Liverpool’s signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri has now been completed, with the £3m signing from Palmeiras officially unveiled today. The third player unveiled this week, after full-backs Andrea Dossena and Philipp Degen, 25-year-old Cavalieri has signed for four years.
Able to play without a work permit due to his Italian passport, the Brazilian knows he won’t be first choice ahead of Pepe Reina. He is prepared to work hard and take any opportunity that comes his way, as he told Liverpool’s official website: “I know it won’t be easy to get into the team. I watched some Liverpool games in both the Premier League and Champions League last year and I know Pepe is a very good goalkeeper. But everyone has to fight for their place and I’m sure we will have a healthy rivalry. I know I will have to be patient and work very hard to achieve my aims – but it is always like that when you come from another country.”
He was pictured wearing the number 13, with Liverpool’s number 1 jersey likely to remain vacant as long as Pepe is first choice. The Spaniard prefers number 25, and has turned down the chance to move to number 1 previously. Cavalieri says he may get the chance to wear that number at Anfield eventually: “My confidence has got me where I am today and maybe people are aware of what I did at Palmeiras in Brazil. I am sure that one day I can get the number one position but that will only come with hard work. I feel very privileged and happy to have signed for Liverpool because everyone knows they are one of the top clubs in the world, the name ‘Liverpool’ is known all around the world. It’s an honour to wear this shirt.”
He also revealed that the move had happened at a rapid pace: “It was a dream for me to come to Europe, though I was taken aback by how quickly everything happened. It’s all been sorted out in one week, but I have been given a very good welcome from my teammates and the manager, so I’m very happy to be here. I just hope I can respond to all this.”
And he’s had a lengthy chat with the boss: “Rafa and I spoke for a long time on the day I arrived. He explained to me how the football is here and the differences from Brazil. He also talked to me about the responsibilities of representing a club like Liverpool.”
Two of those who have welcomed him are fellow Brazilians Fabio Aurelio and Lucas, and their presence is a boost to the keeper: “I had an opportunity to talk to Lucas and Fabio when I arrived and they have welcomed me with open arms. They said that if there is anything I need they will help me. I’m very pleased that I’ll be playing alongside some Brazilians. I think the quality of the Brazilian players means they can come to Europe. Every day you hear about new players coming through. Also, the European market is very strong and it’s very difficult for the Brazilian market to compete.”
His arrival ends any slight doubts that Scott Carson might be staying, and confirms that Galatasaray target Charles Itandje is on his way too. Today’s Echo reports Liverpool have two offers on the table for Carson, both from Premiership clubs, although neither has been accepted.
Also on the table, but accepted, is an offer from Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle for Reds midfielder Danny Guthrie. The 21-year-old needs to now agree personal terms.
At a press conference yesterday Rafa played down his earlier comments about David Villa being on his list of targets, but when asked about Robbie Keane admitted he was on the list. Spurs’ asking price of £20m will not be met by Rafa, but the player himself is believed to be keen on a move to the club he once turned down, but supported as a boy. Spurs fans are desperate that their club hold onto their captain, who signed a new deal recently. Rafa said: “I mentioned David Villa as one of the names we are looking at, but we know his price and, given the players we have, we need to look for another kind of player. Keane is clearly a player that has game intelligence and we are looking for players who can fit into our systems and improve the team. We are looking for players with the right quality and I think we’ll find some in the next few days… Not necessarily the names that everybody knows.”
Rafa said that there wasn’t “much” money available for transfers, but that there were a few targets being chased: “Ideally, we would want two or three players more. We don’t have much money, so we need to deal with selling and buying players. I knew more or less the situation before the summer and, when you know what to expect, you need to show imagination and be creative to find solutions. Degen is proof that we were working really well, and Dossena is here. We’ve been working without spending big money and now we can see if we can progress with the other names.”
Some of that money will come further sales, with Peter Crouch expected to be unveiled as Portsmouth’s new £11m signing today at a 1pm press conference. Xabi Alonso’s move to Juventus continues to be subject to threats from Juve that they will pull out if the price isn’t dropped.
Despite his comments about their not being a lot of money to spend, Rafa said that it’s not always about spending power: “Sometimes it is not about how much money you spend but getting the players you need. We needed full-backs with different qualities and these two players could be good for us. Afterwards maybe you can sign big names and maybe people will be happy, but the priority is to sign the players that you want and need – in this case two full-backs who can give something more to the team.”
He was talking about Degen and Dossena, and he feels they will both adjust in time for the new season: “I think all foreign players need time to adjust and it depends on the mentality. Both players are very good professionals and that was one of the things we were looking for – a strong mentality and they can compete as well, so I think they will be okay.”
Dossena has chosen to wear number two for next season, with Degen picking the number 27 shirt. Numbers 6 and 7 remain vacant.
Dossena explained his conversations so far with Rafa Benítez: “The talks I have had with Benitez have mostly been about tactics. He has explained that he wants a four-man defence but that the most important thing is that the balance on the pitch is never broken. There must be balance between the left and right-backs.”
And he has already spotted a difference between football here and in Italy: “Even from training I realise English football is different. It’s all about possession and the ball seems to move quicker. There is also a great determination among the players in training, but these are all qualities that are characteristic of me too. In this way, I feel half English, half Italian.”
Another youngster has been added to Liverpool’s ranks, 17-year-old Dutch forward Vincent Lucas Weijl has signed a three-year deal after Liverpool brought him from AZ Alkmaar.