5 Aug 2009

Great – Rafa Benitez is about to waste another £20m of Liverpool FC’s money

Of all the players in all the world, why does Rafa Benitez seem intent on gambling a reputed £20m of the club's money on an injury prone midfielder who has barely managed 27 league starts in the last 3 years?

Liverpool released an official statement today earlier today confirming the club’s interest in Alberto Aquilani, and Rafa Benitez was very complimentary indeed:

“Alberto is a very good player who has a winning mentality and great experience... He has long been recognised as a top class talent in Italy, captaining his country at both under 19 and under 21 levels before establishing himself in the senior national side."

Despite Benitez’s (exaggerated) claims, I really do not get the logic behind this purchase. When Xabi Alonso’s move to Real Madrid was confirmed, Benitez revealed that he would try and find the “best replacement” available and do the “best deal for the club".

Considering Aquilani’s horrendous injury record and intermittent appearance record, how is he the “best replacement” for Alonso?

Aquilani’s recent injury record

* 4 Oct 2007 – 1 Jan 2008: Calf injury
* 24 Oct 2008 – 21 Nov 2008: Thigh injury
* 28 Nov 2008 – 2 Jan 2009: Thigh injury
* 13 Feb 2009 – 10 Mar 2009: Ankle
* 12 Mar 2009 – Present: Ankle (recent surgery)

Add up the months spent on the sidelines! These are just recent injury figures and do not include injuries from earlier in his career.

Appearance stats

* Last 3 years: Started 27 league games out of a possible 114 (23% of games)
* Last 5 years: Started 61 league games out of a possible 190 (32% of games)

With the above figures in mind, how can Aquilani be considered “the best deal for the club”?! It’s utterly ludicrous that Benitez is even considering replacing someone as important as Alonso with a player with this kind of injury/appearance record.

To make matters worse, Aquilani is injured *at this very moment*, which means the chances of him being properly fit for the first stage of the season are practically nil, which will decrease the overall strength of the squad.

And let’s get real here – Aquilani’s ongoing injury curse is not just going to magically disappear just because he moves from Italy to England, is it?! Indeed, the Premiership is far more physical than Serie A, so the probability of him getting injured again at some point has to be very high.

With the lack of a proper pre-season and recovering from his latest injury, it’s going to be at least a season before Aquilani adapts to the Premiership and starts to play at a decent level, all of which begs the question, what's the point in signing him in the first place?

We’ve been here before of course; Benitez displayed his acute injury blindness last year with the signing of Philip Degen, who has since pocketed hundreds of thousands of pounds sitting on the sidelines.

Degen only played 10 games for Borussia Dortmund in the 2007-08 season, but Benitez ignored this, just like he is seemingly ignoring Aquilani’s infinitely worse record. Degen was (thankfully) a free transfer but Aquilani will cost a significant amount of money.

I do not doubt that Aquilani is a decent player, but Liverpool need someone to come in and do the job NOW, not in three months. The club should be looking for a reliable player who can *consistently* contribute, not someone who, in all probability, will spend more time on the treatment table than on the pitch.

It really is beyond belief that of all the players Liverpool could sign, Aquilani is the best Benitez can come up with. Even if he passes the medical, the probability that he will get injured again is extremely high.

Roma is the only club getting the 'best deal' here; I imagine its Board members are rubbing their hands together right about now, gleefully toasting their good fortune.

Let's just hope that Liverpool don't suffer the consequences of what could turn out to be a very expensive mistake.


  1. I have to admit it doesn't sound great put like that and he sounds like another smicer, great international, good on the ball, scores goals. The only thing i'm clinging too is if you look at those dates they are all the same injury straight after coming back so it sounds like roma have rushed him back too early.

  2. I hope you're right about the injuries.  I'm more concerned with the fact that our squad is going to weakened for the first couple of months of the season: No Alonso; Aquilano out until October.  By then, the title could already be gone.  A good start is essential in the premiership and at the moment, our squad is weaker than it was last season.

  3. Jamie Myth Debunked - No1 A Good Start is Essential
    Erm Jamie,,a good start is useful but not essential,,we had a good start last season and came second,,the team which won the league (I can't even bring myself to say their name) did not have the best start, yet still won it..

  4. Jamie since you fail to respond about my comparison of Aquilani with Danny Agger I shall enlighten you.
    Since joining in Jan 06 Agger has only made 77 appearences, now that only equates to 19.25 appearences per season in all competitions.

    <span style="font-family: Arial; line-height: 16px;">Aggers first year at Liverpool was hampered with injuries which limited him, to only 4 appearances.</span> 

    <span style="font-family: Arial; line-height: 16px;">The following season in September Agger suffered a Metatarsal injury and lost his place to Sami Hyppia. In a rush to get back to full-fitness, he then suffered an injury to his 2nd metatarsal. He therefore had to sit out the remaining of the 2007-08 season.</span>

    <span style="font-family: Arial; line-height: 16px;">Agger found first team games hard to come by at the start of the 08/09 season with Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel being the preferred partnership for the heart of the defence. The Dane managed just two starts in the opening ten games neither of which were in the Premiership.</span>
    <span style="font-family: Arial; line-height: 16px;">Although after a horrific injury to Skrtel, Agger was given another chance to re-establish himself in Liverpool's side. It didn't start too well with a shaky start against Wigan but it started a run of 10 starts in 11 games for the Reds. Once Skrtel was fit again though he was back in the side leaving Agger to wait on the bench but he still managed a few appearances in the final months of the season.</span>

  5. <p style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px;">Now the point I am trying to make is why are you not being critical of the Agger signing also, did you produce any articles about his appearence stats? No, and the reason is probably because we had decent cover so it did not have such a negative effect, in other words he wasn't missed once Skrtal arrived. There are definate simalarities in the circumstances surrounding both players signing, as both were injured when we signed them, Aggers appearence stats would also lead one to summise he is injury prone, however one thing your stats do not take into account is if the player is fit but just not the preferred choice of the manager.
    <p style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px;">You have to remember we are constantly unable to compete in the transfer market as our funds have to stretch to buying more than one player, in addition to this players have to want to come to LFC and if they don't, no amount of money will do any good. What are your alternatives, we have lost 2 first team players so they need to be replaced before we even start to strengthen the squad. You say we need a player Now,,well like who?? Lucas (not my favourite player either)must be given a chance otherwise your next article will be what a waste of money he was...All I am trying to say is don't write players off just because you either don't like them or they have not yet be given a chance. Lets wait until further into the season before we decide what impact Aquilani has,,after all how can he be judged before the season even starts?

  6. I suppose Torres' injuries last season make him a waste of money too?

  7. You can get your point across without resorting to petty insults. There's no need for talking to a fellow RED like that.

  8. all talking bull realistically rafa brought a injured player absolutely poor scouting poor judgement ridiculous buisness shit manager salute roy hodson how can you justify 20 million for aqulani joke