23 Mar 2009

Arjen Robben coming to Anfield? Good player, but do we really want *another* diver at the club...?

Rumours are circulating in the Spanish press that Liverpool may make a summer approach for Real Madrid winger Arjen Robben.

With his skill, decent range of passing and ability to create something out of nothing, Robben - a natural winger - would be a very exciting signing for the club, and a cut above any wide player currently at Anfield.

Most importantly, he would bring some much needed pace to the team, something which, Fernando Torres aside, the team is sorely lacking. The positives I see with his signing would be:

1. Pace
2. Genuine match-winning creativity
3. Premiership experience with Chelsea

As good a signing as Robben would be though, I have major doubts, for the following reasons:

1. The Benitez effect: Rafa Benitez has a history of misusing/wasting the potential of creative players. Would Robben go the same way as Robbie Keane, i.e. benched and subbed all the time and never given the chance to settle? Also, would Robben be required to run 50 miles a game and spend 90% of his time defending, or would he be allowed to focus on attacking and being creative?

What the club *doesn't* need is another Dirk Kuyt type 'covers every blade of grass but only scores every 15 games' player. I wouldn't want to hear '...but he works so hard for the team' said about Robben, or any creative player for that matter, because it would mean that the player was failing in his primary role, i.e. being creative and scoring goals.

2. Persistent injury problems: Robben seems to be fairly injury free at the moment, however, since 2000, he's barely managed to start more than 20 league games a season for every club he's been with. Could be Harry Kewell all over again.

3. History of diving/play-acting: Over the last five years, Robben has developed a (deserved) reputation as someone who goes to ground very easily. I know lots of fans don't care about whether players dive, but I hate it, and such behaviour speaks volumes about a player's true character.

To be honest, I don't want any more divers or cheats at Anfield as it just sullies the reputation of the club. I mean, who can forget this disgraceful play-acting by Robben in one of the many recent Chelsea-Liverpool games:

And how about this: I know I seem to be in the minority when it comes to this issue, but I just couldn't stomach having another player at Anfield who dives. I don't care how good a player is; if he's a diver or a cheat of any kind it devalues his talent and damages the reputation and standing of the club. So, taking everything into consideration, I would ultimately be against the signing of Robben. Once a cheat, always a cheat.


  1. IMO The one thing that speaks against signing Robben is the injury factor. To me he's a better player than Keane & Kuyt, he's the kind of player that can take the game in his hand and make a difference.

    Brilliant blog, BTW. One of the few footie blogs that carry some good analysis. :)

  2. Hi Timkl - thanks for your post. I agree with you that Robben's a better player than Keane and Kuyt; he would add to Liverpool's 'matchwinning' contingent that currently consists of just two players: Gerrard and Torres.

    I still can't get past his demeanour and penchant for play-acting though. That's enough to rule a player out for me, though I know I'm probably in the minority on that particular issue.

    Thanks for the kind words about the site :-)

  3. Madrid would never sell their most in form player. I'd be happy to have a skilled injury-prone player like Robben for less than 20m and for that price there is no chance to signing him from Real. Can never see it happening this summer.

    One more thing Mr.Kanwar, this is the first time I went through your entire blog and astonished to find negative or anti-Rafa/Gerrard or in general anti-Liverpool attitude, wherever there is scope for in most of the articles. You need to get a perspective dude! I accept constructive criticism, but not this kind of blinkered biased views. Give the players and manager some credit when they deserve along with the warranted criticism.

    I know you would delete this, anyway. Just wanted to let you know, Or are you a manc or bluenose in disguise?

  4. So you'd be happy to have another cheat at Liverpool? Are you saying that it's okay to dive and play-act as long as the player is good?

    This seems to be the view of many LFC fans I come across, but for me, the reputation of the club comes first.

    What you perceive as 'anti-Liverpool' or 'anti-rafa/Gerrard' sentiment, I see as necessary criticism. And it always amuses me when people accuse me of bias - of course I'm biased! This is a site of PERSONAL OPINION. If you want non-bias, go and read the BBC sports section!

    Every football fansite is biased - why is that a problem. You talk about 'perspective' well, I think it's pretty clear that this site has a very specific voice and clearly identifiable perspective. Just because it doesn't fit with your view of what a Liverpool site should be doesn't make it wrong.

    Oh, and I only delete abusive comments that add nothing to the site.

    PS. You're about 10 years late with the 'Manc in disguise' accusation. It's a well-worn cliche now. Time for some new material I think...

