things didnt work, and we sold Kromkamp for in around the same fee as we bought Josemi so not much lost there. As far Barragan, he was signed as a player of potential, who didnt quite settle at Anfield and we sold to Deportivo who he has been starring for until a recent bad injury, we also have a buy back clause in his contract incase he realises his potential. And Arbeloa is a very good player. So i think their total cost is about a third of Bosingwa’s fee, which is why its hard for us to compete at the top end so instead of relying on money to get us there we’re relying on good management and we’re slowly getting there. If only the board had’ve pushed the boat out an extra £3m we’d have had Dani Alves instead of Pennant, so we cant blame Rafa on that blunder as i dont think there is a manager out there who wouldve done better than Rafa has in his 4 seasons here.

  8. I second Paulo’s call for Maxi Rodrigues on the wing. Plus he scored the best goal of the 2006 World Cup – an absolute cracker.

  9. Jim I have to get this off my chest I am royaly psised of at Martin O’Neill and his drama queen wimpy crying in the press. He must be the dumbest manager in the Premiere league if he think Barry is going to turn down the chance to play in the Champions league next season with a winning team like Liverpool.

    It must all be about how much money O’Neil can get for the player that has seen the bid leaked to the press from his own office. I can think of several midfielders I would rather see at Anfield other than Barry but he is a middle of the road player that can fill in for some of the dead wood that will be leaving this summer.

    Martin O’Neil must be the only person involved in the league who believes Barry will stay at Villa he had best give is head a shake and wake up to the fact that when Liverpool want some one they only have to ask once.

  10. Degen deserves his chance just like any new Liverpool signing whether they be a free transfer or a record breaking recruit.

    Saying that though I think Deggen is going to have to buck a trend in relation to the success of previous free signings if he is going to stand any chance of making it at Liverpool.

    Aside from Marcus Babbel, Kewell Aurelio and Voronin spring to mind when you think of free transfers you would prefer to forget. Kewells may have been jinxed from the get go but he will still be remembered as an expensive flop. Some argue that Aurelio has done okay but with defensive lapses and crippling injuries I don’t think I could justify calling Fabio’s time here a success. Voronin was surely last summers example of how when you pay peanuts you’ll get monkeys.

    So unless Degen can prove himself an exception to the rule and unless Rafa has the funds available to sign better standard players that the likes of ex Man City loanee’s then this time next year we will probably be in talks for yet another free transfer and still not at the level as United and Chelsea to challenge for number 19.

    As always Hicks and Gilette out……………

  11. @Yossa Hughes: I know what you mean Yossa – I can understand him being upset about it being leaked (but it did not leak from the LFC side) but personally I’d rather not have a player at my club if his heart wasn’t in it any more.

    Saw this in an article in the Birmingham press:

    Help persuade Gareth Barry to stay at Aston Villa

    We know every player dreams of Champions League football, pitting his skills against the best in the world.

    But, such has been the club’s transformation under O’Neill, he could soon realise that ambition with Villa anyway – he is already getting another taste of Europe in the InterToto Cup next season, which could lead to UEFA Cup glory.

    InterToto v Champions League?

  12. Degen was a part of Dortmunds defence which conceded 62 goals last season in Germany’s premier league, this was more than any other club. I’ll reserve judgement on the player until I see him play but in all honesty I believe he’s just another squad player. Not a first team regular!

  13. ps. I’m not saying Degen was responsible for conceding all those goals but it still doesn’t make good reading.

  14. Gurdeep – Degem was technically not part of the defence because he was injured for most of the season. I have just heard on the radio a German hack saying that he is surprised that Rafa is going in for Degem because he has been injured so much. Rafa is taking a bit of a gamble on this kid. Everton are going in for a Brazilien striker who has scored 30 goals this season for Spartak Moscow, if everton can afford to spend 18 million on a player then why can’t we? We are being shafted good style because the new TV deals are kicking in so we should easily be able to spend big in the summer at least once.

  15. @dotsey
    @ Jim

    I went for those who have ‘played/signed’ for Rafa which enabled me to say 6 by putting Carragher and Finnan in there. But your figures/numbers make the point even more strongly.

    The idea of Liverpool buying the title and becoming a Chelsea doesn’t give me the best feeling. However, I do want us to compete.

    Chelsea spent 16m on Bosingwa, Man United are said to be willing to spend a similar amount on Lahm (but we’ll see), Arsenal paid about £6 or £7m for Sagna and then there’s us with a smaller outlay.

