Date: 16th January 2013 at 4:00pm
Written by:

THE internet was awash with news that an unknown (at least to 99.9% of us) Norwegian centre-half was due to arrive on Merseyside for a week-long trial with Liverpool on Monday.

It struck me as amusing as much as anything that, despite all the rumours of this and that player arriving in January, Liverpool were still able to sneak nobodies in under the radar. But despite my amusement, I was still intrigued.

After a little bit more information filtered through, I have to say, I was slightly confused.

Here was Vegard Forren, a 24 year old Norwegian, with over 100 appearances in his homeland and 5 caps for his country, and Liverpool were offering him a trial. Aren’t trials usually reserved for clubs to get a closer look at a young kid, who they may not be able to scout extensively, because of a lack of football at those young ages?

As a big fan of Seb Coates my first thoughts were with him. Namely, what was to become of him? With news recently that Rodgers was looking at offering Carragher a new contract, all implications were that Coates would be the odd man out.

These fears seemed to prove true, as the plan was to loan Coates out. Which made me wonder: what the bloody hell is the point in that?

I mean, here is a 22 year old Uruguayan centre-back, with twice as many caps for a much stronger nation and over 20 appearances for Liverpool over the past 18 months. Therefore, does it really make sense to loan him out and then ‘splash out’ £4 million on somebody simply to replace him as our 4th choice centre-back? Not in the slightest.

It now appears that Forren has decided that the idea of a trial at Liverpool is a bit beneath him anyway and has now opted to travel to Southampton. To use that popular British press turn of phrase – they have ‘gazumped’ us, as the prospect of a permanent deal and more regular first-team games have swayed him, which may well turn out better for the club long-term.

The reason for this are two-fold. 1) If a 24 year old international requires a trial then the club can’t be convinced of his quality which means that 2) either our scouting network didn’t do their job properly, or just aren’t very good. So Southampton may well have saved us a bit of wasted money and even more embarrassment in the transfer market.

Either way, I’d much rather keep the money, thank you very much. That £4 million could be much better off being put toward a player with either first-team prospects, or the prospect of being a first-teamer in a year or two, not somebody who will simply pad out a squad that already has 4 top-quality centre-backs (not to mention Kelly and Wisdom, who are also natural CB’s). I mean, of all the positions at Liverpool Football Club, the only one that doesn’t need strengthening (at least for me) is central defence.

In the meantime, despite Carragher’s undoubted service and legend status at the club, I would suggest bumping Coates up to 3rd choice centre-back. Because the prospect of losing such an elegant, talented – not to mention tall – defender is one which I find hard to stomach, particularly when Jamie is coming toward the last 12-18 months of his playing career. And if this means giving the Uruguayan more game time, then so be it.

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