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Raul Meireles Joins Chelsea

In a summer full of rumours that Raul Meireles was on his way out, there was always an assumption that that exit was being sought by the club. Even though Liverpool made signals that they wanted to keep the player, rejecting out of hand multiple bids while including the Meireles in games where those out of favour were left to sit in the stands, those rumours just wouldn't go away. And so in the end, it appears that there was more than a little truth to it all, though to all appearances it would also seem that in the end the club really did want to hold on to the player and that it was instead the player who was seeking an exit.

In the end the club accepted Chelsea's £12M deadline day offer, with Meireles now set to join the Blues on a four-year deal.

It has to be seen as hugely disappointing for Liverpool, as the club now finds itself in a similar position to last season where if Gerrard's injury troubles persist any midfield depth will once again have to come from younger fringe players like Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey.

It's also somewhat surprising that in the end the club was willing to send him to Chelsea for the same amount of money they had previously turned down from Fiorentina. It's all well and good saying that a club shouldn't hold on to a player who wants to leave, but this was a last minute panic buy by Chelsea, and one Liverpool does not appear to have been prepared for. In the circumstances, there's certainly an argument for keeping the player around until January before attempting to move him on to Italy once a proper replacement can be lined up, even if it results in getting a lesser fee.

Instead, it's a situation where Liverpool has strengthened a side they would like to consider a direct rival for domestic silverware while getting nothing exceptionally useful out of the exchange. It has been made clear in recent weeks that making a few extra pounds on the transfer market isn't a current priority, with multiple players let go for next to nothing just to be rid of them, and meanwhile everybody around the club has talked of a need to improve squad depth after years of attrition under the former owners. The money isn't supposed to be the priority any more, and the playing staff is—and from that perspective, this transfer is an unambiguous failure.

In the end, it makes what had previously been a fantastic summer of rebuilding for the club suddenly seem far less successful. Today Chelsea are stronger than they were yesterday and Liverpool weaker. Today the newfound depth in midfield needed to compete against the likes of the Manchester clubs is suddenly gone once again.

It's a poor, poor end to what had seemed so promising a window, and a poor, poor move by a player who had insisted at the start of the summer he wanted to stay at Liverpool.

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