    Then of course you can add Tottenham with Chimbonda (£4.5mn) or even Everton with Phil Neville at above £3.5mn. Finnan is the only one who comes anywhere close to those figures – and that was on Houlliers watch (as was Diouf and Diao but let’s not rewind the clock too much, right!).

    This is not to say Degen won’t prove to be a real asset. But that is more in hope than expectation…..and then we have to extend hope even further by asking whether Rafa can again pull the rabbit out of the hat.

    Rafa must really love our club, that’s all i know. Long may that continue despite the mess.

  16. Maybe Degen will be spurred on to greatness if only to prove that not all Swiss defenders are as haphazard as Phillipe Senderos…

  17. “i dont think there is a manager out there who wouldve done better than Rafa has in his 4 seasons here.”

    hear hear.

  18. Thanks for the link Edward.

    Read the comments – although there weren’t many.

    Speed but lacking in technical awareness seems to the assessment. That, actually, makes me a little happier. Why? Well a) Rafa, like the rest of us, has identified what we’re lacking ie attacking pace from the wing-backs. Always good to feel you could be LFC manager 🙂 and b) If there’s one thing Rafa can give any player it’s technical awareness but he can’t induce pace. So, there’s at least a glimmer of hope there!

    As for this evening’s game – I really want both sides to lose. But as that’s impossible, I want a really controversial decision to decide the game and over-shadow the victory. Mean of me, I know. But whenever I try and side with one of them, my head spins to the point that I even contemplate placing Tom Hicks Sky Sports News interview as more favoured than Manure and Chelski. What is the world coming to…

    PS Check out the bench of both United and Chelsea and then wonder whether Degen would even make either. Let’s hope that by this time next year he’s a real star!

  19. Here is a quote from the site moderator from the board mentioned above.

    Quote “He really does have the pace to play in the EPL, but I fear he is really lacking in technical ability. His speed will have to do wonders for him if he wishes to be successful at all or even get a spot on the starting squad. I still wish him the best of luck, but I don’t think he will find it easy in the EPL at all.”
    Degen may technically not have been a part of the defence which concedd 62 goals last season, but their own supporters are surprised at why a big club like LFC would be purchasing a player of his calibre. I fear Rafa is conserving his small pot money for maybe 2 big signings and the rest must be made up from wheeling and dealing in the transfer market. Alot of folk have rightly mentioned that we have gathered extra funds by reaching the semi’s of the CL, finishing 4th in the PL and also getting money from the TV deals. However, all this money could be used for the stadium…….maybe???

  20. I really think that we should reserve judgment on Degen until he has had a chance to play (meaning a couple of seasons.

    There is a very good article by Paul Tomkins on the silly season:

    btw Jim, I have not heard from you regarding placing the recently developed confectionary range. I suppose you will not be displaying this on the main board?

    Oh well, Julie I suppose we will have plug the range on a weekly basis. To get things started, folks here is a reminder of the excellent products on offer (all proceeds go to raising funds to buy out our football club):

    “Julie (Toronto) // May 14, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    ….to recap our stocklist towards the billion-pound mark thus far:

    Gerrard’s Chocolate Oranges
    Monster’s Crazy Potato Rings
    Skrtel’s Turtles
    Babel’s Kababels
    Kuyt’s Dutch Treats
    Torres’s Roses
    Dagger’s mints
    Rafa’s Rollos
    Parry-eh? Sparkling Water
    Hobbs’s Nobbs
    DIC almond dates
    Hick’s coconut cigars
    Gillett’s dark chocolate dollars
    Moores’ Con Bons
    Alonso’s Garbanzos
    Fabio’s Flake
    Jamie’s Jellies ”

    Perhaps my posts are becoming bizarre and out of character 😉

  21. Is anyone else not depressed about the quality of player we’ve been linked with so far? I’m sure Stevie will be thinking long and hard about it.

    We’re Liverpool not Bolton. I just hope Rafa’s got at least one trick up his sleeve this summer otherwise next season will be very similar to last.

    Under the current ownership we’re going nowhere

  22. Ooops, Xabi rumours are back!


  23. raju: we both must have been on drugs the day we came up with that list. Blimey. Then again, if it does make us a billion pounds, it will be our very own Magna Carta for Liverpool’s future. Bit scary, though, to think that the future of the club could rest upon Jamie’s Jellies.

    Edward: damn you, I was having a perfectly good morning until I read your link.

  24. Julie – Ouch! If Blanc was in Liverpool, that looks like the deal is nearly done!

  25. Edward: sorry, didn’t mean to land that open-hand slap on you – it should have landed on the Football Fates (those sprites that flit around managers’ heads and influence their decision-making, however questionable it might be).

