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KopBlog: Is Torres The Answer?

Is Torres The Answer?

Before I set off on my recent travels, I said in the last blog that I hoped to return to some good news on the transfer front and it looks as if I got my wish. The news that Fernando Torres is on the verge of becoming a Red has put a grin on my face as wide as the River Mersey.

Torres is a brilliant player and would be an excellent signing. However, there seems to be some fans who are slightly worried at the size of the transfer fee involved and whether he will be able to adapt to the Premiership, but I really don’t have a problem on either score.

Firstly, I know there is a whole generation of Reds supporters who have had to become used to the club shopping in the bargain basement, in comparison to the other elite clubs in Europe, but it wasn’t so long ago that things were an awful lot different.

I started supporting the Reds around about the time Sir Bob Paisley ( screw Tony Blair and his cronies, if the most successful manager in the game doesn‘t deserve a knighthood, then nobody in the game does!) took over from Shanks. From about the mid-70’s until the late 80’s it was almost the norm to see Liverpool pay record fees for the right players. Sir Bob didn’t just sign players for the sake of it, he would often say that he would only sign players if they were an improvement on what he already had, and this was a practice that continued until the end of the Dalglish era.

The problem with this was that there were not actually very many players that were an improvement on what we already had in those days, and when someone became available who fit this criteria we would pay whatever it took to bring them to Anfield. When we paid £440,000 for King Kenny back in 1977, it was the highest transfer fee of its day and seemed like an obscene amount of money at the time but we certainly got our money’s worth. About a decade later, Dalglish continued this practice as our manager when he paid out a then record £1.8million for Peter Beardsley as well as £900,000 for John Barnes and the guts of £1million for John Aldridge, again this caused a stir at the time but once again we certainly got our money’s worth.

Whether it was bad financial management or just circumstances that forced us to change our approach, I really don’t know but I do find it strangely ironic that the timing of us abandoning this practice almost exactly coincides with the last time we won the league. So I would very much welcome the signing of Torres and hope that his signing would prove to be a signal that the club is moving back in the direction of having the means and the courage to pay the price for players who will be a genuine improvement on what we already have.

The question of whether Torres will be able to adapt to the Premiership is a different matter but from what I’ve seen of him, I would be very confident that he can. There’s no doubting the lads ability but I think the fact that he is also the captain of Atletico Madrid at the tender age of 23, also shows us that he has leadership ability and character, which can be very important qualities to have in the English game.

But more importantly then all that is the fact that, despite his hefty price tag, Rafa is convinced he is what we need upfront and at the end of the day that should be enough to convince us all. Of course, the signing of any player regardless of price is always a bit of a gamble, but I’m sure Rafa will have done an endless amount of homework on the player and if he remains confident, that’s good enough for me.

Another bonus about us signing Torres would be that it will show the boss that he truly has the backing of our new owners and if ever a manager deserved it, he does. For the majority of the time he’s been here, he’s virtually had to settle for signing his second, third and even fourth choice transfer targets and yet he’s still soldiered on and managed to bring us success and belief. I’m sure that even now he still won’t always be able to sign his first choices, but even if he can sign some of them, there’s no telling how much success he can bring to this club.

Our new signings up to now of Voronin, Lucas and Leto are all useful additions but if we can add Torres to that list, things start to look a lot more exciting. However, more work needs to be done. Regardless of who we have playing upfront for us next season, they will only be effective if we can provide them with the right service and we are still short of quality on the wings. Recent reports that King Luis may be returning to Spain as part of the Torres deal is a blow, and only adds to the problem.

By all accounts Harry Kewell is playing some good stuff for Australia in the Asian Cup and a fully rejuvenated Wizard of Oz returning for us next season would certainly be a great asset, but we just cannot afford to rely on him remaining fit for an entire season. Ideally we need to sign two quality wingers but if we have to settle for one, then I feel our priority has to be on the right.

I’d like to see us bring in another option for the left but at least we’ve got Kewell, Riise and Aurelio who can all do a decent job on that side. On the right it’s a far different story as we’ve only really got Pennant and although he’s improving all the time, as long as this remains the case the likelihood is Gerrard will end up being played there most of the time.

Although I realise that Rafa has played him on the right pretty much out of necessity and that StevieG will always do his best no matter where he is played, I still think that when we come up against the likes of Fungusface and Moaninho, they are a lot happier when they see our captain playing wide. He is one of the best central midfielders in the world and we really need to be playing him there as often as possible.

So I think if we can sign a real top class right winger who can deliver some quality into our forwards, add a few goals to the side and allow us to return our captain to the position where he is most effective, it would massively improve our chances of being successful next season.

So let’s hope that now our new owners have got their chequebook out, it remains out for just a little longer. One winger would be great but if we can sign two, I will be heading straight down to my local bookies to check out the odds on a long overdue Premiership win for the Reds!


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