Is relieving Liverpool of Gerrard and Torres really the answer?

Less than two years into Sheikh Mansour's reign as City owner we're already well used to every man and his dog being linked with a big-money move to Eastlands. Most are stories concocted by fat journos in order to save them having to put the hours in doing real digging, others agents in search of a quick buck, players wanting new deals where they are, or even rarely, something with legs. The latest being linked are Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

The fact that the tales linking both players with summer switches aren't being met with as much derision as when mooted a year ago in itself proves that we've made progress. Not only that, but Liverpool's overall situation - the uncertainly over the future of their bumbling manager, the performance of the side over the last season, but mainly the financial position of the club, which some sources have as being so bad that the 'a'-word is beginning to be bandied about - means that such moves might actually make sense all round.

At present, though their ever-vocal fans will vehemently disagree and point to shiny things lifted aloft in the past, we're better than Liverpool. We just are. That's how the league system works. We're better than them in the same way Spurs are better than us, Arsenal than them - sides where they are, for better or worse, on merit and not by default or accident, and given that, it shouldn't be seen as fantasy, even by disciples of the boot room bible, that we could syphon their most valuable assets.

That said, even the staunchest Blue couldn't deny that Spurs spoiling the party recently will have weakened our position to some degree when approaching the elite players in the world. Whether Gerrard would still fit into that category is debatable, but on reputation at least there aren't too many fatter fishes in the pond. It would be a huge coup, but without the Champions League carrot not as obvious a step forward in the most important sense as it could have been.

Torres, as good a centre-forward as there is in the world when fit, probably didn't aspire to pulling on the sky blue shirt of Manchester's premier club as a nipper whilst volleying oranges round the backstreets of Fuenlabrada, but it's no more far-fetched than to say he might have dreamt of one day emulating, say, Robbie Fowler - bagging goals for fun in a mediocre side whilst picking up more serious injuries than honours.

The World Cup will quite probably play a big part in where the Spaniard begins next season playing his football. Another good tournament and sides who we can only dream of matching in every respect bar the cash readies will be equally willing to take advantage of the malaise at Anfield, but for now, should either Fernando choose to move on, or some suit or other at the club make the decision for him, then his options aren't all that obvious.

The main factor to consider would be the transfer fee. Even after a season dogged by injuries and bouts of sulkiness Torres would command a fee of £40m at the very least, so immediately the serious suitors could be counted on one hand - ourselves, Barcelona, Chelsea if Abramovich has decided he's interested in spending again, possibly Inter Milan, and Real Madrid - the latter being about as likely an option as Everton considering El Nino's Atletico past.

The common consensus regards Gerrard is that he'd only ever leave Liverpool for a foreign club, and remembering how the Scouse public who've afforded him demi-God status over the last decade were quick to burn effigies and label him a money-grabber when he's threatened to move on to better things in the past, it's probably a safe bet, and another summer of spending at Real Madrid could provide the most likely route out of Tracksuitville.

Unlike his Spanish colleague, any move for Gerrard from Liverpool would absolutely have to be the right one. Thirty this month, time isn't exactly on his side. Barring a takeover, a manager who knows what he's doing being brought in, plus some serious spending, that's never going to happen at Liverpool. Though we're unlikely to be banging on the door next year as things stand, we'd certainly be the club who ticked most boxes in terms of needing and being able to offer a key role to the player, having no problems with the fee, and promising to offer at least a distant threat to the title contenders.

Beyond completely sealing the sad demise of Liverpool Football Club as a force in English football, though, and however much we might need a central midfielder who does something other than move or pass sideways, and a true centre-forward to complete the most fearsome attacking line in the country, is splodging daft money on superstars such as these two soft lads the way? I think examples, both in terms of the goose-chases we've been on over the last two years, and the side who beat us to fourth this time round, indicate it may not be.

People alleging that we'll always struggle to sign truly world-class players until we're in the Champions League have to some extent been disproved already. Admittedly both the signings of Robinho and Carlos Tevez were under extreme circumstances, one being the only ticket out of Madrid, the other seen as the ultimate chance to prove a doubting manager wrong. Both were and continue to be paid very well for their troubles, it must be said, but nobody could deny either were/are "world-class", as much as the term itself is a bit daft.

For every superstar we have wrestled from a more-established club, however, there have been two we've failed to convince to take the plunge. Kaka was on the verge but shat himself at the last minute, possibly after meeting Garry Cook for the first time. John Terry seemed to fancy it before declaring his unwavering loyalty to Chelsea once a payrise had been agreed. Ronaldinho was linked for a while, Eto'o decided winning a European Cup was more important than pinching fifth place in the Premier League, and the likes of Buffon, Villa and several others have all claimed to have rejected our advances.

Given such high-profile snubs, then, you wonder why we continue to press ahead with these biennial forays into the 'daft money' market. The contrasting fortunes of the beanpole strikers at opposite ends of the Eastlands pitch last Wednesday, and Tottenham crushing our hopes of what should have been a relatively routine march to being crowned best of the rest at the end of a poor Premier League season should perhaps give us food for thought.

Both of the clubs who have successfully 'broken' the top four have done so without knocking together sides disregarding cost. Arguably, Spurs strongest point this season has been their manager's ability to put his arm around those not considered key players and turn them into such. As much as i'd like to see Torres or Gerrard here, i'd take more satisfaction, even if goals weren't achieved quite as quickly, from seeing Mancini build a real team, and i'm not convinced 'marquee' signings are the way.


  1. Another excellent piece. Gerrard is an interesting one. He's had a bad season and many City fans seem less than enthusiastic, but then Drogba was in terrible form 18 months ago when we were linked with him, and look at the season he's just had.

    We'd get slaughtered for paying a huge fee for a 30 year old, but if Gerrard's form returns, he's carried less talented Liverpool teams than ours into the top four.

    Still think he's more likely to give Real a go if Jose goes there. Then we'll end up with interesting prospects of Ozil or Hamsik. Can't lose really!

  2. Spot on as always! We need to stop chasing the big names and look for players that will actually improve the team as a whole.

  3. I can’t see Gerrard moving to another Premiership club, if he goes anywhere I think it would be to Real Madrid; Torres is world class and although Liverpool state he’s not for sale, I don’t think they are in the position to resist a massive offer, great as he is, he is also very injury prone.