Crouch goes south

Peter Crouch’s time at Anfield is now drawing to a close after he underwent a medical for Portsmouth, following an announcement from the Reds that he had been given permission to speak to Harry Redknapp’s side.

A spokesman was quoted on the official Liverpool FC website confirming the news: “We have reached a verbal agreement with Portsmouth and have given them permission to speak with Peter.”

Crouch joined the club from Southampton in 2005 for what many thought was an overpriced £7m. As that first season began those critics were enjoying his slow start, until he finally did find the net and put the 19-game dry spell behind him. In the end he scored 42 times for the club, in his 135 appearances and earned a lot of adulation from supporters. 22 of those goals came from his 85 league appearances.

If the move goes ahead it will be his second spell at Portsmouth. He had been linked with two of his other former clubs, Tottenham and Aston Villa, but it’s believed it was always Portsmouth he was most interested in moving to.

The player has a year left on his Liverpool contract, and so Rafa Benítez would not have seriously expected to achieve the £15m valuation he publicly put on the forward. The fee is, according to the Liverpool Echo, £11m – but only £8m of that would be paid up front. The rest is linked to various add-ons. The paper says he’s about to undergo a medical.

Crouch and Torres against InterHis desire to leave was based above all else on a wish to get more first-team football. He was never likely to oust Fernando Torres as first-choice striker, and even when Rafa was playing a 4-4-2 formation the manager was rarely willing to partner Torres with Crouch. Crouch wants to further his England career, and being an understudy to Torres seems to be incompatible with that.

Liverpool’s attempts to sign Gareth Barry have barely moved forward – Martin O’Neill has now reportedly asked for Steve Finnan to be included in the deal, but his expectation is that Finnan would be included on top of Liverpool’s latest bid. His expectation is unlikely to be met, because Liverpool will not increase their overall bid, they would purely reduce the cash part of their bid by Finnan’s valuation. O’Neill is desperate for a full-back, after the player he had been using in the role – Olof Mellberg – left for Juventus on a Bosman.

Xabi Euro2008 winner - holding cupJuventus are also looking to add Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso to their squad this summer, but are now trying to get the fee down. Whereas Liverpool’s bids for Barry have been made without Villa allowing any contact between the player and Anfield, the Spanish midfielder’s representative has already held talks with Juve. These talks came after Juve’s representatives met with Rafa Benítez and others in Liverpool. The move looked set to go ahead as soon as the European Championships ended.

With Xabi involved in the final as Spain became champions his value has certainly not dropped, but Juve don’t agree with Liverpool on what that value actually is. Reports suggest Liverpool are asking for €20m, €5m more than Juve want to pay, and now the Italian side say they have other targets too.

They made similar noises in January when their move for Momo Sissoko had reached the stage where it was time to show the money. After their interest had been publicly confirmed, and the player had spoken of how good the move could be, they started to claim the deal wasn’t on. They claimed they wouldn’t be buying anyone in the January transfer window. Momo signed for them in the January transfer window. Many of names linked with them in place of Xabi are not realistic targets, and they are still expected to close that £4m gap between their price and Liverpool’s, just as soon as they’ve realised the price isn’t going to drop as low as they would like.

Charles ItandjeCharles Itandje’s departure after an embarrassing first season at Anfield has been held up by his contract demands. Turkish side Galatasaray were all set to sign him for £2m, until they spoke to him and heard his desired contract terms.

His replacement is set to be the Brazilian keeper Diego Cavalieri of Palmeiras. The 25 year-old is now in the city after being given permission to miss his club’s match at the weekend to speak to the Reds. A £3m transfer fee has been agreed, which will be largely paid for by Itandje’s fee, if the Frenchman can find some common ground on his personal demands. After just agreeing to sign former Red Harry Kewell, Galatasaray are perhaps unable to afford to keep the keeper in the style he is accustomed to.

Meanwhile a Bosnian-born 17-year-old striker has joined the Reds on a three-year deal. Nikola Saric has played for the Danish Under-18 international side and was the 2007 Under-17 player of the year in Denmark.

Signed from Herfolge, he told his former club’s official website of his delight: “Of course, I want to join Liverpool FC.  I will get to train with the big names over there and develop in the reserves. It is a tremendous chance for me and I am very happy.  I feel the time is right and that I am mature enough for a new challenge. We have been waiting for the right club to come with an offer.”

