Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is Rafa really screwed..again?

The following article is something that I read last week at http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/david-maddock/Liverpool-should-beware-of-calling-Rafael-Benitez-s-bluff-over-transfer-policy-article109173.html.

Now, of course most fans around the world wouldn't want Rafa to ditch us. Although he is deemed as a hardheaded person who will like to stay around, take up the challenge and prove certain quarters wrong, but you tend to get scared with the outcome of all that has happened after he extended his contract. 

Some fans who have done their own calculations feel that Rafa should have something at least 50M left to spend, funds that was promised him which encouraged him to sign his extension and funds generated from sales of players. We heard about how positive his statements were at the beginning of the summer break, his admission that he did spend more than he should for Johnson -- meaning he did have the funds in the beginning -- and especially how cheerful he was. 

Well, looks like there is a spanner in the works now. It seems like Rafa has only 1.5M left to spend. 1.5M? It is not even enough to pay the season's wages of a world class player. And we don't need one, but a few players of international standard to boost our squad. 

But alas, many fans are dejected to the idea that Merrs. G&H are sucking our club dry to service their debts. Hence we have, again, this effort: http://www.petitiononline.com/l18c5fa7/petition.html and there is rumours of demonstration tomorrow at the Stoke game and suggestions of boycott among local fans.

No wonder Rafa looks down and frustrated in coming up with a statement like this one: “At least now when you have a question the answer is given quickly. Sometimes we are not happy with the answer but it’s part of the process and we have to keep on working together.” 

We do hope Rafa with stick around but for how long we ask because the media will continue to go after his head after each game. After all, I can guess Rafa, if he had a choice, would not have to play Babel who is a right-footed player at the left-wing. We trust his ability to generate profits from sales of players and from the CL, and continue to challenge against all odds with a thin squad made up mostly above-average players. And if he were to leave, we might just turn out to be a mid-table team devoid of his abilities because there will never be a better manager like him given the circumstances.

And I am not sure a better manager than Rafa would even want to come and manage LFC with those two american hawks lurking and hovering over Anfield.

Liverpool should beware of calling Rafael Benitez's bluff over transfer policy
By David Maddock

If there is a common theme throughout the managerial career of Rafael Benitez, then it is the fact that he is a man of principle.

At Real Madrid, a club he loves and that is in his blood, he was doing the youth team job of his dreams, but walked out rather than select the president of the club's son who he considered not good enough.

At Extramadura, despite winning a miraculous promotion to La Liga, he again quit after being crossed by the president of the club.

At Valencia, after winning two league titles against all odds, he walked out after promises were broken over transfer policy.

Why mention all this? Well, when the Liverpool manager was negotiating his current contract in April, a deal that will apparently keep him at Anfield for five more years, one of the main points of negotiation was over future transfer funds.

Benitez knows he has a squad that is close to being champions, and recognises that he requires perhaps just two more top class players to take the final step. He also recognises those players will cost massive money to improve on what he already has.

Hence his negotiations in April, when he secured promises from Liverpool's American owners that funds would be made available to build the squad of his desires to seriously challenge the Manchester United-Chelsea dominance at the top of the Premier League.

The details of those negotiations are unclear, but it was widely assumed that he would be given at least £20million to spend this summer on top of ANY money he raised himself through sales. Other reports suggested he would be given £40million plus sales.

With less than a week to go before the start of the new season, he has been given precisely NOTHING to spend, above and beyond the money he has raised.

To spell the maths out for Liverpool fans puzzled at this statement, the sales of Xabi Alonso, Sebastien Leto, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jack Hobbs and Paul Anderson have generated something in the region of £40million.

In response, he has paid out around £32million to bring in Glen Johnson and Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani, leaving a PROFIT of around £8million, perhaps more.

Unless you sell Cristiano Ronaldo for £70million, it is hard to make a profit in the transfer market and retain a squad good enough to win the title - especially if you were just short of that mark the season before.

Benitez knows this, and as already suggested, he really is a man of principle. He will be seething inside that his best chance of winning the title at Anfield is apparently being scuppered by owners who have gone back on their word, and are trading long-term title prospects for short-term balance sheet concerns.

A word of warning to Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Benitez walked out of Valencia - a club that had won two titles and a UEFA Cup and were amongst the favourites to lift the Champions League - because he "asked for a table and they brought me a lampshade".

So far this summer, the owners haven't even turned that lamp on at Anfield.

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