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Anfield Banter: Bells Tolled, Babel fished, Benayoun soon, Kids challenged, Calling in the big guns, & Everybody loves Carra

* It's official, Craig Bellamy has joined West Ham on a record breaking fee for the club. The Hammers will pay £7.5m for Bells, who said his reason for leaving Liverpool was because of lack of playing opportunities in his future. Yeah, Bells, it was completely your choice. Surprisingly, the 28-year-old was signed to a 5-year-contract. Not only surprising because of his age, but also because he's never lasted more than three-and-a-half seasons at a club. I wish him all the best of luck.

* Babel is all but a Red. The thing that worries me is that Babel played the traditional European definition of a winger at Ajax in that he played up front, while you usually can't get away with that in England where wingers are traditionally midfielders. Rafa might adjust his club for Europe, but I doubt he'll do so in EPL play. I just don't foresee him playing three in the middle or three in the back, it's just too risky to go with less defensive options in English football.

* Benayoun should be a Red by the end of the week. I hope we are going after one more player as well, but happy we're getting a utility midfielder like Yossi.

* Rafa has challenged some of the more talented youngsters to make the squad. Among them are hat-trick hero Besian Idrizaj, MF Jay Spearing, and Centre Back Jack Hobbs. If we're not going to sign a centre back this offseason, we might really need Hobbs to step up.

* Expect Gerrard, Carra, Crouch, Alonso, and the debut of Andriy Voronin in Saturday's preseason friendly with Crewe Alexandra. I'm really curious to see how the Ukrainian striker fits in. I suspect we'll start a poor man's first team in the first half and bring squad potentials in the second. Will Martin Hansen get a second chance?

* Finally, a plethora of former players have come out to back Carra's exit from International play including Jamie Redknapp, Ian Rush, and Tommy Smyth. Adrian Durham is an idiot and McClown, well, anyone who thinks Wes Brown is in the same class as Carra needs a mental evaluation. Cheers.

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