£3.5m: Not Enough For Alvaro Arbeloa

£3.5 million for Arvalro Arbeloa? That’s all? Seriously?

I mean, I know that’s probably what his services are worth but that’s not the issue. When Real Madrid have their checkbook out and are licking the tip of their bottomless ballpoint pen there is no call to stop at £3.5 million. Real have made the market insane and now they want to go back to normal prices? I’m sorry. No. Why be reasonable?

3 Reasons Liverpool Should Have Held Out for More:

1.) Andrea Dossena:

Liverpool paid £7m for Dossena. This was their record defensive transfer fee prior to buying Glen Johnson. By midyear Dossena’s defensive prowess looked about as reliable as a hand-woven condom. Fabio Aurelio and Emmanuel Insua—far cheaper options—quickly shot above him in the pecking order. Sure, we’ll always remember Dossena’s two sweet goals against massive clubs (Real and Manchester United) but these didn’t change anything, both coming in the closing minutes of matches Liverpool were already winning. And since he did little else, we could say those goals cost £3.5m each.

Point is: Dossena had been unproven in the Premier League and cost £7m. So Arbeloa, who’s been a better player and a regular Premier League starter and has gotten better each year, should fetch at least as much. Arbeloa made 41 appearances in Liverpool’s best season in nearly two decades. He was an integral part of the system. That must be worth an extra 3 or 4 million.

2.) Philipp Degen:

With Arbeloa gone, Degen is Liverpool’s remaining senior out-and-out right-back. I swear I forgot he was still a Liverpool player until I saw him loping up and down the field in the recent friendly against Singapore. If memory serves: Degen broke two ribs, punctured a lung and broke his metatarsal while signing his contract with Liverpool. He missed just about all of last year.

It’s hard to imagine someone enjoying less pitch time in a season than Antonio Nunez, but Degen pulled it off. Rafa had hailed Degan as “an offensive player with great energy” when the injury-prone full-back came to Anfield. “His strength is going forward,” said Rafa. In his few performeances, Degen’s shown as much convincing attacking intent as Switzerland during the second World War. I’d trust any other Liverpool player over Degen as back-up right-back including Andriy Voronin. (Yes, that’s right: I dropped the V-Bomb—I’ve never asked The Gaffer if it’s ok to drop obscenities on EPL Talk… from now on I’ll refer to him as Andriy V*****n just to be safe.)

Granted, Degen’s injuries have prevented him from showing his stuff. But that’s the point. There’s no question Arbeloa could provide back-up for Johnson whenever needed. Degen remains unproven. This should have been used to raise the price. It’s like Liverpool are on a long car trip and Real just bought their spare tire. Onlyonly they paid what the tire is worth. No, in that situation Real should be paying for the inconvenience of Liverpool having to drive without a spare. Again: around £7m sounds fair to me.

3.) Cristiano Ronaldo:

Real paid £80m for Ronaldo. This is what he cost. This is not what he is worth. Before United supporters jump on this statement like a pack of rabid libel lawyers, let me explain…

Obviously, Ronaldo is going to be the most expensive player on the market (at least until Lionel Messi wants a change of scenery). I’m not arguing that he should fetch big money. But his price tag was beyond absurd. The previous record involving the English market was £34m for Robinho. The Ronaldo move more than doubled this. The only reason for such a jump was Real needed to shell out massive cash to pry him away from United. This wasn’t the worth of his abilities. This was the cost of his departure.

The value of prying Arbeloa away from Liverpool should have been higher. He’s a proven Premier League right-back who can also cover as a centre-back or left-back. For a side with title ambitions, that kind of versatility in a squad player would have made him indispensable. Yet Liverpool dispensed with him for a mere £3.5.

I don’t approve of the insane cash Real have put toward Ronaldo, Kaka and Benzema, but I accept the inevibility of this trend. Real will spend and spend until they feel they can wrest the title from Barcelona. Business pragmatism is nowhere in sight. So why couldn’t Liverpool get more out of this deal?

There are two answers: 1.) Glen Johnson was already a Red. 2.) Arbeloa clearly wanted to go back to Spain.

If Liverpool had sold Arbeloa before the Johnson deal, they would have been in a position to let Real pry him away offering more cash. Liverpool could have held out. But with Johnson in place, convincing Real that Arbeloa was an essential cog in the machine became impossible. Like when your neighbor asks what you are doing with your old television now that you’ve bought a giant plasma flatscreen. What can you say?

And with Arbeloa making his desire to go back to Spain so obvious, it got a lot harder to haggle. It’s like walking into a new house, screaming “Oh my God! I love it!” and then trying to convince the real estate agent you need to sleep on the decision. It’s never going to work.

And yes: I like Arbeloa. I like him at Anfield. I get selfish in these moments. I know he’ll be happier in Spain than on the Liverpool bench. But I also had a vision of Liverpool using versatile players (like Arbeloa, Kuyt and Gerrard) to simulate the depth they need. Player that can play in multiple positions. Arbeloa is like three for the price of one. He wouldn’t start as often, but he’d be there when they needed him. Now they’ve lost a back-up right-back, centre-back and left-back in one move. He may not be worth more than £3.5m to Real, but he’s definitely worth £7-10m to Liverpool.

The only consolation is there’s no mention of a package deal where Xabi Al0nso goes to Real as well. I’m hoping this is a sign that Alonso is staying at Anfield.

Hell, if Real really wanted to sweeten the Arbeloa deal, they could offer to take Andriy V*****n away as well. Since I value V*****n at about -£4, taking him off Liverpool’s hands would cancel out my entire argument.

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