You thought you could escape the summer transfer window when Premier League football returned? Well, you thought wrong. And on top of the expected rumours linking Liverpool to various English defenders, there's a whole new round of rumours that just don't seem to make sense any way you come at them to dig through as we rush towards September first and begin to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel…
With Liverpool reportedly turning down an £11M bid for Meireles from Udinese last week, new rumours have popped up linking the Portuguese playmaker to Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea. On one hand it makes complete sense, at least for a Chelsea side that is exceptionally weak in the centre of the park this season. But on the other hand it doesn't quite ring true, as only last summer Villas-Boas was willing to let Meireles depart from Porto in favour of bringing through João Moutinho. Then again, with Meireles proving he could compete in the premier league last season—and arguably providing more than many of Liverpool's own new signings—and Chelsea having far fewer legitimate options than Porto did, it could all add up to moderately plausible. Either that or the tabloids are doing the hard journalistic work of putting Meireles and Villas-Boas together and getting transfer.
Sticking with rumours linking Liverpool to Chelsea, with the Israeli midfielder having a hard time getting more time at Chelsea than he did at Liverpool—despite the London club's aforementioned dearth of options in the middle—it seems as though the player may have realized that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Given his age, Liverpool's packed midfield, and that it would take actual money to get him away from Chelsea, it's hard to imagine a journey back north is in the cards for Benayoun. And assuming there's even a hint of truth to the Meireles rumours, it especially wouldn't make much sense for Liverpool to ship Meireles south only to spend—or give up—a portion of any transfer fee to bring Benayoun back the other way, while if there's no truth at all to those Meireles rumours it wouldn't be a sensible transfer for all the other, overpacked midfield reasons. Unless of course Chelsea wanted to take Joe Cole back in a straight swap. Then it would be totally awesome.
A 27-year-old supersub winger from Celtic wouldn't seem high on the list of potential Liverpool targets, or a likely improvement on the options currently at hand, but he's one of the new players supposedly in the mix as the window winds down. Celtic reportedly have no interest in selling McCourt (left), though given that he's failed to establish himself as a starter with one of the big two sides against the weak sisters of the Scottish Premier League as he heads into his fourth season with the club, it's hard to imagine they'd turn down any half decent offer that would fund a gamble on somebody new. Though then it comes back to it being difficult to imagine Liverpool offering all that much for a fringe player in a weak league who should already be at or near the peak of his abilities. Of course, since he scored a stunner for Northern Ireland against the Faroe Islands—the Faroe Islands, people!—that had commentators talking in Messi-like superlatives for about five minutes, Liverpool should probably sign him right up. He can replace Stewart Downing in the club's best eleven.
The Welsh raised but English born Stoke captain, still only 23, started his career in the Manchester United reserves. An imposing figure at 6'3" and with a shaven head, his is an interesting, no nonsense name to add to the likes of Gary Cahill and Scott Dann as potential acquisitions at centre back, keeping with the club's theme of sticking to players with Premier League experience who in theory should still be a few years off from hitting their peak as professional footballers. While Shawcross isn't generally as highly regarded as Cahill, he's younger than his Bolton counterpart and is arguably on a similar trajectory. Questions would have to be raised, however, about his suitability—at least in the short term—if Liverpool intends to play football from the back. Even if Liverpool's scouts and management team see a ball-playing centre half begging to get out in Shawcross, it's safe to say that isn't what he's been asked to be at Stoke City, where he has been a largely solid defensive presence in Tony Pulis' agrarian set-up.
It appears as though Danish national team manager Morten Olsen may have finally woken Christian Poulsen up to the realities of no first team football for two season in England. Namely, that he really for real won't be part of Olsen's set up at next summer's Euros if he doesn't make a change. And fast:
"My future needs to be resolved in August and preferably as soon as possible. I have to get to play matches regularly. It's obvious that I would really like to play football."
After months of Poulsen's agent suggesting the player would be happy to sit at Liverpool, semi-retired and making more in a week than most of the club's followers do in a year, the player himself coming out with such statements to the Danish press seems a complete about-face for the underwhelming defensive midfielder. One expects Liverpool would be happy to let him go for next to nothing, if only to get his wages off the books, and so the question now is whether Poulsen has finally reached the point where he will be willing to take a significant pay cut to move down a level and get meaningful first team football.
Elsewhere, Owen Coyle has told the Bolton News that, finances permitting, “I'd like to add another striker and a winger. You probably know who they." And by most accounts that means David Ngog and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Also of note for anybody who missed it is yesterday's confirmation that Daniel Ayala has joined Norwich City full time. Plus Philipp Degen (who is still alive) could be headed to QPR, just in case you needed a laugh.