6 May 2013

Transfer tragedy: Redknapp hails £23m 'genius' who rejected LFC. Big loss...?

In 2011, Juan Mata's Agent confirmed that the rumours linking Liverpool with a move for the winger were true, and admitted that the Spanish attacker would be 'interested to hear from Liverpool'. The Reds missed out on the deal, and Mata went to Chelsea instead, where he's developed into one of the Premier League's top players. Jamie Redknapp is a big fan of Mata, and after Chelsea's 1-0 win over Man United yesterday, the former Liverpool midfielder heaped praise on the 25-year old maestro.

Analysing the game for Sky Sports, Redknapp described Mata - who cost Chelsea £23m - as 'different class', adding:

"I think he is an absolute football genius - he has the best first touch in the Premier League.

"He has played 60 games this year - played in the Olympics, the European Championships - you hear about players being tired but he just keeps on going on and on.

"Everything he does is just quality; he has such a great appreciation where people are on the pitch - just a lovely footballer."

Reds fans often argue that quality players will not come to Anfield due to a lack of Champions League football, but prior to his move to Chelsea, Mata's Agent refuted this claim. He said:

"While they are not playing in Europe next season, that would not be a hindrance, because Liverpool is a club with a big tradition".

I'm sure many other players out there feel the same way. Luis Suarez began talks with Liverpool when Roy Hodgson was in charge, right after the Hicks/Gillett/Purslow High Court debacle, something else you'd expect to deter top players.

Liverpool's failure to land Mata meant that the Reds went for Stewart Downing, who went on to have a terrible first season at Anfield, weighing in with no goals/assists in the league.

Downing is playing much better these days, but I'm pretty sure most Reds fans would rather have Mata, who was nominated for 'Player of the Year' this season.

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  1. I think the big loss isn't failing to get Mata when we bought Downing (which is obviously a huge pain in the arse) but that Hicks and Gillett didn't back Rafa when he wanted to get him, years before.
    Hopefully, sooner or later, we'll manage to buy better. Coutinho is a good start. The jury is still out on Sturridge for me (definitely a good player, but a Champions League player? I don't like the idea of sinking £12mil into a player only to have to replace him when you make the step up).

  2. Matt would never have joined you anyway, he was good enough to join top 2,3,4 in all the big leagues.

    It's only a hypothetical loss, a bit like Tottenham not signing Thierry Henry.

  3. You have to question our scouting since Rafa left, it's been atrocious. We've been taken to the cleaners many times, this summer's transfer is make or break for Rogers!

  4. I disagree about Sturridge. 11 goals/assists in 14 games coming off the back of an injury and low on confidence? I think he is only going to improve being 23. Obviously there are some areas of his game that need to improve but he has shown he has quality and fits very well into our system.

    IMO he will turn out to be a rather shrewd piece of business as will Coutinho.

  5. Plenty of players we almost signed but didn't. Imagine Liverpool with Gomez instead of Carroll, Mata instead of Downing, Alves instead of Enrique ... it sounds amazing but it would have been Kenny's team. Wonder where we would have been in that scenario.

  6. People are clearly frustrated with Sturridge at times when he makes the decision to blast wildly at goal rather than play someone in, but watching him against Everton was otherwise a revelation. He quite clearly has the skill and the talent, and while his decisions can seem bad in retrospect, he'll continue to learn how to fit in the team and every now and then one of those shots will hit the back of the net. I thought what he produced on the weekend was a real sign of a player who keeps getting better, has a nose for goal, has all the skills and tricks you could ask for and pace to boot. I think he worries defenders and opens up holes, he gets behind the line really well and it's ultimately just going to be about timing between himself and the guys looking for that killer pass. I thought that chance where he tried to get round Howard he could have just flicked it first touch towards goal. I wonder if he didn't because he still doesn't quite have the confidence to think that's the right option. So while he clearly has more improving to do, I would hope that improvement is pretty likely to happen over the next couple of season and we'll end up with a top class striker. I don't see him fading away into nothing. He shows real determination and energy on the pitch and his attitude now seems to be of a player absolutely set on being a success, not another "almost but not quite".

  7. Hang on, hang on. We got Downing in stead and he has improved compared to his 0 goals, 0 assists season last year so the joke's on them!