    Honestly, I’m not sure whether to be exhilarated or apprehensive of all the changes to the squad. Losing Riise and Pennant I can handle. I’m less happy about losing Crouch. The prospect of losing Alonso and Finnan does my head in. Rafa is taking a big gamble tinkering with some key elements of the squad’s backbone. Hopefully it’ll hit the jackpot at some point, but whenever there are this many changes in the works with such key players involved, it makes me wonder how long the new starting XI (if Liverpool has such a thing) will take to gel.

  26. Julie: whatever drugs they were, I don’t mind having some more.

    I am really tired of these Alonso rumours. He himself has repeatedly said that he does not want to move. Rafa has not said he wants him to sell. The latest round of rumours suggest that Rafa is prepared to let him go for £10 (£5m less than he is worth!!!). Shurely shome mishtake. Messrs. Hicks and Gillette have a say in such a summer sale price given that they jointly trying scrape every pound/dollar/euro around!

    On the issue of Degem well I don’t mind if a monster signing follows a freebie (2007 = Voronin followed by Torres) (2008 Degem followed by ????)

    oh well. I have developed a cold now so a good reason for an early night. should fall asleep around about 7.44pm!

  27. Julie – I think Rafa has become obsessed with winning the league. Turning us into a consistent week in week out winning machine.

    Next season may be an all-or-nothing onslaught on the league. That’s the only logic I can come up with in sacrificing Alonso for Barry.

    It would hurt though to see a gifted footballer such as Xabi replaced by, a perhaps more consistent, though less talented player like Barry.

  28. raju: man, that cold sounds bad (though your bedtime timing sounds impeccable) – maybe we should investigate expanding our confectionary line into pharmaceutical remedies as it is the fate of Liverpool fans to require headache tablets throughout the season. As far as Xabi is concerned…as Edward says, if Blanc was in town, it doesn’t look good. Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger! I can only hope your haze of mucous is giving you gifted powers of ESP and you’re seeing that Rafa desperately needs £10m right away to go toward the cost of Torres’s clone.

    raju/Edward: what gets me is that both Alonso and Finnan were given extended contracts last summer (along with Gerrard and, I think, Carragher) and these were trumpeted as nailing down the infrastructure of the Liverpool squad. If the following summer two of these players are sold on, it concerns me that our master tactician is completely reinventing his game.

    Edward: your theory is a good one, and league focus certainly represents an about-face from his past attention on European action. Rafa has got at least two senior members of his squad (the Scouse contingent, no less) who’ve publicly stated that winning the league has got to be the number one priority so I can see him shifting his priorities to keep them and the fans (who have done so much to support him over this past horriblus seasonus bumblus idiotus) satisfied.

  29. Is it not the case that when a player gets to a certain age he can buy out the remainder of his contract then leave for free, which may be the reason why Rafa got them to sign up so as to ensure he gets some kind of fee.
    Alonso seems to have lost his appetite to me so 10m plus is good money. especially if the funds are limited which does seem to be the case. Hopefully Crouch to follow then we may get some better quality signings.

  30. Julie: Unfortunately the pharmaceutical market is pretty saturated these days and probably will not contribute to our goal. Furthermore, I do not have the same powers of divination as you and so can’t help on what Rafa has up his sleeves. (Remember my day job is an alchemist with a bit of law on the side when I want to get bored silly!)

    Julie/Fred: all the press are sharing the same source (the PA) for this alonso story. Not wishing to jinx the status quo but there are no quotes just usual `banter’

    @ Martin (post at 12.26pm) – the less said about `arry the better. I hate to think that he has had some part in Aurelio’s injuries.

  31. Raju – Check out the headline they used for the story!


  32. It doesn’t make sense letting Alonso go.

    If he goes and we buy Barry for a similar price then that is lunacy as far as i’m concerned, but it hasn’t happened yet and I have faith in Rafa. You could almost understand it if Rafa is going to revert to a 4-4-2 and say use the money to buy a top striker, but having said that it leaves us short in midfield, so you would assume that another central midfielder would need to be purchased as replacement.

    Forgive me if i fall into a despondant haze of fury and regret at our current ownership situation once more. It all seems a bit ridiculous to me at the moment, bringing in 2nd rate players and selling our best. To be honest I don’t see what was wrong with Finnan and Arbeloa as our right backs with Carragher as back up? Ok, so this Dossena player looks alright but I wonder how much better than the slated Riise he will be. I actually think Riise is a pretty decent player, this season aside, although I know many Liverpool fans who won’t agree with that.

