One of the more helpless feelings about being a supporter during the silly season is that, when it comes to who the club pursues, your voice is about as strong as Joe Cole's influence on a match. There's nothing you can do, even if you see loads of attention being paid to footballers that you don't really rate. Sad as it is, Liverpool probably don't care about my success rate in a Winning Eleven Master League purchasing young foreign talent as part of a treble-winning side for twelve consecutive seasons.
Completely unrelated, the Saturday news and notes:
* There's nothing concrete yet, so the intro might be a little reactionary, but news from the Telegraph yesterday has Liverpool moving full steam ahead with their plans to bring in an army of Martin Samuelites---there's been more and more reports about Jordan Henderson from Sunderland and Phil Jones from Blackburn, and today we get confirmation(?) that there's been a bid placed and promptly rejected for Ipswich Town's Connor Wickham:
The Championship side have turned down the bid as too low and will demand at least £10 million for the 18 year-old, who helped England’s Under-17 side win the European Championship last summer. Liverpool had made inquiries about Wickham last January when Fernando Torres indicated his desire to leave Anfield, but were put off by the £15 million Ipswich were asking at the time.
The 6ft 3in Wickham, who has been compared to former England striker Alan Shearer, agreed to extend his contract by two years until 2013, and the deal was updated in April to run until 2014 - although it is believed to contain an escape clause for £15 million.
So, depending on reports that may or may not be based in reality, that's at least £10 million for Wickham, £15 million for Henderson, and £15 million for Jones. That's £40 million for a whole lot of unproven, barely-legal action, and unless Liverpool are playing with Monopoly money this summer, I find myself more than a little distressed. It's not just the money that's concerning, it's the fact that we're talking about three names that seem to be a ways off having any sort of discernible impact, as well as the apparent availability of names with a little more immediacy attached (JUAN MATA GODDAMMIT). For now I'll just hope that this is part of a Quaalude-induced night terror and when I wake up it'll be August.
* Involved in some part of this discussion is Kenny Dalglish, who's staring down his first full season as Liverpool manager in twenty years. We've done and redone the impact of his return on the latter half of the season, so, with an assist from Prad, there's a slightly different take on the King's task by Andi Thomas over at SBNation. Hopefully without bastardizing the sentiment:
"The point is that Dalglish was always going to be better than Hodgson, by simple virtue of not being Hodgson. At which simple task he excelled: he got hat-tricks out of Maxi Rodriguez, oversaw an famous win over Manchester United, and generally gave the Anfield faithful a vigorous back-rub. But it's worth nothing that the biggest disappointments of his brief second reign have come in the only games that mattered in the wider scheme of things: the Europa League ties against Braga and the two games at the end of the season, when Europe was back on the table. If there's something riding on it, Dalglish's Liverpool have cocked it up."
As a Liverpool homer, my initial reaction is to shift uncomfortably under my lap desk and mumble incoherently, although I can somewhat understand the perspective that Liverpool were effectively prancing through the second half of the season, unencumbered by the weight carried by other sides.
That's a tough sell for me, though, as I still bristle at the "pressure-free" argument and don't think we can simply accept the narrative change that Liverpool were just good under Dalglish because people like him and that meant nobody really cared anymore. There were and will continue to be a whole host of challenges facing Dalglish and Liverpool, and creating consistency and achieving expectation are among the most important. But I don't think that Dalglish being not Hodgson and starting in January made things any less "real," or that Liverpool were just good when there wasn't anything riding on it. Disappointing end to the season, which I'm more prone to attribute to a tired and thin squad than the sudden realization that omigod people are paying attention again what are we supposed to do.
Of course, it's all a long way of saying we don't really have any idea what's going to happen, but I'm banking on Dalglish and yet again find myself wishing it was August already.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Friday internationals had little to do with Liverpool, but today's the day to tune in, and you can check your local listings and/or visit ESPN3.com, MyP2P.eu, Atdhenet.tv, or FromSportcom.com for something online.
And, if none of that suits your fancy, you can just focus on not getting cut off mid-funk: