With our financial situation being in the state it is, I’d say it’s pretty certain we won’t be given any money during the January window. So if we need to strengthen, which in all honesty we do, we’re going to have to sell to raise the money.
Although we may have to lose six or seven players in order to fund one major transfer it may be that one player we need. There are plenty of players at the club who could easily be moved on and I don’t suspect too many Liverpool fans would lose sleep over their transfers.
There’s also a pool of youngsters waiting in the wings with a lot of talent, hunger and desire. With that talent at Benitez’ disposal losing a few from the first team shouldn’t be as much of a problem.
In goal we’ve got Reina as number one choice and Cavalieri to come in. Neither should be sold in January although we do have a handful of young keepers in the reserves should a good offer for Cavalieri come in.
Along the back four there’s a few who could be moved on quite easily. With youngsters like Darby and Kelly impressing on a regular basis in the reserves, as well as the few first team outings they’ve had, Degen could easily be shipped out. And if I’m being honest, he’s hardly been solid when he has played. I’m sure some club on the continent would be prepared to give us two maybe three million for his services.
It’s slightly more difficult for the heart of the defence because experience is invaluable for that position. Though with the players we have coming through the ranks in Kelly, Ayala, Mavinga and San Jose, we could possibly afford to lose one of the first team centre halves. It then begs the question of which one. Firstly we can rule out Carragher going anywhere, so one of the other three. Skrtel has had a nightmare start to the season, Agger seems to get injured far too often and Kyrgiakos looks lost at times. Out of the three I think Agger would be the most likely to be sold, and could probably fetch the highest fee. A possible transfer that I wouldn’t like to happen.
Left back is one position which almost every Liverpool fan would like to see a transfer go through on. Andrea Dossena must be sold at some point during 2010 and the quicker the better as far as I’m concerned. In Aurelio and Insua we have two very tidy left backs along with the emergence of the highly rated Chris Buchtmann should we get short. I doubt we’d get anywhere near the eight million we spent on Dossena but anything back would be good enough for me. Just to see him gone would be enough.
In midfield we have a lot of players without the top quality we need, especially out on the flanks. On the right we have Kuyt, Benayoun, El Zhar and Gerrard if injuries hit the other three as well as Johnson who I’m sure could play higher up the pitch. Out of those options I see no reason as to why El Zhar can’t be sold, especially since Amoo looks a better prospect. Unfortunately for El Zhar, he’s never going to be a regular at Anfield and he is one of the few youngsters who could bring in a decent transfer fee.
As for the middle of the park there’s too many players for just two positions. Mascherano, Lucas, Aquilani, Spearing, Plessis and also the possible move of dropping Gerrard back. Six players for two positions, though only four are potential sales as Gerrard will be going nowhere and Aquilani won’t be sold as we’ve only just bought him.
First to go has to be Plessis because, like El Zhar, he will never be a regular here so we might as well as lose him. As he’s just signed a new contract we can demand a higher price for him. Out of the other three, the most likely seems to be Mascherano to Barcelona. Whether that goes through or not in January is yet to be seen. But it would bring in a huge amount of money, which we clearly need even if it’s only to clear some of the debt our owners have given the club.
Left wing is our weakest area and any money we raise and allowed to spend, should go on a left winger. I’d be rather happy to see the back of Riera and Babel, who between them could bring in around ten million or more. Although it’s not ideal to lose two left wingers we still have Benayoun out there along with Aurelio as back up and hopefully a new signing.
Up top there’s one name who most of would be happy to see gone. He’s blonde, has over sixty international caps to his name and arrived in the summer of 2007. No, not Fernando Torres but his fellow forward Andriy Voronin. With Torres as the number one forward, Ngog showing signs of becoming a top class forward himself and the exciting potential of Eccleston and Pacheco as well as Nemeth to return from loan and Kuyt who can play up front, there’s no reason for Voronin to be here. Another chance for us to trim the squad, get another off the wage bill and bring in some more cash for a new player or to repay some of the debt depending on what the club sees as a more important task.
So should we trim the squad down a bit during January? In all honesty I say yes. Degen, Dossena, El Zhar, Plessis, Riera, Babel, Voronin can all be moved on and I doubt we’d miss their input along with a couple of the youngsters who’ll never make the grade here such as Martin, Threlfall, Brouwer and Bruna to name a few. Then there’s always the odd big money sale, unfortunately it looks as if it’s going to be Mascherano to Barcelona.
It is a disgrace for a club of our size to have to sell before we can buy but that’s the situation we’re in. So if we want that top quality player, we’re going to have to sell a number of players. This time though rather than just replace them like for like, we should be putting trust into our talented youth and buying the one player we need most.
We would still have a squad brimming with full internationals and top quality players, coupled with exciting, young prospects. The only difference would be we’d be a few players lighter, mostly players who are only squad players at best because they are not exciting prospects or because they are not the standard of quality we need.