Benitez Burns His Bridges
Liverpool seem to have decided on a new transfer policy this summer which makes the same impact as Real Madrid’s lovelorn chase for Ronaldo. Liverpool seem to be using their local paper, The Echo, to release transfer target information into the public domain to unsettle players at other clubs. Gareth Barry became the first and now it seems that Liverpool are targeting Tottenham’s Robbie Keane in the same way. Whilst I know this kind of thing has gone on for years, Manchester United have been accused 19 times in the last 10 years of tapping up players, Liverpool seem determined to lose any face they have in British football by simply announcing which players they covet and seek to recruit them in this way.
What makes this situation worse is that Liverpool seem to be a little hard up and this new policy seems designed to get their targets to request to leave rather than match clubs valuations of players they desire. Stories began to be circulated yesterday that Keane had requested a transfer, which Tottenham and the players agent quickly denied.
Gareth Barry meanwhile has been fined and told to stay away from Villa Park after criticising Martin O’Neill and Aston Villa in an unauthorised interview.Barry is desperate to join Liverpool but I’d understood it more two years ago, Villa are in the best shape they’ve been for ages. If anything, Villa have more chance of winning the Premiership than Liverpool do at this current time, financially they’re far more robust and have a chairman that cannot put a foot wrong for me coupled with an exciting squad that has bags of potential.
The Barry saga hasn’t done the player’s reputation any favours though and I think it’s a shame that a lad who has spent his entire career at a club and rose to club captain at an early age should treat the fans who adore him like this. I think it’s a real shame, Villa have certainly made him feel special and given him everything he wanted but it’s still not enough.
Barry was quoted as saying“There’s no going back, it’s time for me to move on, I’m desperate to play Champions League football and that’s why I have to leave Villa. Villa kept saying they wanted me to stay but I have not heard from the manager for weeks. It’s seven weeks now since the season finished but while the gaffer’s found time to be a pundit at Euro 2008, he hasn’t found the time to speak to me. Have Villa offered me anything to try to persuade me my future is at Villa Park, not Anfield? Not a thing.”
Do we believe that? Can you see Randy Lerner and Martin O’Neill being like that and ignoring this stituation. No-one believes that at all. Why can’t Barry be honest with the Villa fans who used to idolise him? Why not simply say “I want to play with my best mate Stevie G, earn more money and go out with a clothes horse”? because everyone knows Gerrard will have played a major role in negotiations to get Barry to jump ship, it’s a fact that they are best mates and have been for nearly 10 years. Honestly, do we think they’ve not talked about it at all? O’ Neill, to his credit, has said Barry can leave as long as Liverpool pay the price tage they’ve set and not a penny more.
Good luck to Villa though, I hope they hold out for every last penny of the £18 million they’ve set as his price, Liverpool need to realise it’s not 1988, they’re not the best club in England and haven’t been for 18 seasons, teams can’t be bullied by them anymore and it bothers me far more than the Madrid/Ronaldo/United love triangle that they seem determined to destroy any good will opposing fans have for them. As for Keane, I’ll take Torres or £25 million, other than Rafa, you’re wasting your breath.