Alonso, Mascherano and Why Liverpool Should Sign Ashley Young

Steve ClarkContributor IJuly 22, 2009

Is anybody else feeling a sense of Deja-Vu? Remember the tedious Alonso saga last summer? Well it's back, with a bang.

Real Madrid, not content with signing two of the best midfielders in the world, would like to add the ever impressive Alonso to their ranks. It appears that we would be prepared to sell too, but at the right price.

So why hasn't this deal happened already? What's the hold up.

Well firstly, if Alonso was sold before the end of July, Real Sociedad would take a generous slice of the transfer fee. So common sense ensured that the clubs held out for this date. So now the date has passed, let's just get on with it, right? Wrong!

Given Liverpool's tendancy to sell players well below their face value, is it any surpise Real are haggling. After all, this is a club that took Michael Owen for £8m, when he was still regarded as one of Europe's elite.

It is believed that Los Galacticos are willing to pay in the region of £25m for the Spain international. The Anfield outfit, however, value Alonso at around the £35m mark, and rightly so.

In the current over-inflated transfer market, what kind of money would Benitez have to pay to replace Alonso? The simple answer is a lot.

The range of passing and game intelligence Alonso posseses, isn't in abundance in the game. Even if you found the player to fill his boots, there's no guarantee the player would be allowed to leave his current employer.

When you weigh it all up, it would make no sense for the Reds to let Xabi Alonso leave for anything less than £35m.

Javier Mascherano, however,  is a different story entirely. While it would be difficult to replace Alonso, it could be done. Could Mascherano be replaced. I think not.

The entire style of play at Anfield is built around the Argentine, who played the holding role in front of the back four, and a superb job he does too. In fact, I can't think of anybody that could do a better job.

We're talking about one of the worlds best midfielders here. This is a man that Captains Argentina. A man coveted by the European Champions, who aren't short of midfield talent themseves.

So why then, would you even consider selling this player?

Well, it seems in this age of player-power, sometimes your hand is forced. Sometimes players wives aren't happy. Sometimes you don't like the weather. Sometimes...well, I think you see where I'm going with this.

The stories ran in the tabloids again today. "Macherano's wife can't get Visa", "Javier not happy in England" and so on. So it appears this story is staying for a while.

All I would say here, is that if we do have to sell, I hope it's a ridiculous amount of money. The £30m or so that was being talked about just wouldn't cut it. No Liverpool fan in their right mind would entertain us selling Mascherano. The player is simply irreplaceable.

And if we don't sell, then surely a new contract would make some of this noise go away. I wouldn't begrudge a pay increase for him, he's certainly earned it.

This brings me briefly on to my last point. Ashley Young.

The rumours suggest that Liverpool are braced to make a £23m bid for the England wide man. Personally, I wouldn't complain if Hicks and Gillette sanctioned a £30m bid for Young.

This Villa star is exactly the kind of player that Liverpool should be going for. The fact that he's English, is an added bonus.

Ashley young has developed into the kind of player we all thought Ryan Babel was going to be. Fast, skillful, natural width, decent finish. He ticks all of the boxes.

Whether Mon would let him go or not is another story. Benitez does have a history with the Villa chief, as we all witnessed with the Gareth Barry saga last summer. It wouldn't be easy to say the least.

Whatever happens ragarding these three players over the next few weeks, we can still look forward to a serious title challenge this season. With the addition of Johnson and some attention to the small details, the title is within reach.

If the transfer dealings go our way, this will only serve to strengthen our chances. I for one, have my fingers crossed


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