Saturday, September 11, 2010

Liverpool's transfer failures

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Jermaine Pennant (£6.7m): “I’ve dreamt about this since I was a little boy,” said Pennant when he moved from Birmingham. In the last year of his contract and apparently on his way out, though he is said to have turned down approaches from Stoke and Blackburn. Just four appearances this season.

Antonio Nunez (swap): “Nunez is an important signing,” said Benitez of the man who came from Real Madrid as part of the deal that took Michael Owen to Spain. But he tore knee ligaments in his second training session and left a year later with nothing but a Champions League winner’s medal to show for his time in England

Josemi (£2.6m): Benítez’s first signing for Liverpool, “a right-sided player in the Jamie Carragher mould” who “is good in the air and can make this team stronger”. After 21 appearances in two seasons he was given away. “I didn’t like beans on toast,” he said. “I prefer to eat Spanish food.”

Fernando Morientes (£6.3m): Arrived with a wonderful reputation as one of Europe’s premier goalscorers, but showed little of that talent in his 18 months on Merseyside, scoring just eight league goals at a rate of one every five games. “I had a good first year but the second was worse. The last three months were terrible,” he surmised

Mauricio Pellegrino (free): The first Argentinian to play for Liverpool, but he didn’t do it very often. Already 33 when he signed, he was still 33 when he left, 12 appearances later. Now back, as first-team coach

Mark Gonzalez (£4.5m): “Only if you know nothing about football could you say he is not good enough to play in the Premiership,” fumed Benítez after the speedy winger was refused a work permit in 2005. A year later he got his permit. A year after that he had been sold to Real Betis. Apparently he was not good enough to play in the Premiership

Antonio Barragán (free): A right-back snapped up from Sevilla before he had made a first-team appearance, Barragán played for 11 minutes of a Champions League tie againsst CSKA Sofia, his entire first-team experience before being sold to Deportivo La Coruna. Liverpool have a buy-back option, so fans might not have seen the last of him

Jan Kromkamp (swap): The Dutchman’s career was on the slide: Villarreal signed him from Alkmaar for £5m, but gave him to Liverpool six months later in exchange for Josemi. He hadn’t reached the bottom: another six months and he was back in Holland, with PSV

Andriy Voronin (free): Ukrainian striker who’s blonde pony-tail and broad physique made him stand out from the average footballer. “He’s a good worker and he scores goals,” said Benitez. Six of them, to be precise. Now on loan for the season at Hertha Berlin

Gabriel Paletta (£2m): Trumpeted as “exactly the sort of player we need who will suit the Premier League”. In fact the Argentinian centre-back started only two league games, Liverpool lost them both (to Portsmouth and Fulham) and now he’s back in Argentina

Craig Bellamy (£6.5m): He was supposed to have “the ability, the pace and the talent we’ve been looking for” when he moved from Blackburn in July 2006. Within months he was attacking team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club in a karaoke-related incident, and when Fernando Torres joined he signed for West Ham for £7.5m. “I could sit at Liverpool as a squad player,” he said, “but I’d be cheating myself and my personality.”