    Every year I yearn for us to sign wingers and strikers. Last year we bought a tremendous striker, the best we could’ve hoped for, but didn’t sign any true wingers. It This year it looks like Rafa is buying fullbacks who can get forward to negate this neccesity or shortfall in attacking width, suggesting that he will indeed use the 4-2-3-1 formation he employed towards the end of this season, but then you hear Juve are in town for Alonso and you wonder where the extra midfielder is going to come from, and you go full circle and assume it’s Barry!

    Alonso is a world class midfielder and if we are going to sell him he is worth 18 million based on precedent. Carrick, Mascherano, Hargreaves, all cost this sort of money and I don’t see why Alonso should be any different. Fundamentally though, we should be looking to keep hold of our best players and not using their value to buy in other positions. No prizes for guessing whose fault that is!


    P.S. I accept the fact it may be a complete load of Bolloc…

  33. “Oooo, whooo, oooo, ohhhh, ooooo, we’ve got the best signings in the world… We’ve got Gareth Barry, Andrea Dossena, Degen, and Ulrich Rame-ee-ee!!”

    what a joke.

  34. Before today’s CL final game I wanted both sides to lose. I wanted a Refereeing blunder to overshadow the whole game – so it was to be remembered as the Referee’s final – not one won by either of the teams.

    But as the game progressed my mind committed the ultimate sin – it wanted United to win. Sacrilage!

    My mind just couldn’t cope with seeing Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole with ‘our’ trophy. It couldn’t imagine wanting to read a single newspaper tomorrow knowing that those men – who’s TV personality’s it rejects – were ‘kings of europe’.

    So tonight for one night only – regardless of the fact that I was surrounded by United fans – I became an unlikely and altogether dishonorable red.

    I was the lucky charm for them. I called both Ronaldo and Terry missing the penalty’s before the penalty shoot-out. How I wished I’d put some money on it.

    Now normal service resumes. One more season over. And no trophies for us and no trophies for Chelsea – although that’s little consolation now we know United have won THE double.

    How the hell are we going to compete? Well, Rafa, Sammy Lee, Gerrard, Carragher and Torres etc will know our first XI is good enough. But it’s from the bench where alot of these games are won – the gap being so slim.

    So let’s enjoy the Euros and hope that somehow, from somewhere we get off to a good start next season and take on the guys with the resources (Chelsea, United) and become a real force in the premier league again.

  35. midlands-red – I think that you have a fever or somthing! I think that you should go to the doctors in the morning and get help. Manc U winning the CL was the worse possible scenario that could happen. Not only have they won the CL they have also won the double, we will get it shoved down our throats for the next 50 years. I think that you have just become a Judas because you have been drinking with a load of Manc U fans. You should beg for forgiveness from the lord and do 1000 hail Mary’s, or if you don’t believe then you should beg forgiveness of Shankly and Paisly.

  36. Egg man – I’m slowly digesting what was, like you say, the worst possible result.

    Great game, wrong result!

  37. If Alonso is going it must be a sign we’ve got Barry in the bag. Unless there’s some other creative attacking midfielder to come in and Jezza is going to play in a deeper role instead.

    I’m not a big fan of Maxi Rodriguez. Rather see Alessandro Mancini come for 4M personally, or even better the much rumoured David Silva to sign.

  38. @ Edward // May 21, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    “…Raju – Check out the headline they used for the story!


    Do you think they know something about the Mancs that we don’t?

    On yesterday’s final…tbh I was not too bothered about who won. I was originally opting for the Chavs but then I saw a sign in the stands where their supporters were located “Scouser free zone” and they immediately lost any support from my part.

    I had to turn the volume to mute…could not quite believe the commentary…it was like they were on drugs or multiples or some sort.

    Anyway, they have had their moment in the sun…normal service from next season onwards.

    Folks the bigger picture is that no matter how many PL titles Fergie wins…the inescapable fact is that he will never be seen in the same light as our grandmaster. Furthermore, he has only 2 champions league titles to show in 20 odd years.

  39. I think, or rather hope, the Daily Post article is a little more accurate. I can’t see how it would be in our interest to REPLACE Xabi with Barry, good player though he is.

    Xabi offers the team something we can’t get – at the moment – from Lucas and I just don’t see Barry in Xabi’s class.

    Ok, the profit from Xabi means Rafa can revitalise his team again – but if anything, that’s a sign of the ownership problems.

