I had a dream last night. A wonderful, beautiful dream. I was floating through a forest, the smell of moss and green leaves and the warmth of the summer sunshine, the rustle of wind through the trees and birds in the distance chirping softly. I breathed in deeply, feeling my body fill with the warm, clean peacefulness of the world surrounding me. Also, Roy Hodgson had been fired.
Then I woke up.
So. I'm not sure there's all that much I can say after a showing like yesterday's against Stoke. When you follow up a disappointing display midweek where you blame exhaustion for playing a key role, to turn around and play an essentially unchanged side for the third match in a week puzzles. I can hardly wait to see what the "a team" energy levels will be like in the spring if Hodgson is still around--remembering the way that Rafa's Liverpool would surge towards the end while "thin" squads with British managers like Martin O'Neal who avoided rotation went into the tank tells me that things can still get a whole lot worse. Meanwhile in Italy yesterday, Alberto Aquilani was further cementing himself as Juventus' player of the season to date after having initially taken a couple of matches to settle in.
Which, along with the atrocious performance by Konchesky yesterday and Poulsen being Poulsen, suggests to me a question: just what was Roy Hodgson's worst transfer dealing of the summer? It really does seem as though we're spoiled for choice, but let's take it alphabetically:
* Alberto Aquilani, purchased for £18M and spent a year on the trainer's table being brought back to full fitness before being loaned to Juventus just when he was 100% healthy because the manager felt that Liverpool were so overstaffed to the extent he wouldn't get a game if he'd stayed. Additionally, a clause in his loan agreement allows Juventus to unilaterally opt to purchase him outright at the end of the year for a cut rate. We now, in the managers opinion, have a thin squad. Aquilani has slowly become Juventus' best player. And now it's at their discretion whether they pick him up from us for three or four million pounds less than we paid for him after we spent a year getting him fit.
* Paul Konchesky, purchased from Fulham for £4-5M, plus sending them Lauri Dalla Valle and Alex Kacaniklic (with LDV valued
at £2M+) as part exchange. Also, to help make room for Konchesky, Emiliano Insua was sent on loan to Galatasaray in the final year of his contract. Konchesky has been busy proving to all concerned that not only does he have far less offensive ability than the departed Argentinean, he also appears to be worse in his own end while being nearly a decade his senior. So, in short, Liverpool got rid of Insua, Dalla Valle, and Kacaniklic along with at least four million pounds in order to start Paul Konchesky at left back. Taken as an entire package, that just looks more and more shocking with each passing week.
* Christian Poulsen, meanwhile, is Chirstian Poulsen, and might just be the single worst player on Liverpool's first team in recent memory. And if he isn't in fact the very worst, then he's competing against a select few players who were all brought in on frees rather than for £5+. For all that your Degens and Voronins were certainly unqualified failures, they were unqualified failures brought in for no zero dollars or cents or pounds or pence because the club was strapped for cash and couldn't spare more than a few balls of yarn to acquire a couple of player-like objects resembling squad depth. Meanwhile the club's picking up a past it Danish destroyer who doesn't actually do any destroying and couldn't make the bench at Juventus for a good chunk of cash while there were other, more pressing, needs to worry about.
Honestly, I don't quite know which one I think is worst. Poulsen must set some kind of record for awfulness, but the more he plays the more it looks like Konchesky might give him a real run for his money--and that's without getting into the other factors involved in his acquisition. On the other hand, the Aquilani issue looks shockingly incompetent in retrospect. So I'll be really curious to see where people decide to put their votes on this one.
About the only thing I am sure of is those are three of the worst transfer incidents of the last decade, and all in one window and under one manager. If people feel the need to vent their spleen about things, consider this your invitation to get all teeth-gnashy in the comments. Just try not to say anything too far beyond the pale--maybe ask yourself if Roy Hodgson would be willing to say it in a press conference, and if he wouldn't... wait, no, that doesn't work.