With the departure of Rafa Benitez as Liverpool manager, there will be many associated consequences both on and off the field relating to the futures of both playing and non-playing staff. Some can be placated but others are far more concerning:
Steven Gerrard – Uncertain about his future even before Benitez’s sacking. Will he wait to see who the club appoints as the new manager or will he finally give up the ghost of finally winning the Premier League with his hometown club? The temptation of linking up with Jose Mourinho and Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid maybe too hard to resist considering the state of things at Anfield on and off the pitch
Fernando Torres – Guillem Balague has said that the Spanish striker’s future is not linked to Benitez’s and I am inclined to believe that Rafa’s departure will not affect his decision on whether to stay or leave. He will want to see progress in the transfer market if he was to stay at the club and the new manager will need to convince him to continue on Merseyside. His options of returning to Spain look limited with Barcelona purchasing David Villa and so the most likely destinations would be either Italy or Chelsea if he was to leave Anfield.
Javier Mascherano – The most likely to leave Liverpool this summer for a whole host of reasons, the Argentinean has stalled on signing on a new contract until after the World Cup and has stated his allegiance to Rafa Benitez in the recent past. His wife and family are also keen to leave England for a Spanish speaking country and Barcelona could well make another bid for him.
Others – The futures of players such as Albert Riera, Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel are now up in the air. The new manager may deem all surplus to requirements or he could see them as integral to the rebuilding process that will need to take place at Anfield. In any case it will be a clean slate for all players at the club.
Probably more significant than the players in some ways, this summer could see the largest exodus of non-playing staff in Liverpool’s recent history. Nearly all are Benitez appointees and may consider leaving, with Sammy Lee perhaps the only likely member of the coaching staff to stay. The large Spanish contingent are probably all considering their futures with first team coach Mauricio Pellegrino, goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero, fitness coach Paco Miguel, reserve team coach Antonio Gomez Perez and chief scout Eduardo Macia all likely to leave Anfield or move with Rafa Benitez wherever he goes.
The most concerning problem though, is the future of the Academy. The restructuring at Kirkby that took place last summer designed to improve the quality of youngsters coming through the Liverpool youth system maybe stopped in its tracks by the new manager as Rodolfo Borrell and Pep Segura may also consider their futures. They were tasked by Benitez to improve the local talent coming through the ranks and to replicate their success they had at Barcelona’s academy La Masia as much as possible. The entire project was designed to take years to accomplish, establishing a legacy where the first team could rely on a group of youngsters who were homegrown and had a passion for Liverpool football club. If Segura, Borrell as well as Frank McParland who planned the restructuring and reserve coach John McMahon also leave, what would happen to these ambitions? With Liverpool in such a bad financial state, we will need to rely on a youth academy capable of developing top class players. If this is abandoned, what consequences will there be for the club?
As you can see, if an exodus does take place this summer, both the club and the new manager will have to reconstruct the club from the bottom up. It’s going to be one hell of a task for anyone to take on.
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