With Liverpool's estranged midfielder Yossi Benayoun giving out a come-and-take-me-away plea to Chelsea with his self proclamations about how his move to Chelsea is nearing final stages, it seems that Liverpool's lack of Champions League football has already taken its first casualty.
Contract talks have stalled with the Reds' highly-rated midfielder Mascherano who has expressed his desire to join Barca. Benayoun has, in recent weeks, been very vocal about Chelsea's interests in him. He appears adamant to wear the Blues jersey come next season.
Chelsea on their part have not yet given any statement or dropped any hints regarding their intentions. The "Double" winning Blues' have also in recent weeks been linked with a number of highly-rated youngsters.
The highly-rated and in-demand Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javier Martinez, and French side Rennes' impressive Sylvain Marveaux are two such players in whom Chelsea are rumoured to have interests.
Speculations are being made that Chelsea are planning a £6m Anfield raid for signing the Israeli international Yossi Benayoun. The Israel national team captain also seems ready for a move away from the Reds.
But will signing the ageing Benayoun be better than signing the young Martinez or Marveaux?
Benayoun is already 30 years old and he is getting older with each passing day. On the other hand, Marveaux (24-year-old) and the talented Martinez (21 years) are comparatively a lot young and better bets for Chelsea in the long run, as the West London outfit looks to revamp their ageing squad.
With UEFA sanctions coming to effect from 2012, the Blues' are planning to become self-sufficient to avoid any UEFA regulations. So signing any of these youngsters means a step forward for Chelsea towards their goals. The additions of these youngsters means Chelsea will not need new signings in the next couple of seasons which will allow them greater financial flexibility.
Also with FA rules coming into effect from next season, making compulsory young players, signing an older player like Benayoun does not seem a good move.
Athletic Bilbao's £10million-rated midfielder Javi Martinez has been a consistent performer for the past four seasons, and his exploits have earned him a host of admirers among Europe's football elite.
His immense strength combined with his quick pace makes him a great future prospect. Moreover, the 6'3" Spanish midfielder is only 21 years old and has ample scope for improvement. Hence, he can be developed to replace Lampard in Chelsea's midfield eventually.
On the other hand, Rennes' £8m rated midfielder Sylvain Marveaux has been a revelation this season. The young French left-midfielder has lots of creativity, and he gives speed to the game with an imaginative left foot. He has been a key-figure for the French Ligue 1 side and has huge potential. Proper nurturing and training could turn him into a midfield sensation.
Yossi Benayoun is no doubt an established player who has proved his talents and skills for the Reds' impressing one and all with his outstanding and classy display. But he is already 30 years old, and his addition to Chelsea's already ageing squad will not be a good move.
Moreover, although a consistent performer he has been injured frequently and that has hampered his performance. Yossi is a player past his prime and spending £6 million on him would only add to Chelsea's losses in the long-term since after 2-3 years he will have to be let go off free.
So instead of bringing in an ageing £6 million player who is past his prime, it seems better to sign a slightly expensive younger midfielder with an eye to the future. A player like Martinez or Marveaux will help Chelsea in the long-term and that should be the Blues' priority.