  8. This was a disgraceful decision as we went for Downing instead of Mata who was interested in coming to Liverpool!
    Yep... Another great decision from us as the Carroll for 35m and allowing Ince to leave for peanuts!

  9. Maybe we could have signed Mata sooner but regardless of that, buying Downing for 20 million when Chelsea buy Mata for 16 million is a stupid decision of epic proportions. Not only is Mata twice the player Downing is, he is also seven years younger so the fee lasts a lot longer. Who in their right mind buys a player who has always been average based on one decent season in a mid table team for more money than one of the brightest young talents who is a regular for the world champions? And for more money too! Who in their right mind would do that?

  10. I second that, give the boy a chance. The question you have to ask is be capable of 20 goals per season answer is yes!

  11. This seems to be the same old story for LFC. Missed out on Ronaldo as Parry/Moores did not think a youngster was worth the wages he was asking.. went to UTD a few years later for double the amount we could have bought him for and then on to Real Madrid for £80mil... Alves - could have had him for £12m? But again the board balked at the asking price.. he was sold to Barca a short time later for closer to £30m if my memory serves me right.. Mata is the latest loss who I am sure will go on to have a great career and if Chelsea ever did need to sell I am sure he would go for a decent price..

    Hopefully our new committee approach will go some way to fix our inadequacies in the transfer market. Coutinho looks like promising evidence of this along with our walking away from re-signing Tom Ince after Blackpool held out for a ridiculous amount. Hopefully we will begin to see some sensible deals being done over the summer. I don't think anybody minds taking a gamble on a player when they are around the £10m mark but Carroll, Henderson and Downing have all suffered from the weight of their over inflated costs (except for Downing who I think actually believes he is worth the money...).
    Hopes for the Summer? Carroll reimntegrated into the squad and given a decent chance to prove himself, Henderson to continue his already impressive development and cement his place in the team and Downing to be replaced with somebody who wants to play attacking football rather than someone who believes their own hype when they clearly are not good enough!

  12. Couldn't agree with you more. People seem to be of the belief that he has a bad attitude I fail to see that. IMO he seems hungry for success and wants to prove himself.

    I think he will only improve as a player as the years go and we are lucky to have him. Could well turn out to be a top top class striker in the years to come. He has the pace skill and determination to succeed and he is only still young. Bright things.

  13. if Ifs and Buts were pots and pans i'd be a tinker

  14. mata could have come to liverpool and been s*it ....unlikely but it happens....by and large hes surrounded with a better squad of players at chelsea and i dont remember it being as straight forward as just picking downing over mata as chelsea where interested in him anyway so the reality is that he would have gone to chelsea anyway

  15. Nothing against Sturridge. I'm not too concerned by this 'bad attitude' stuff, since there seems to be no concrete evidence for it,
    He has raw talent and if he can refine his game, he can be a hell of a player. How many times though have we seen raw talent lead to little or nothing?
    Some players are just always lacking in certain regards. I suppose, personally speaking, I have less faith in an instinctive player (which is how I see Sturridge) to have the cerebral qualities necessary to evaluate his game and take the critical approach necessary to evolve.
    In my experience, the kind of quicksilver player Sturridge is often is just lacking in the decision making department.
    I'm much more pleased than I am displeased with him so far (and why wouldn't I be? He has been largely excellent) but I just think people are jumping the gun on calling him a success (true too of Coutinho, who has been even better).

  16. But we got the master Stewie Downing. The 2 goals and 2 assists a season man.

  17. Actually really good points. I more or less agree with you in the fact that people are very quick to say he is a success etc etc whilst I'd definitely like to wait and see. I do however, currently, have every faith he will live up to my expectations of him and grow into a quality player for us but heck I've been disappointed in the past.

  18. Good question! We have played some excellent football this season but have had no consistency. 6 nil against Newcastle and then a goalless draw against Everton??? The style of play is great but lacking the ability to finish, pair that with lapses in our defence and you have a team losing or drawing games they should be winning by a good margin.
    I'd be interested by people thoughts on whether mentality, complacency or just inadequate players are to blame for our inconsistent results... Maybe a poll Jamie?

  19. All of the above stated.