As we all know, in January Liverpool paid £35 million for Newcastle striker Andy Carroll. As it happens the England striker scored his first Liverpool goals at Anfield on Monday night and while Newcastle fans have seen one star player slip through their fingers, it appears another Magpie is heading to Merseyside in the summer. Jose Enrique has long been linked with an exit from St James’ Park, but just last weekend Liverpool ‘legend’ Phil Thompson told Norwegian TV that “the deal has been done” for £15 million. We don’t know whether Thompson is jumping the gun or not, but if business was to be done for a fee in that region, how would the transfer be viewed by both Newcastle and Liverpool fans?
Seeing as Jose Enrique is still a Newcastle player, let’s start by looking at this from the Magpies’ point of view. The Spaniard has been a star performer for Newcastle this season and has rightfully earned praise as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League. He has been reasonably sound defensively and going forward has caused problems for almost every team he’s come up against, with his partnership with Jonas Gutierrez a thing of beauty at times. However, there has been a distinct drop in form from Enrique recently. He hasn’t quite matched his early season performances, and while this could be because his head has already been turned by potential suitors, I’d be more inclined to think it is due to his injury problems in recent weeks.
With this potential exit coming just a couple of months after the deadline day transfer of Carroll, Newcastle fans will rightfully be fearing the worst. Have Newcastle become a selling club? Is Mike Ashley just looking to make a tidy profit for himself? However, put in context, if this deal was to go through in the summer, Newcastle will have sold two players, albeit two of their better players, to Liverpool for £50 million. That’s a huge sum comprised of a transfer record for an English footballer and £15 million for a player with only 12 months left on his contract.
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As far as Liverpool are concerned, it must be encouraging for their fans that the Reds are being linked with further big money transfers in the summer on the back of the players that came in during January. The £50 million sale of Fernando Torres is a bit of business that is getting better and better the longer the Spaniard’s goal drought continues. In regards to his replacements, Carroll gave the Anfield faithful a taste of what he can do on Monday night and Luis Suarez has the movement and finishing of a top class striker. Liverpool might have paid a premium on both, Carroll especially, but if you’ve got the money why not spend it? A thought Newcastle fans themselves will be championing in the summer.
Looking at Jose Enrique in particular, there is little argument that Liverpool need a left back. Fabio Aurelio, a player the Reds had disposed of less than a year ago, was employed there against Manchester City and right back Glen Johnson has been filling in over the last few months. So Liverpool should be pursuing a left sided defender, but whether that man is Enrique, especially at £15 million, is another question entirely. For that sum of money Benfica’s Fabio Coentrao could be purchased, Maynor Figueroa would be available for a fraction of that price if Wigan are relegated, and the free transfer of Taye Taiwo might be worth pursuing.
So come the summer, will Jose Enrique still be a Newcastle player or will be wearing the famous Liverpool shirt instead? We’ll just have to wait until the end of the season, or until Phil Thompson gets in touch, to find out. But from Newcastle’s point of view they don’t want to become a selling club and even though the expiration of Enrique’s contract is on the horizon, with the Carroll money in the bank, there is no need to sell, even if it does represent good business. On the other side of the coin Liverpool won’t want to become a club that is renowned in paying over the odds for players, just look at where that’s got Man City. I can’t see anything other than an Enrique departure being on the cards, but there wouldn’t be a clear winner or loser as such if this deal were to go through, although that was also the case with the Carroll transfer and I know which set of fans are happier now!
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