5 thoughts on “Crouch goes south”

  1. Sad to see Crouch go but felt it was inevitable after the limited opportunities he had last year. But having said that, it’s noticeable that none of the other top teams – whether in the UK or elsewhere – actually tried to buy him, even at £11m. That tells you alot about whether he could actually propel us to the top of the Premier League tree.

    If Xabi leaves i’ll be even more gutted. Ok, he may want to leave. But I am far from convinced that Barry is worth the same or more than Xabi in cash terms. I trust Rafa, I really do, but on this one I disagree (should it turn into reality). Xabi was injured last year and became a father for the first time. This year, now he’s an Euros Champ and injury-free – I think he’d be a real star for us. Rafa would be better off selling others – Pennant, even Bennie – not a crown jewel. (Remember this is the year of Spain – Wimbledon and the Euros – so who knows it may carry over to the premiership….we hope!)

    I think the other ins and outs are predictable, though I may shed a tear if Finnan goes. He’s be a stalwart for the money he cost all those years ago!

  2. I wish Crouch all the best and I’m delighted that he’ll get more games and a chance to prove himself !

    Midlands, is it possible that Rafa is planning to use 5 across the back next season, as one of his formations, with Agger doing a lot of the passing work that Alonso did last season?

    Carragher Skrtel

    Degen Agger Dossena



    Gerrard Babel


  3. Finnan is one of those players you wish we’d found earlier, although if we had he’d not be one of only two players to have scored in the top five divisions in English football (thanks Wikipedia for that little bit of Motty-style trivia!)

    He’s been far more important than many give him credit for, and it’s really only his age that’s going to go against him now as far as his Anfield career is concerned.

    I hated the way Crouch was treated through the earlier part of his Anfield career, but I feel there’s possibly a touch more to his departure than just him wishing to get more first team football.

  4. @Edward – It’s possible that Rafa will use Agger, Skrtel and Carragher together but I think the reason he’s prepared to let Alonso go is a) the amount of cash – Rafa likes making a profit on deals b) he really likes Barry – although the only Profit Rafa can make on this is if we win the PL and c) the younger players coming through in central midfield – Lucas and Plessis. I’m just concerned that Alonso is a top draw player and not one we should sacrifice when his talent and football brain would, not could, help the team.

    As for Finnan, he’s a top draw professional. The amount of crosses he’s dug out to get us out of a hole is unbelievable. I’ll miss him but Rafa’s got to give Arbeloa more games and Degen will be a reasonable deputy……we hope! At least Rafa will make a profit on him if he doesn’t!

    Interesting how everything’s gone quiet on the ownership issue. I suspect a number of journos are thinking about holidays than the game at the moment. Love to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Time to start drafting Anfielders – footballs answer to the Eastenders but with an international dimension!

  5. Im very sad at the leaving of Peter, he was a model pro and he can rightly hold his head up (very) high. His goal tally is by the by, his goals were crucial for the club and his team play excellent. Rafa treated him badly in the last two league games, not even including Crouchie on the bench. For whatever the reason, it will not wash with me. Surely there were more times that Peter could have started than he did. And compared to some of the tripe we’ve had over the last ten years, he rates for me quite highly.
    I think its important that we keep good English players in the club, and get a good balance between home and foreign guys. Im sure that what’s going on at the moment would be disapproved by the likes of Platini and Blatter – whatever you think about them. The fact of the matter is, we do too much chopping and changing, and settle too easily for Spanish speakers. It gets my goat
    And as for Finnan, what a pro and how he has worked his socks off. If he goes, he deserves to go with a price based on his own merits, not as some part of a package to satisfy an wily old hand like O’Neill.
    Alonso didnt do too well in the euros, but should given at least another 1 or 2 seasons with us. .
    On the Barry thing, its dragging on and is starting to become a bad joke. Players should be coming to Anfield for low prices and leaving for mega high ones – not the other way around. This used to be the Liverpool way. Either Rafa is not a good trainer, or much worse, Liverpool is no longer the club of choice, as it once was. The ethics by which the club was run in the past were admirable, and players were allowed to fit in and link up to produce a solid outfit. I could name all our players, and they always gave their all. What with all the crap over ownership, press releases and Rafa’s constant shuffling, I think we have joined the ranks of teams that are ‘seasonal’ in their desirability. I might be wrong, but that’s just my gut feeling. In conclusion, we should base our team around home nations players, and only bring in the very best of foreign talent – that was our way, and boy did it work!
    Regards, and wish the boys luck in the new season.

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