Pipita May Be Too Much a Risk For Liverpool To Take
Latest rumour from Spain (which you normally can't trust, but anyway, this is interesting stuff) states that Fiorentina Perez is preparing to offload up to nine senior players of Real Madrid in an attempt to recoup some of the money spent last summer, as well as generating funds for new players for his Galacticos 2 project, which includes French ace Franck Ribery.
Of the players rumoured with an exit this summer, club skipper Raul Gonzalez is among them. Despite being a fan favourite, fans may not be upset about his departure considering having the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo in their arsenal up front.
Former Liverpool goalie Jerzy Dudek is also set to see out his contract and leave in the summer.
Apart from the duo, The Daily Mail has suggested that Argentine international Gonzalo Higuain has snubbed a contract extension at the Bernabeu, and Liverpool's manager Rafa Benitez is said to be a big fan and is monitoring the 22-year-old forward's situation.
Despite being arguably Real Madrid's best performer this term, Higuain could still lose his place in the starting eleven next season, due to Perez's wild ambition to bring in Franck Ribery and at least another star in the striking department.
With 22 league goals this season thus far in his pocket already, Higuain will definitely not come cheap should Rafa Benitez steps up his effort to sign the forward. The Merseyside outfit will definitely face stiff competition from other European top sides and so, Real Madrid can easily make a handsome profit from the player they signed for €13 million three years back.
I'm a huge fan of Pipita myself, but as much as I like him at Liverpool, I don't think the move is likely.
Firstly because, Higuain has established himself as one of the finest strikers in Europe. Despite the fact that he is not as expensively rated as team-mate Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, he has been playing better than the former one and as good as the latter one, who cost Real Madrid five times the amount they paid for Higuain.
Higuain has previously reiterated his desire to stay at the Spanish capital despite rumours linking him with a move away. And I don't see any reason for Perez to cash in on the Argentine, and adding cash to buy someone who may be more of a star, but may not guarantee the goals Higuain has brought to the club.
Not to mention that Higuain has quickly become a Madristas' favourite, especially after making over 100 appearances for the club, scoring consistently in the process.
Well, let's just say that Perez is indeed thinking about bigger names a la Wayne Rooney and Franck Ribery for his dream Galacticos starting line-up, and assuming that Higuain fancies a move to Merseyside, can Liverpool afford to buy him?
Rafa Benitez has been told by the two co-owners that he will have around £25 million to spend in the summer, and adding the money from Andrea Dossena and Andriy Voronin's sales in January, as well as Albert Riera's more than likely departure sooner rather than later, Rafa should be able to accumulate about £40 million to spend.
Should Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun move on in the summer as well, that will also bring in more budget.
But then again, the two wise men that promised Rafa his transfer kitty for this summer are also the two men who promised Liverpool fans a new stadium more than three years back, and now, not even a single brick has been laid at Stanley Park.
With the money available, shouldn't Rafa look for direct replacements of the departing players first? From the likely departures mentioned above, Riera, Benayoun, and Babel are all flankers. And definitely Rafa needs to sign at least two wingers (one starting eleven, and one cover) to compensate those losses.
And as I've reiterated the urgency for Liverpool to sign a world-class winger since 2008, I don't think Rafa has any more time to waste on gambling on cheaper unproven (could be great) wingers, or average wingers.
David Silva is unlikely, but Liverpool should at least sign someone of Juan Mata's calibre, or a proven Premiership winger such as Aaron Lennon, who obviously won't come cheap as well.
Considering that Liverpool still have cash to splash after securing the missing pieces (flank players) of the team, should Rafa go for Higuain?
I hope so, but it's still unlikely, and also a selfish act.
The odds of Rafa abandoning the use of Fernando Torres as a lone striker are as low as Samoa making the World Cup finals, there is no way Rafa Benitez will want to disrupt the effectiveness of Fernando Torres up front alone, with Steven Gerrard roaming just behind him.
So where is Higuain going to play? Bench? Maybe.
Fans could go on arguing that Liverpool need a reliable cover for Torres in case the Spaniard gets injured, as he often does. But if it was two years back, I'd say that yes, Pipita would be a reliable cover; but on current form, don't you think that Higuain is more than just a cover? He is already a striker good enough to be a starter for any side in the world!
Besides, Liverpool have already agreed terms with Milan Jovanovic (pic left) to sign the Serbian striker (turning 29 in three weeks) on a free transfer in the summer. And Rafa doesn't look like he is anywhere near giving up on young ace David N'gog. That gives Rafa three options for the lone striking role.
We can't be selfish, signing Higuain, and limiting his appearances, can we? The lad has a long way to go in my opinion, I see the next 'Batistuta' coming from the clinical striker, and it won't be possible if his appearances are limited.
Oh wait a minute, Higuain can play on either flanks too can't he? Yes, he can, although he is best up front scoring goals.
His work rate is something Rafa would admire, I've seen him on the right flank, but never on the left. I'm not sure he can operate on the left though, but his style of play when played on the right flank is something that suits Rafa's tactics.
Based on the paragraph above, I believe fans are already thinking of a familiar name. Dirk Kuyt.
One of Rafa's favorite soldiers, I don't see him making way, unless Rafa has the money for a bigger squad overhaul.
Higuain is arguably a better player than Kuyt, but again, the same issue is that Liverpool have limited money and so Rafa has to be careful in deciding which area to improve on. And since Kuyt is doing a decent job (if not good) in the team, Rafa will probably look at other areas to improve on (such as the depleting left-back department who will probably see Fabio Aurelio exit on a free this summer, which leaves Emiliano Insua the only senior left-back in the team).
But then again, you never know what the master tactician is thinking. Dirk Kuyt is hitting his 30s anyway, perhaps Rafa sees a long-term Kuyt-like figure in Higuain and decides to spend on him, you never know really.
Gonzalo Higuain moving to Liverpool would be a dream come true to me personally, but it's unlikely and unrealistic, unless Rafa makes tactical changes in Liverpool's starting line-up, and more importantly, if Liverpool have extra cash to spend. My rough estimation of money needed to sign the Argentine would be around £20 million.
Perhaps (I'm not sure) that Real Madrid still owe us money from the signing of Xabi Alonso. If so, that puts the Reds in pole position to sign Higuain for sure.
Original article in Four Five One.
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