    Xabi’s is an excellent player, though admittedly not the greatest in the world. For example – we’d rather keep Gerrard over Xabi. But Xabi is quality – and you don’t sell quality easily.

    There’s no way United would sell Carrick or Chelsea Essien for a small to middling profit if it impacted negatively on the team. Seems we’re edging closer to becoming a selling team. What next? Poor Rafa – having to sell his midfield general to fill in for Snoogy Doogy’s empty promises.

    Daily Post piece – Juve shopping for more than just Alonso

  40. i had the whole game on sky+ and fast forwarded the whole game til pens. I didn’t want the mancs to win due to fergie getting close to our records but having endured the chavs chanting “murderers murderers” I didnt want them to win either!!
    As hard as it is to take we have to accept we are man u’s and the chavs poor relation. Whether its due to an inept boardroom I don’t know but with the current owners theres no way we will ever match them. We have to back Rafa he is doing the best he can wheeling and dealing because of a lack of funds. I’m sure he doesn’t want to sell Alonso but other clubs are aware of our ownership strife and lack of funds so they take advantage. No point going over the same old ground but it just highlights the trouble we are in and maybe we will become a selling club.

  41. Bang on Fred “with the current owners there’s no way we’ll ever match them”
    David Moores could have borrowed the money to be in the present situation and still owned the club.

  42. Midlands Red I understand where you are coming from in relation to Alonso but I think at times as Liverpool fans we tend to look back to Alonso’s first season and assess him on that rather than how he has performed since then. His performances have become increasingly poor since that first season and though they did improve towards the end of this season I don’t know was there sufficient improvement to dismiss a 16 million bid.

    Because Rafa doesn’t have a lot of cash I think he does have to be ruthless in his thinking. If he has decided to replace Alonso with Barry well then that may not be a bad plan, Barry has been a very consistent performer in the league for how many seasons now and frankly Xabi hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong I am big a fan of Alonso’s and think he could potentially have a lot more to offer but the way things are we cant afford to wait much longer to find that out. It would be ideal if we could have both Barry and Alonso but Rafa wont be afforded such luxuries while the Americans are in charge.

    Anyway aside from being deflated by last nights result, I can’t see us winning the premiership anytime soon. I know this is the time of year again when one or two transfers give cause for optimism. Ex players and pundits tend to ignore the seasons past and by August I wont be surprised if they are tipping us to pip United next year. But 18 years without the league is enough for me to realise that it is highly unlikely that we will be champions next season.

    United are the finished article and with the opportunity to spend big again this summer they can only improve further.
    Liverpool on the other hand aren’t and it seems we don’t possess the funds to become the finished article at this point in time.

    I would be willing to see the team to stay exactly as is, no signings or sales, if the ownership situation was resolved rather than to go out an buy second rate players like Riera and the ownership farce to rumble on. This time next year we still wont be league champions and its clear hicks and Gilette dont have the type of money available to change that.

    For the success of the club and not their personal fortunes it is time for Hicks and Gilette to end this farce and sell the club to the sort of people who can genuinely once again help lead the club to greatness

  43. Hi Juan, point taken.

    In defence of Alonso, I’d have to say he had an ok season – including a fabulous Semi Final first leg against Chelsea ( I think it was that game) – but we shouldn’t forget it was a season troubled by metatarsal problems.

    For Rafa to let Xabi go, for a profit or not, really does show the deep deep trouble we’re in with regards to the board.

    Scrutiny of Hicks and Gillett (and DIC) have been reduced by the the CL build-up and the signings we are making/said to be making. Now we have a 3 week hiatus towards the CL let’s hope to hear more quotes soon, although England friendlies are coming.

  44. IMHO, Xabi had a part in 2 of our biggest f*ck ups this season:

    Against Barnsley for their second goal.


    Not restraining Mascherano prior to him getting sent off via United:

    For me these were key moments where he went walkabout and there’s no excuse for it. Having said that I wouldn’t transfer him this Summer because he’s a quality player with alot of experience and deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    Certainly though there’s room for improvement in the area of passion and commitment.

  45. Can’t help wondering how much Rafa actually has to spend this summer using ball park figures
    Carson 10m
    Crouch 8m
    Alonso 16m
    Pennant 5m
    Riise ?
    Using those 5 players and they are in no way what we will actually get but never the less give a figure of 30m+ yet so far we are linked with cheap players except barry@ 10m. Does this mean Rafa will have 30m+ without our owners providing anything. If thats the case then thats a decent enough budget but will the board be adding to that?

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