Meireles Out, Bellamy Returns, Coates In: Grading Liverpool's Transfer Moves
Another deadline day has come and gone, and with Liverpool off to a strong start this season thanks to some well-executed summer transfers (and also Luis Suárez), many eyes were on the Red Men during the transfer window to see if they could make any more decisive moves.
Today was an overall good one for Liverpool: they shed some liabilities, acquired a promising young defender and welcomed back an old friend. But they did lose Raul Meireles and failed to win over Yossi Benayoun. Here's an assessment of the Reds' deadline day decisions.
Sending Joe Cole and Christian Poulsen off to Ligue 1
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Reds fans, your long disappointing nightmare is over.
When Roy Hodgson signed Joe Cole from Chelsea last summer, he was a much-lauded attacking midfielder framed as being the Reds' great new hope. After a promising performance in early Europa League play though, Cole's wildly inconsistent performance led Liverpool fans to declare him an expensive flop. Now Cole is off to try his luck on loan at Lille, and with a series of strong recent additions to the midfield (Henderson, Downing, Adam), it's safe to say upgrades have been made. It's a win-win.
A similar story unfolds with another Hodgson signing, Christian Poulsen. The Danish transfer from Juventus looked at first like a good fit for the Reds at first, but after Roy's departure, Poulsen began to falter, and upon Kenny Dalglish's arrival, he was moved further and further down the lineup in favor of Jay Spearing and later Charlie Adam. Poulsen will go to recently-promoted Évian, where he will likely have a much stronger presence and more opportunities to play first-team.
David N'Gog N'Goes to Bolton Wanderers
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First of all, apologies for the terrible pun.
The striker's move to Bolton will ultimately benefit both parties—Liverpool is able to make room for new talent and N'Gog will have far better prospects for first-team play at Bolton.
Fears that N'Gog's departure would leave Liverpool without a valid backup striker that could replace Suárez or Carroll if needed arose, but the signing of veteran Craig Bellamy (we're getting to that, don't worry) will help solve that problem.
Still, there's a little nagging voice that wonders what could have been had N'Gog chosen to stay based on a few clutch performances—he's no Suárez, but he still could have made some waves as a backup.
Signing on Sebastián Coates
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Without a doubt, the Reds' most exciting acquisition has been that of 20-year-old Uruguayan wünderkind Sebastián Coates from Nacional Montevideo.
Lured to Anfield in part by fellow Uruguayan national team member Luis Suárez, Coates shows great enthusiasm at the prospect of joining the squad and great promise (in his home country, they call him 'Little Lugano'), becoming the subject of international buzz after his Copa America performance.
With experience and persistence, Coates could potentially become the ideal centre-back to replace a fading Jamie Carragher.
Rejecting Chelsea's Benayoun / Meireles Swap
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Alright. This is kind of a moot point now, but for the sake of argument, let's look at this within the context of when it happened.
Now that Yossi Benayoun has signed with Arsenal and Raul Meireles is off to Chelsea anyway, this might have even been the better deal. Benayoun was a player worth pursuing, but given Meireles' popularity at Anfield and a few hints at greatness to come so far this season, keeping him appeared to be in the Reds' best interest.
I've got to commend Kenny Dalglish for not merely settling on this one, even if Meireles ultimately parted ways. The age-old excuse rings true here: 'It seemed like a good idea at the time.'
Craig Bellamy Returns to Anfield
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Firebrand 32-year-old striker Craig Bellamy returns to Anfield in one of deadline day's last-minute deals following a falling-out with Manchester City. With Bellamy looking for more opportunities to play following his lack of time on the pitch at City and Liverpool looking for a backup striker to replace David N'Gog, the move seemed almost serendipitous.
Bellamy has proved to be an offensive powerhouse in the past, and a competent goal-scorer, which will make him a great addition to the Reds' offense. His stints at Cardiff City and as captain of the Welsh national team are also proof that he possesses the ability to be a leader amid a bunch of young acquisitions.
Bellamy's return is not without its concerns, however. His past aggressive behavior has gotten him into trouble on and off the pitch, leaving some fans worried about what his reputation will mean for the team. Also, given his past reluctance to take a pay cut while at City, Bellamy could prove to be an expensive investment, and only time will tell if it pays off.
Meireles Does Actually End Up Going to Chelsea
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What a difference (less than a) day makes.
In the end, after one rejected proposal, Raul Meireles left for Stamford Bridge, and Liverpool received £12 million and no Benayoun. Meireles may not have been the best or the brightest, but he had quite a solid season last year and was a fan favorite. A bit of a sour ending to an otherwise sweet transfer day for Liverpool.
What would have made this deal worth it is if Chelsea offered the Reds Daniel Sturridge, as was speculated at various points throughout deadline day.
Although Liverpool has a pair of competent strikers in Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll, Kenny has been looking for an ideal third striker and Sturridge's energy, versatility as a winger and recent scoring prowess would make him a potentially suitable replacement for Meireles. That didn't happen, sadly, but with the rest of the midfield looking reasonably strong and £12 million for Kenny to find a striker, a replacement can't be far off.