It's that time of year. A time for rumour mongering and acres of fresh effluvium churned out hourly. It can't be avoided. We'll try to make this something less than entirely painful:
"I said long ago that when I wanted to go, I would say so publicly," said Aguero in a statement on his website. "And the time has come. So I keep to my word and here I am. I find it hard to leave Atlético. It hurts and saddens me."
It will hurt and sadden Atletico fans, too, after the player signed a contract extension and officially became the club's vice-captain in January. He now says it was only ever intended to get a club he has real feeling for get a better fee when he did leave, and combined with the early request from a player who's still only 22 years old and who just about everybody assumed would be heading elsewhere sooner rather than later, perhaps there's some truth to that. There won't be if he ends up with frontrunners Real Madrid, of course—that would be like Jack Rodwell heading to Liverpool from Everton. But for now, let the bidding begin, as every Champions League (and aspiring Champions League) club in Europe seems in the running for the Argentinean.
Wherever he does go, he will likely cost at least 45-million Euros—and it could be a lot more if Atletico considers the bid hostile and refuses to let him go. The chances are he won't be coming to Liverpool, but rest assured that until he goes somewhere else he'll be linked to Liverpool by some source or other on a near daily basis. As for where he is likely to go, write down all the usual suspects bar Barcelona on cards and put them in a hat, because that's about as close as you're going to get to insider knowledge at this stage.
This one's out of nowhere, but the latest rumours that do strongly involve Liverpool involve the Brazilian attacking midfielder who currently plies his trade with Wolfsburg. For those disturbed by the thought of Charlie Adam kicking off next season in Liverpool red, this is a very good rumour if for no other reason than if it happened, it would almost certainly kill off the Adam rumours.
Proving once again that goalkeepers are a different breed in football, the 40-year-old American stopper who just wrapped up his 400th appearance in the Premier League by defeating Liverpool on Sunday is out of contract and looking for a change of scenery. A little oddly, most outlets consider Liverpool to be among the frontrunners along with Spurs and West Brom to get him. Given that Pepe Reina's now sticking around—and that even if he wasn't Liverpool wouldn't be looking to Friedel as a long term solution—it seems odd to see Liverpool in the mix, as it's one place he almost certainly wouldn't even have a chance to start at outside of the League Cup. You can blame it on nostalgia by the former Liverpool keeper if you want, but any way you slice it, apparently Liverpool's first signing of the summer could be a very unexpected one who comes in on a free and will be lucky to get a couple of hours of game-time next year if he does.
And just like that, another new name to add to the pot. While Mata (pictured above) has been linked to Liverpool in the past, he hasn't been in the past year or two. If you believe Guillem Balague's Spanish sources, however, it would appear the left footed wide attacker is set to move to the north of England this summer:
After a very interesting trip to Valencia, a clearer picture of the finances and futures of the stars at the club have emerged. Valencia still has to service debts in the region of €500 milion. It is manageable as long as the team qualifies for the Champions League, but even when they do, they will still need to produce and re-pay around €20-25 milion in interest and debt: and the easiest way to do that is to sell players. Basically, that means everybody at Valencia is for sale, including Juan Mata. If a club comes in with a bid of 25-30 milion for Mata, Valencia are willing to sell, but nobody has lodged a bid with the club yet.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have contacted Mata`s representative (his father) and the trio have all expressed varying degrees of interest in the player`s situation. Mata`s new contract contains a buy out clause of €60 million, but that will always be negotiable if both the player and the club are willing to listen to offers.
Apparently it is Liverpool and City who appear the most serious contenders, making this perhaps the most solidly sourced big-name rumour involving Liverpool as the silly season begins to take flight.
Arsenal were always considered favourites to land the Belgian starlet, but now rumours are that Hazard (at right) will stick with Lille for another season after winning the French league and with it the corresponding promise of Champions League Football somewhere he's already comfortable. If this is true, it means he won't be going anywhere this summer, which of course means we've got a couple of months of hearing about him maybe going somewhere—including maybe Liverpool—to look forward to.
The Usual Suspects
The aforementioned Charlie Adam, along with fellow January possibilities Charles N'Zogbia and Ashley Young, and long rumoured target Jose Enrique. Because Liverpool was linked to them before and so will of course be linked to them again, whether or not there's any real new news. And so far, there doesn't seem to be any real new news but their names are still being floated once again as likely possibilities.
Well, there you go. I think most will know that we here at the Liverpool Offside view the transfer window insanity skeptically at best, but it's not as though we can bury our heads in the sand completely and pretend it doesn't exist if we want to be your one-stop shop for all things Liverpool. That and there's not a lot else to write about once the season wraps up. In any case, we'll try to get it all in one place when we do talk about it, we'll try to avoid grand "Sergio Aguero is coming to Liverpool"-style pronouncements, and we'll try to keep a bit of our snarky disdain and skepticism regarding the whole thing.
Do let us know if you think we're approaching things from the wrong direction so that we can try to do better.
Also, don't forget that the results for Young Player of the Season went up on Oh You Beauty yesterday. Today Goal of the Season will be presented at the crack of dawn in the UK morning on Paisley Gates, and Performance of the Season will roll around about twelve hours later on Anfield Asylum. We'll be presenting Worst Loss first thing tomorrow morning as our continuing efforts to band together with other Liverpool blogs and notable online fans to give the season a bit of a wraping-up continues.