It has been a week since Liverpool Football Club announced that Roy Hodgson was to replace the departed Rafael Benitez as their new manager.
In the week that has passed the transfer rumour mill has been abound with such and such player coming to Anfield. Although most of what has been reported is simply speculation at best, where there is smoke there is always a fire, no matter how small.
However, the players being linked to Liverpool are shocking in their mediocrity.
Surely a club of such history, tradition and stature in the domestic, European and world game has not fallen so far from grace that top drawer players no longer consider it as a team they would wish to play for?
Or is it a reflection of the transfer kitty that has been handed to Hodgson, that the players linked to the club are so middle tiered or ‘has beens’?
Or is it, more frighteningly, the calibre of player that the manager himself feels is what he needs to bring Liverpool back into Champions League football and title contention?
The size of the purse that Hodgson has been handed ranges from £5m to £15m, with the later being the more likely figure.
Any other spending that the new Liverpool manager plans to do must be funded from the sales of players from the current squad.
With the imminent departures of Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina for around £4m, the total cash available will end up around the £20m mark.
Throw in the likely departures (among others) of Ryan Babel (£9m), Alberto Riera (£6m) and Philipp Degen (£5m), and the resources for squad strengthening rises by a further £20m, to a fairly healthy £40m.
With Javier Mascherano making all the wrong noises about his future in a red shirt, his possible transfer could net a further £25m.
This would leave Hodgson with potentially £65m to spend this summer on purchasing quality players to make Liverpool competitive in the League again.
Most managers in the Premier League would give their right arm for such a formidable war chest.
So, armed with a substantial amount of money to spend, you would expect Hodgson to be making advances on some of the top names in football. Even if there are no definite names coming out of the corridors of Anfield, you would expect that the rumors of the possible new faces at Anfield to be some of the cream of the crop.
Well Liverpool fans, they are not, and far from it.
The only rumoured high profile players to be linked with a move to Merseyside are Joe Cole (who is also rumoured to reject Liverpool anyway), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid) and Bryan Ruiz (FC Twente).
Other prominent names being thrown around are Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Royston Drenthe (Real Madrid) and Reto Ziegler (Sampdoria).
However, it is scary to see the list of other players that have been rumoured to be on Hodgson’s radar: Paul Scharner (free agent, previously Wigan Athletic), Mayanor Figueroa (Wigan Athletic), Damien Duff, Danny Murphy, Brede Hangeland (all of Fulham), Steven Taylor (Newcastle United), Julio Baptista (Roma), Yasuito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Gervinho (Lille) and Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos).
Are these the calibre of players that Hodgson thinks will bring Liverpool back to the pinnacle to English and European football?
Roy Hodgson may well have a reputation of being able to get better than expected performances out of average players, but if he has the ability to buy players that are more than average and get even better performances out of them, then why not?
Liverpool fans are waiting with baited breath to see what signings their new manager will make.
The other teams in the Premier League will also be keenly monitoring Hodgson’s dealing in the transfer market. For this will surely be a signal of the ambition and intent of Liverpool, and at what level they see themselves competing.
Please Mr. Hodgson; this is not Blackburn Rovers or Fulham. Remember this is Liverpool Football Club.
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