Date: 30th July 2009 at 4:04pm
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Looks like we are going to have to replace two if not three key players this summer!

Alonso will now join the Madrid globetrotters who only need Ribery to magically appear now and they will have a full set of the galactico’s that Perez set out for when he became President. Rafa wanted £30m + for Alonso but now will only get around £27.5m ish if you believe the papers…….or is that the amount that we would have got anyway? Look at it this way, once Alonso handed in his written transfer request that removes his loyalty bonus from the transfer, this equates to around £1m. Also the transfer will presumably go through in August 2009, it is now over the five year period since he arrived at Liverpool and we will not have to pay Real Sociedad 10% of the selling on fee, Say £3m.

In total that’s £4m, meaning that by my accounts we are up £1.25m – shrewd business by Rafa, but we would all rather have Alonso on the team sheet!

But now the big question, who to replace Alonso? It is easier to replace a water carrier than a lock pick, that’s why they are a rare and expensive commodity. There will be fans out there that will say that we need to give Lucas a chance to prove his worth. There is no doubt that he has the ability, just look at his record at Brazil under 20’s and also for Gremio. Lucas even became the youngest player to ever to receive Placar magazine’s Bola de Ouro (Golden Ball), given to the best player in the Campeonato Brasileiro — an honour previously won by the likes of Zico, Falcão, Careca, Alex, Romario, Kaká and Tevez. But do we risk our season on this? Ron previously posted in a letter to Lucas to prove he is all that he can be and I think Rafa will maybe give him 20+ starts over all the games of the season.

If I was in Rafa’s shoes I would want to bring in someone and that person would be Christian Poulsen of Juventus and Denmark.

Poulsen signed on a Bosman last year from Seville and has had a terrible time in Italy and this summer has been linked with various mid premiership clubs, Fulham being in the public but could not match his wage demands. Poulsen is in the same Alonso mould and it was that same role that he played successfully for Seville during the Ramos era were they successfully won the UEFA cup back to back along with the Super cup and the Spanish version of the FA cup, so he has more than enough big game experience. Settling in won’t be a problem as Danish team mate Agger is already here and he speaks English competently. Juventus want to sell as they have just signed the Brazilian Melio for that role and if Fulham have bidded and it has been accepted as they discussed terms, then the fee must be in the region of £3m – £7m max, and wages wouldn’t be an issue as Alonso’s previous pay packet would cover that!

So what’s the catch I hear you say, discipline! – He has a reputation for losing his cool, see the link to his Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Poulsen . The last time he lost his cool he punched Swedish Striker Marcus Rosenberg in the Stomach!

DFB Cup Final FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munich

So Poulsen for Alonso, who’s next to replace………..Sami Hyypia?

Sami left after 10 wonderful years at Liverpool, but so far this summer there has not been much talk about replacing him until today. If you believe them then Rafa is trying to bring in more English players, Mike Turner of Hull being one of them. Maybe a surprise target for some of you but personally he is Hulls version of a certain Jamie Carragher, and we would all love a team of Carragher’s!

Turner would make a solid squad addition to the team and under Carragher’s stewardship would make a fine centre half for many years to come. He is certainly in the mould of Carragher, loyal and committed having played for Hull at every level of the league and did not look out of place last year in the premiership – I feel that this would be a strong signing for Rafa as it would be in the region of £5-7m

Football - Hull City v West Bromwich Albion Barclays Premier League

And what of the one that hasn’t got away yet – Mascherano! Soon to be leaving on a Jet plan to Barcelona.

The press again today has linked us with Lee Cattermole of Wigan. Cattermole had a steady season last year and had a good under 21’s and his value has sky rocketed from the £3.5m that Steve Bruce paid for him to the figure of around £12m. But is he the English Mascherano and is he worth £12m? Maybe/Maybe not, but he is English and as we have found out with the purchase of Glen Johnson – English means add on a bit extra!

Sports News - January 28, 2009

What does his game entail and what do we want him to do –
1. Reads the game,
2. Strong in the tackle,
3. Breaks up play and
4. Makes the simple pass, thus
5. Controlling possession, and
6. Protects the back four!

Ticks all those boxes then.

He does a job that never gets any attention and gets little reward of the glamour and fame.

Was the signing of Cattermole the making of Wigan last year a coincidence? Wigan finished comfortably in 14th, and before the January window were challenging for Europa league spot. Compare this to the previous season when they had to be rescued by Steve Bruce from relegation in January! I think that this is no coincidence and would be a solid replacement for Mascherano.

I think Rafa can work with these aggressive rough Diamond’s like he did with Mascherano as if you remember that time at Old Trafford, he did have a wee bit of a temper!

So with my reckoning, we should receive around the £50m mark for Alonso and Mascherano – not bad business when the two of them cost in the region of £29m (£10.25 for Alonso and approx £18m for Mascherano). And if we can get Cattermole, Poulsen and Turner for £25m who knows, Rafa could blow the other £25m on Ashley Young and that would solve the left sided lottery as well!