The Rumour Mill Again Falls Silent
As the clock struck 11 p.m. on Wednesday evening it marked the end of this summer's transfer window. A window which I suppose was put into place to help ease the lack of football action during the summer months for the supporters. For the football club's themselves it can be a time of either extreme frustration or a time when they can remove their dead wood and replace it with players they feel will benefit their team's progress.
The one thing it was not designed to do was to fuel the massive rumour mill that came into existence shortly after the arrival of Facebook and Twitter. It did though and in many ways more so, this season due to the amount of money, many of the clubs were reportedly going to spend. Manchester City had unknowingly set a massive benchmark, when they were taken over by the Al-Nahyan family. Money suddenly became something they could play with and the value of players became extortionate.
Unfortunately this led not only to many great players moving to the club to fuel their greed rather than to play a game of football, but opened up the flood gates to ensure that supporters everywhere grasped the name of an expensive player they believed to be fantastic after watching videos on you-tube. These names were quickly put onto the social media websites and suddenly every club appeared to have massive squads, some containing the same names.
Liverpool Football Club was no exception, after three years where under the previous regime, the lack of spending meant that the club was unable to move forward, the transfer window had become one that needed to watched with extreme caution. We had in the January window, under our new owners, 'broken the bank' when the club's new owners Fenway Sports Group paid £35 million for Andy Carroll from Newcastle and Luis Suarez. Luis name had been floating around the rumour mills for a couple of weeks before he signed, but the signing of Andy Carroll appeared completely out of the blue on Transfer Deadline Day in January after Fernando Torres put in a last minute transfer request. It had been known for weeks that Chelsea were after him, and Roman being another man who is not afraid of spending money, paid £50million, which of course, immediately offset the cost of Andy and Luis. It also appears Liverpool got the best part of the sale because, Torres is going through the worst form of his career.
Fast forward to the end of the 2010-2011 football season and with Kenny now in charge, we all knew it was going to be a window that would throw up some surprises as well as signal the end of many Liverpool players whose careers appeared to have stagnated. The rumour mill kicked in the moment the last ball of the season was kicked and players such As Eden Hazard and Sneider were going to be part of the Liverpool team - of course neither of them is and in fact still at their clubs in Europe.
As sometimes these things do though, it did have some success touting the names of Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Doni. These four players in the early part of the window became part of the Liverpool Squad. Around the club it went very quiet and it appeared that Kenny's summer spending was over, although unbeknown to the rumour mill, the press and those of us who just watched and waited things were going on behind the scenes.
In fact, although the rumour mill was having fun with the players that were expected to leave, nobody was prepared for the movement of players that happened in the last seven days of the window.
We had witnessed the remarkable progress of Uruguay during the Copa America, due to Luis Suarez and unbeknown to us the club were watching another young player called Sebastian Coates. Suddenly though his name began to be mentioned more and more until last weekend when he was seen in the Director's box at Anfield. Kenny had managed to secure the signing of an up and coming footballer, although for some reason when a player signs for Liverpool, things never appear to go smoothly and it took several more days for a work permit to be issued to enable this to happen.
The final week of the window saw players such as Pacheco and Insua leaving the club. It also signalled that the remainder of the dead wood would be moved on before the window closed. Joe Cole and Ngog were the last two to be moved on to new clubs, Ngog going to Bolton and Joe Cole to Lille. The move of Joe Cole has set off another rumour; one which I suspect will be revisited from the middle of November. That rumour of course was that Damien Comolli has struck a deal with Lille for Liverpool to have first refusal on Eden Hazard, once Liverpool are in a Champions League position which has already been cast aside by the Director of Football at Lille.
Deadline day as always though throws up a couple of surprises and after last January late purchase of Andy Carroll, the clubs supporters and the rumour mill sprung into action. Everyone was aware that David Ngog was moving on and the names of several strikers were suddenly being banded about as joining the Liverpool team. One of them was Craig Bellamy, who had played for the club under previous manager Rafa Benitez. It was a name though a lot of people clung to during the day and they followed his 'supposed' journey to London and Cardiff before finally it was announced that he was on his way to Merseyside. His medical took a lot longer than they normally do and it was not until around 10.00 p.m. that his signing was announced.
An announcement was also made to confirm that Liverpool had cancelled Philip Degen's contract - the last of the dead wood had been moved on. What we did not know was that a shockwave was again about to hit the lives of Liverpool supporters in the same way as it did in January.
The rumour mill had been alive all summer with suggestions that Raul Meireles would be on the move, but again after his massive performances at the end of the last season, they were cast aside. With half an hour to go and with the last minute panic that clubs experience to ensure that the players are signed, Liverpool issued a statement saying that Raul Meireles had put in a written transfer request. He was not happy with being so far down the pecking order and wanted to move on. What we did not know was that it had all been done behind the scenes and he had in fact signed for Chelsea at 9.00 p.m. Liverpool had held the upper hand all the way through the transaction and neither they nor Chelsea announced it until one minute to eleven.
That though marked the end of this year's transfer window and we now have an element of peace until the rumour mill kicks in again around the middle of November.