Summer transfer windows are never the most fun time, unless your club is absolutely loaded – which ours isn’t – and they are even less fun when half your squad is being linked with half the clubs across the continent.
Which it seems is now the case with Liverpool, with Pepe Reina also being linked with a move to one of Spains’ top two and Dan Agger apparently all but transferred across to Monaco.
Then there are the rumours that Rafa is looking to bring both Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva with him to Napoli and Seba Coates seemingly all but ushered out the door already, thing aren’t looking too promising for the club. There’s less chance of Lucas leaving the club, but it’s still worrying, knowing how highly Rafa rates the Brazilian holding-man.
It’s likely that at least one or two of those mentioned won’t be at Liverpool come August but the question is: who would we miss the most?
The answer seems fairly simply on the face of it – Luis Suarez. I wouldn’t blame anybody for jumping to that conclusion either but there are a few things to take into account first.
With Suarez, he is our top-scorer, best player and generally just our ‘talisman’. But given the lack of funds compared to the likes of Chelsea, City and United, Luis is likely to bring in the biggest pay day and provided Madrid match our valuation (particularly now that the player has made it fairly clear that he’s at least considering leaving) it would be hard not to see some sense in it.
On the other hand, with Skrtel likely to be leaving in the summer, Agger is the last remaining stalwart of our old set of centre-backs and while losing one or two is one thing, it’d be a grave error to completely overhaul the defence in one transfer-window.
Not only this but Agger is a top defender. He may not have had a remarkable season but then none of our centre-backs were consistently impressive but it would be a mistake to let Agger leave when he’s just about to enter his prime.
Then there’s Reina who is now one the clubs’ longest-serving player and a captain without an armband. Until last season Reina had been one of the few constant, and consistent aspects of every Liverpool side since he replaced Jerzy Dudek in 2005.
Having cost us less than £7 million, he has paid us back many times over since but given his age and the Reds ailing fortunes mean that he would be unlikely to bring in much more than we paid for him, which is frankly farcical, considering his fairly recent status as the best in Europe.
Having amassed just 5 short of 400 appearances for the club and kept a clean-sheet in 44.6% of those, Reina is a ‘keeper that doesn’t come along often. You only have to look at how long Manchester United and Arsenal have been chasing that golden goose and anybody that tries to tell you that David De Gea is one of the top goalies in the Premier League has some slight eye-sight issues.
Which is why I believe that losing Reina would stand as the biggest blow to the Reds. Losing Luis would hurt and he’d be hard to replace, but in Sturridge and Coutinho, it appears that we have the players to replace his goals and creativity. Not only that but the vast sums we should recoup for Suarez would allow us to add to our attack, whilst also removing the stigma of having such a despised player and the prospect of losing him for another 5-10 games for some new misdemeanour.
As things stand, the news of Lucas moving with Rafa to Napoli is just conjecture at the moment, as it feels like nothing more than a case of putting 2 and 2 together – Lucas was bought and heavily backed by Rafa, therefore Rafa will want him at his new club. Should these rumours gain more weight then I may have to alter my thoughts (I’m sorry, I rate Lucas very highly).
But as things stand, you don’t replace a player of Reina’s quality, leadership and substance overnight, as United found out with Schmeichel and Van Der Sar, particularly when the prospects for replacing him start with Simon Mignolet.
Obviously, we won’t all agree and there is no doubt that we’ll struggle equally to replace Suarez but the difference is that we won’t get an obscene amount of money for Pepe and Suarez hasn’t made it clear – as Pepe did on Tuesday – that he intends to honour his contract.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we managed to hold on to all of them though? And isn’t it equally depressing that we’re having to tolerate the thought of having to ‘hang onto’ our best players…