Liverpool fans are a fearful sort especially when it comes to the transfer machinations of Manchester United, a club that appears to be haunting some to an unreasonable degree. They're not under the bed, they're not under the carpets, and they're not in the wardrobe. Turn around..they're behind you. See? Nobody's there...yet. That's probably the fear, that they could be close and we just don't know it but by the time we realise, they'll have crept up sneakily and accosted us without warning when it will be too late. Only our screams of terror will be heard as we disappear into the night. Or not.
Anyway, here are the latest transfer shenanigans from elsewhere.
Guess who's back?
Back again. Drogba's back, tell a friend. Didier Drogba is back at Chelsea but José Mourinho isn't one to dabble in unnecessary sentiment for sentiment's sake. This is a move designed to bring Chelsea experience and with Diego Costa presumably being readied for a season as Chelsea's undisputed first-choice lone frontman, a clear third choice was sought. Demba Ba left for Turkish climes last week and Old Man Eto'o escaped the clutches of the "foolish" one who will be probably tasked with bringing silverware to Roman Abramovich's desk this upcoming season.
The deal is for one year but it isn't just a delightful renewal of a love affair between player and club, it is restoring one of football's strongest player-coach relationships. Drogba and Mourinho adore each other and this excerpt from Mourinho's foreword from Drogba's autobiography was attests to the strength of their friendship.
Didier is in my life as one of the best players I have managed in my career. But much more importantly, he's in my life as one of the best and most unforgettable friends.Together, the two of us side by side, fighting for the same thing? Far away? In different clubs? In different countries? Or old, with Didier in retirement and me coaching in a wheelchair? It doesn't matter.
Didier. Always near to my heart.
Maybe the man who is seen as one of football's most high profile arch pragmatists has engaged in a little bit of sentiment. Drogba's record in the years after he left Chelsea has been good but he's been playing in China and Turkey. A 36-year-old striking legend returning after his last kick for his former club secured a first Champions League trophy is a bit of a risk but as he's going to Chelsea as nothing more than vastly experienced depth, it is hard to see this as potentially ruining his reputation at the club.
Chelsea have signed a number one and a number three for the club's striking options. Who will be number two, Fernando Torres or Romelu Lukaku?
Is this club going to pieces?
Southampton need to stop selling players, especially when they were key components of the club's greatest league finish in the Premier League. Maybe that's what such success brings but Dejan Lovren is close to joining Rickie Lambert and the injured Adam Lallana at Liverpool. Luke Shaw has moved to Manchester United. All four were starting players and will now ply their respective trades in the traditional Northern powerhouses of English football. That should be enough to worry Southampton fans but unfortunately for followers of the South Coast club, there are further departures but lots more cash to discuss.
19-year-old Calum Chambers is reportedly close to moving to Arsenal as part of Arsène Wenger's plans to strengthen the right side of defence. A £16 million package is supposedly the figure for a young defender who has played one season of top flight football. Nathaniel Clyne shared duties with Chambers at right back last season and should be the undisputed first-choice moving forward.
Morgan Schneiderlin will go if the offer is right despite Southampton's insistence that it will take an enormous offer of £27 million to prise the solid midfielder away from St Mary's. Really? Southampton will accept a lot less and Schneiderlin will inevitably respond positively once Arsenal or Tottenham formalise interest in the player. Victor Wanyama will need to make more than 19 starts and perhaps Jack Cork should be offered a new contract as he only has one year remaining on his deal. Both can bring stability to the heart of midfield even if further recruitments will be required.
Jay Rodriguez has already turned down a new contract and one suspects that Mauricio Pochettino is waiting for the right moment to snare the injured forward. José Fonte is under serious interest from Cardiff City and two bids have already been rejected. Southampton are looking for £5 million for the centre back who has one year left on his contract. Artur Boruc also has one year left on his deal and Southampton will need to pay quite a bit for Fraser Forster after a "derisory" bid was rejected by Celtic earlier in the week.
Ronald Koeman has a lot of work to do but he'll need help from those running the club.
In other news...
Everton are pushing for Romelu Lukaku to make Goodison Park his permanent home and it would be a good move for him to play for a progressive manager. He needs to be the main man at this stage instead of shunted from club to club. Roberto Martínez has been and will continue to be good for the Belgium international. Andy Carroll is injured again and it looks like Liverpool did excellently to get £15 million, £1 million loan fee, and a year's wages at 80k per week (over £4 million every season) from the London club. That's £20 million. No wonder David Sullivan is expressing regrets over the dea but Sam Allardyce pushed for the deal so there may be some strong words to be had. Big Sam and the Hammers hierarchy are also in conflict over the future of the talented if controversial Ravel Morrison. Oh joy.
Juventus sign Roberto Pereyra from Udinese on loan for £1.2 million and can make the deal permanent if an additional £11 million or so is sent Udinese's way. The club from Udine just keeps finding and selling talent on for the financial benefit of the club. Frazer Campbell has joined Crystal Palace to bolster Tony Pulis' striking options while Sunderland have snapped up one of Chelsea's loan rangers for an undisclosed fee. 8 appearances since 2009 but a lot more for clubs at home and abroad. Patrick Van Aanholt has finally found a permanent home. Tottenham have appointed former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough FC defensive stalwart Ugo Ehiogu as the club's under-21 coach so maybe one should pay attention to the fortunes of the Spurs under-21 side over the next few years.
Fredik Ljungberg has come out of retirement to make lots of money in the Indian Super League. The former Arsenal goalscoring midfielder is 37 years of age and while he won't have produce the ljung bursting runs of yesterday, he'll be another big name in the league along with former Liverpool players David James and Luis García.