  5. Arjen Robben is the ideal player Liverpool need. on our day we can match any team toe for toe with our present best 11, however it is well documented that we dont have strength and depth in the squad. bearing this in mind added to the fact that we lack pace in wide areas to break down the ”lesser” teams who tend to park the bus for 90 mins, Robben would be the ideal signing. he has pace skill and an eye for goal. i would like to see him and lennon come in the summer and maybe let yossi go. this would mean we have 2 players in each of the wide areas who all offer something different. (kuyt - work rate and striking instinct, lennon - bags of speed, robben - speed, skill, goal potency and riera - skill and crossing ability) also robben can play on both flanks or behind a striking pair which will appeal to raffa. im still not convinced babel has got the heart and desire to be a liverpool player although his tallent is evident. i would like to see him played as a back up striker to torres. im not convinced gareth barry is half the player that alonso is so i wouldnt be too happy to see him at the club. as far as the full backs are concerned aurelio and insua have impressed me enough to say that we dont need a new left back. arbeloa needs some competition so i would like to see an established right back come in. maybe johnson. finally we need 1 more striker. i hear alot of liverpool fans saying they would like to see david villa or sergio aguaro. i disagree because we cant afford these players. iv been looking in the premiership and the one that stands out to me in oba femi martins. great finisher with both feet, strong and quick and given newcastles troubles, he will be easy to get (great celebration by the way lol). so if we look at what iv suggested these are the estimates of how much we would need. Robben 15-18million, lennon - 15million, johnson - 12million and martins 15million thats 60 million. reports say that raffa will have 35 million to spend so where will the other 25 come from. well we can look at selling yossi, dosenna, el’zhar, degen, voronin. this will mean we will have 2 players in every position. this is the way forward. tell me what u think..

  6. just a hypathetical question for u Jaimie Kanwar. would you say no to christiano ronaldo given his diving tendencies ?????

    (good blog by the way)

  7. Manny - Yes, I would say no Ronaldo. I'm well aware that this sounds ridiculous, however, I would rather protect the reputation and standing of the club than become known as club full of cheats. In my experience, many fans just want trophies at any cost. They'd happily have a team full of cheats if it meant winning the league every year. Not me - I cannot support that kind of attitude. Divers and cheats are the bane of football, and winning something as a result of cheating - whether it's diving to win a penalty/free kick (from which a goal results); play-acting to get someone sent off (thus giving your team ad advantage), pulling shirts etc - is no victory at all.

  8. true but i think rafa would address this with any player of that nature. i dont think it would go unpunnished. my point is that players like robben are rare in todays game and given he is still young (think he is 24 or 24. bout same age as torres) he would be a big asset. i kno some fans are ficcle and today they will be against divers but tomorrow would open them with open arms to thier club. i generally agree with you but i trust raffa benitez in that he would not allow this. i just think its a nieve way of looking at things. so what do u think of lennon and my other suggestions for the summer

  9. Manny - I think Lennon would be a decent option for the right price. He has pace and is better than the likes of Dirk Kuyt. However, I'm just worried that he would be choked of his creativity and made to defend for 90% of the game, just like Dirk Kuyt. This would not suit him, then he's quickly fall foul of Benitez and end up on the bench all the time like Jermain Pennant.

    Glen Johnson - again, not a bad option. Same goes for Martins. The good thing about all three players is their pace, something that is sorely lacking in the team right now.

    I have to disagree with your prices though - way too much for these players. I wouldn't pay anymore than the following:

    Lennon - £8-£10m
    Martins - $8-£10m
    Johnson - £7-£9m

  10. Ronaldo and Robben are divers with poor attitudes, and they're relatively selfish. Liverpool can do better.

  11. jamie just me again... just wondered if u had seen the roumers about raffa making a summer bid for eto.... i think there is alot of substance to this cos i kno rafa has long admired the camaroon international. what do u think. personally i would love to see him in the red jeraey. would he work with torres???? who knows but i would love to find out. one thing i do kno is i would be confident in at least 1 of hem scoring in every game we play.

  12. Hey Manny - I've seen the rmours about Eto, and I agree he would he a greatv player to have. However, where would he fit in? I don't see how you can play Torres and Eto in the same team in a 442, especially since it is obvious that Gerrard's best position at the moment is playing just behind Torres.

    Rafa made a mistake buying Keane because he changed a winning formula. If he signs Eto, it will be the same old story. I'd hate to Eto treated like Keane and dropped/benched all the time or played out of position on the wing.

    Eto is a top class striker - if you're going to buy him he has to play as often as possible in his favoured position, not shifted around all over the place.

    After the Keane fiasco, can we trust Rafa to use him in the right way? I don't think so. What do you think?

  13. robbern is superb, nothink like kuyt, who i think should be sold. he is better than lennon,and anyone we have in the prem. he should sign himright away.as for eto no watched him v chelsea and he was crap. and agaist us he was poor too. i would rather have owen for free, as back up to torres.

  14. 1. Robbie Keane is not a creative player.
    2. Totally agree.
    3. Who are you referring to when you say "I don't want any more divers or cheats at Anfield"? Agree about Robben.

  15. what do u mean another diver at anfield?
    Who plays for liverpool that dives?

  16. I gotta say guys I"m a little disappointed. If you guys haven't noticed Dirk Kuyt's goalsthis season, and I mean all of them. have either won us a game or equalized. a game. not a single 3rd goal in a 4 nil rout. not one. all important. Yossi Benayoun too. This is proof of match winners in the side.

    I want Robben myself. I want him because he would add a third player to our ranks who is unplayable. Dirk, Yossi, Riera, Babel(Who I still beleive can be the genuine article) can't claim that. Alot of the time there is nothing anyone can do about Robben's pace and skill. that's what we need to add to our side this summer to turn a few of those draws into wins.

    We are already the hardest team to beat in the prem(2 losses) but we are also tied for the easiest team to match(11 draws). We need Rafa to shop in the top market again and get it right ala Torres, Mascherano, and not Keane.