Deadline day' has arrived, and it doesn't especially matter that Liverpool seems to have largely wrapped up their summer dealings. Because deadline day has arrived. Which means that if you haven't stocked up on bottled water and tins of beans already, you're pretty much out of luck for when the insanity kicks off in a couple of hours and the country grinds to a halt, staring rapt, fixated on Sky Sports' scrolling ticker. Waiting for an update on the location of the Babelcopter that's carrying Neymar to Melwood…
* For now, however, almost all the talk is about Liverpool's signing of Sebastian Coates. News of his acquisition seemed as good as settled last Wednesday, less then 24 hours after serious rumours linking him to Liverpool first surfaced, and by most reports he was in Liverpool as early as Friday with the fee agreed and the player taking his medical—which was when we decided it was safe to treat his signing as fact. The club's official website, on the other hand, has been sitting on the story for most of the past week. Which means they've had nearly a week to work on Coates-related content for you to dig through as Wednesday kicks off.
There's the typically terse official statement to let you know that Coates' official signing has in fact been made official. There's the expected pictures of Coates posing for photos with Damien Comolli and in the bootroom that gave us an opening to make Human Centipede jokes on Twitter1.
Then there are the more interesting tidbits that come from having had a week to work on content, like an in-depth player profile full of tidbits to supplement the now common knowledge of the player having won young player of the tournament at the Copa America and multiple defender of the year awards with his club Nacional:
Coates joined the Nacional academy at 11 and went on to break into the first-team seven years later, making his senior debut against Bella Vista in 2009. Such was his impact, he was crowned man of the match by Spanish newspaper El Pais afterwards.
Coates is nicknamed 'Luganito' by Uruguay fans as he's seen as the natural successor to the current captain of the national team, Diego Lugano.
Indeed, Lugano himself has previously spoken of his belief that Liverpool's new defender will go on to skipper his country.
There's also room for entire articles dedicated to the player talking about the influence of Suarez in his arrival at the club, about learning of its history from his Uruguayan teammate, and of his first experience at Anfield when he watched Liverpool overwhelm Bolton from the director's box on the weekend. Not to mention lists for trivia fans who didn't know they were dying to know Coates is now tied as second tallest Liverpool player of all time with Sami Hyypia, trailing only Peter Crouch; that he was born on October 7th, the same as Hyypia; and that in Uruguay he once scored against Liverpool Fútbol Club. Plus there are a handful of truly insightful revelations from Damien Comolli about the scouting of Liverpool's newest player:
Myself and my scouting staff have been tracking him for over two years now, since the Copa America U20 tournament in Venezuela. Then he went to the U20 World Cup in Egypt in 2009 and we kept an eye on him during the season, playing for his club Nacional where he was the captain, and then our scout went to the Copa America this summer just for confirmation of what we were thinking about him.
And so now you officially know more about Sebastian Coates than you have about any previous new signing at Liverpool Football Club. Plus more than you know about half the established players, too.
* Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that Liverpool do not expect Chelsea to return with an improved offer for Raul Meireles after the club made it clear they had no intention to sell unless faced with an offer that really was too good to be true. Welcome to following a club that is very much no longer a selling club. Now let that sink in—it should help with the urge to wildly panic on any day that's transfer deadline day. Like today.
* And over on the Anfield Wrap, there's room for a fairly in-depth look at a concept the reviled Christian Purslow may actually have introduced to the club's followers back in the dark days of Hicks and Gillett: Total player cost. It seemed a bit of a slippery concept to many at the time, but in the end it has turned out to be a key tenant of the approach Henry and FSG are taking, even if the term moneyball so often thrown around accompanying it is loaded with misconceptions and confusion. Namely: "It ain’t about what you pay, but that the value attained ultimately exceeds cost."
Home grown talent such as Steven Gerrard or Ryan Giggs may pleasingly show up as a nil net transfer fee cost, but the growth in the size of their pay packets down the years tells a different story. Let’s guestimate that Stevie G’s new 5 year contract of 2009 cost the club a further £60k a week, to bring him into line with his well paid England colleagues at clubs like Chelsea. The cost of that deal, then, is akin to LFC paying a transfer fee of £15m (£3m per year x 5 years) just to retain one of their own players...
Downing will cost LFC about £18m (plus add ons) and about £17m in wages over the life of his 5 year contract – a total package cost of £35m… Mata is on the verge of joining Chelsea for about £25m we hear. If his wages attract the premium that big inter European deals seem to these days we could safely estimate that a 5 year wage deal for Mata could set Chelsea back about £25m. Therefore whilst Mata is costing a total of about £50m (transfer fee and wages added together), Downing looks a lot cheaper option at £35m all in.
It's an idea that still doesn't exactly make the likes of Downing—or perhaps even moreso Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll—especially cheap, but it's a concept that does suggest many pundits are stuck in the past when they rely too heavily on transfer fees and only transfer fees to determine how much a player is costing his club or whether he's living up to that cost.
Well, there you have it: Everything you ever wanted to know about Coates but were afraid to ask. Plus some other interesting stuff to pass the meantime with before the final day of the summer window leads to meteor showers and tidal waves (and swearing2)…
1You probably don't want to look it up at work. But you already knew that.
2So you probably don't want to watch the video at work, either. But you already knew that, too.