One more player leaves Liverpool while rumours swirl about potential replacements. Plus Aquilani's agent doing what he does best, papers rehashing year old stories, and all the rest of the week's fun as the rumour mills hit top gear again with the window heading to its close…
The big Greek defender left for Wolfsburg on a free transfer late on Monday, the player eager to get more playing time than seemed likely at Liverpool and the club happy to get his wages off the books. In all he made 49 appearances and scored 3 goals after he joined the club from from AEK Athens in the summer of 2009 for £1.5M. At the time Liverpool was desperate to fill the void left by a departing Sami Hyypia but had next to no money to spend on bringing somebody in, and so once again Rafa Benitez went bargain hunting.
And in the end, then, given what he came in on and that nobody ever expected him to lead the team to trophies, it would be hard to say that he wasn't at least a mild success. He was the sort of player who always put in the effort when called upon, and at least against more aerially inclined opponents his presence was often to the club's benefit. Never the fleetest of foot, though, as his second season with the club wore on he became a regular liability against any side willing to play it along the ground, at times seeming as though his inclusion guaranteed at least penalty against.
For many fans, those penalties given up in the second half of last season will be hard to completely overlook, but there will still be room for some fond remembrances of the tough, professional defender who took out Marouane Fellaini in his first local derby. Hopefully he'll find himself able to make a similar impact for Wolfsburg now that he's moving on.
While Kyrgiakos is definitely gone, one name that's definitely sticking around is Dirk Kuyt, though for a couple of hours stories that he could be heading to Inter Milan took off. Heck, there were even quotes from his agent saying that an offer had been made and that Kuyt would have to consider it.
Only then it turned out that those quotes were from last summer and had somehow been rehashed. Many will even remember the story first making the rounds shortly after Rafa Benitez took on the Inter job and came back looking to bring Kuyt along with him. So in the end, the less said about this particular foolishness the better.
If Dirk Kuyt's agent once brought up a legitimate offer from Inter Milan, Aquilani's agent has brought up questionable links to just about every side in Italy on a near daily basis this summer. His latest story involves Aquilani heading to AC Milan by mid-week, and it has been picked up and passed along as fact by half the Liverpool-centric sites on the internet, who appear to have forgotten that they're trading in quotes from Alberto Aquilani's agent, a man quickly becoming less reliable than the Twitter in the knows who had Charlie Adam on his way to a medical thirty-seven times before he finally did sign with Liverpool.
The story, though, for what it's worth, is that it's set to be a permanent move this time. But that said permanent move will only see between £4-7M head to Liverpool for the player they paid £16-18 for two seasons ago. And also it's rumoured that Aquilani is refusing to give up on the nearly £1M loyalty bonus that comes to him if he doesn't officially file for a transfer, even though the move is being almost wholly driven by the player and his agent.
So, good times. Or something. Maybe good riddance, if this is indeed the truth that the whole Aquilani farce is winding its way towards as a final chapter.
The fiery 32-year-old (right) doesn't seem like an obvious target for FSG's Liverpool, and moreover he would need to take a fairly major paycut to return to the club he rode out of on a golf club, but that hasn't stopped links from popping up as a move to Bolton for David Ngog grows increasingly likely. If he did arrive from the well-paid purgatory that is Manchester City, he would seem pegged for the role of emergency backup behind Suarez, Carroll, and Kuyt—a definite need for the club given the different formations likely to be employed over the season and that Kuyt and Suarez will both get plenty of time at positions other than striker. Nonetheless, a starring role would hardly seem likely for the Welsh striker who has in the past been unafraid to voice his displeasure at a lack of playing time at City.
Following official news of Kygiakos' departure, first Rory Smith of the Telegraph said that a bid had been lodged for the Uruguayan centre back and Club Nacional star. And while for many it was an intriguing name to add to the mix alongside Scott Dann and Gary Cahill, it was difficult not to be at least a little skeptical given Smith's earlier proclamations that Raul Meireles wasn't heading to China with the rest of the Liverpool squad and was about to be sold. But then Oliver Kay of the Times said his sources were also telling him a bid has been made—and that the club also had an interest in bringing back Craig Bellamy. Then Tony Evans—who was right about the Mascherano and Torres departures at a time when nobody wanted to hear them—piled on to make it three of the more respectable Liverpool-covering journalists pulling in the same direction. Which either means the club actually has made a bid for the 6'6", 20-year-old defender who played a starring role in Uruguay's Copa America triumph over the summer, or—if one is feeling exceptionally paranoid—it means the club really wants people to think they have.
In any case, one issue clouding the chances of a successful transfer of Coates to Liverpool could be that a work permit wouldn't be an automatic and the club would almost certainly have to lodge a special appeal—after securing his transfer and signature, of course, making the transfer a potential gamble. As he's only 20 and made his full international debut against Chile in the second game of the summer's Copa America before going on to start in every subsequent match through the final while being named young player of the tournament, it's hard to see a permit being denied at the end of the day. Still, it does make his situation slightly less clear than Cahill or Dann's, and even assuming an eventual work permit was assured, it could still take a not insignificant amount of time to work through the bureaucratic red tape.
Still, if Liverpool's interest is in fact serious enough that they have made a formal offer to Club Nacional, it suggests that Gary Cahill's wage demands may have put the club off the Bolton defender. As for Nacional, they seem eager to cash in on their rising star, pulling out of a deal with Brazilian side Sao Paulo when Porto came sniffing around prior to the Copa America only for the defender's strong showing at the tournament to then move him out of Porto's price range when Manchester City entered the fray. City, though, settled on snatching up young Montenegrin centre half Stefan Savic earlier in the summer and, with their interest in Coates then cooling, it was beginning to look as though the Uruguayan might remain with Nacional for another season. Now, of course, it could be that he's heading to England after all.
Unless it's all smoke and mirrors and an attempt to drive down Gary Cahill's price or wage demands.
While we all wait to find out, those who want to get caught up dreaming of the next big thing—and maybe even the player to finally fill the void left by Sami Hyypia when he left for Germany at the end of the 2008-09 season—can always spend some time getting to know Nacional's number 19…