Rafa's Boys: How Successful Was Benitez in the Transfer Market?

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Rafa's Boys: How Successful Was Benitez in the Transfer Market?
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Rafa Benitez (centre) with his star players: (L-R) Local lads Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard, along with his fellow Spaniards Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina

Part 1: 2004-2007

It is just over six months since Rafa Benitez was dismissed from Liverpool Football Club. In that time, both he and his Anfield successor, Roy Hodgson, have gone on to lose their new jobs. Hodgson had a poor start to his debut season in front of the Kop, whilst Benitez struggled to live up to the expectations left by Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.

While Benitez was the manager of Liverpool, he enjoyed a good relationship with the fans, especially during the long, drawn-out war against previous owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett. In his first season at Liverpool, Benitez led his side to European glory in the now infamous Champions League final against A.C. Milan in Istanbul.

Most of the team on the pitch that night were brought to Liverpool by Benitez' predecessor, Gerard Houllier, but over his next few years at the club, Benitez made the side his own, bringing in Spaniards from his homeland, a languishing home-grown Brit, and a fair few promising youngsters.

At times, Benitez received substantial financial backing in the transfer market. Upon arrival on Merseyside, Benitez spent over £25 million bringing players into the squad, but was forced to give up one of Anfield's most prized assets, Michael Owen, who forced through an £8.5 million transfer to Real Madrid after threatening to let his contract run down.

In the final summer of his Liverpool reign, Rafa was forced to sell players in order to buy, the owners going back on the promises they had made to back Benitez in the transfer market. That summer, Benitez spent £36 million, whilst also freeing up the same amount from player sales.

This slideshow article brings you a comprehensive list of all Benitez' signings from when he joined the club in June 2004, up until the end of the 2006/07 season, following the Champions League Final defeat at the hands of A.C. Milan in Athens. The article looks at how successful they were for Benitez and Liverpool. Each player has been given a rating out of 10 in relation to how much benefit they were to the club, through performances and through value.

The second part of this article will be published in the near future, detailing Benitez' signings from summer 2007 until his departure in summer 2010, including the successful capture of Fernando Torres, and the not-so-successful capture of Robbie Keane.


- This is my first article for Bleacher Report, please feel free to leave comments below - 

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