Friday 26th May 2006
REDS STRIKER GONE
Earlier this week we told you Fernando Morientes would be leaving Anfield within days if the reds were offered £3 million for Nando and that is exactly what has happened
The reds have sold the Spanish striker for £3 million to Valencia, Benitez' old club, after a miserable 16 months for the player who cost the reds £6.3 million.
In our opinion the fee is about as well as we could have hoped for considering the player's performances in the Premiership, and his exclusion from the World Cup squad.
As reported on our website Espanyol had made an offer in the region of £2.3 million, but this was rejected. Real Betis and Fenerbahce were also interested in the Spaniard.
The move brings to an end a somewhat tortured spell in the Premiership for a player who arrived on Merseyside apparently boasting genuine pedigree after excelling at Real, with whom he won three European Cups, and during a season on loan at Monaco. He reached the Champions League final with the principality's side as well only to lose to Porto but, having moved to England for £6.3m, he was cup-tied for Liverpool's victory in the showpiece in Istanbul a year ago. There were then occasional flashes of class but he failed miserably to make a sustained impression on the Premiership and mustered only 12 goals in his 61 appearances for Benítez at Liverpool.
Morientes, who had two years to run on his contract on Merseyside, will welcome the opportunity to return to La Liga having conceded that he had "never felt right" at Liverpool. "I cannot stay if I don't play," he said last week on learning that Benítez hoped to recruit new faces up front.
It is Benitez' first real transfer failure since joining Liverpool, but the gaffer has been big enough to admit it hadn't worked out. Liverpool are now strongly sounding out Dirk Kuyt as a possible replacement but would baulk at any price over £12 million.
Watch this space, and good luck Fernando.
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