£485m. That is the amount that Premier League clubs have spent on new players in this transfer window, a massive £120m increase on last year and also a new Premier League record. Liverpool spent over £60m re-shaping a squad capable of challenging at the top and on deadline day managed to offload fringe players such as Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen and David N’Gog but also sold last seasons PFA Fan’s Player of the Year Raul Meireles to rival club Chelsea. In return Liverpool re-signed former Red Craig Bellamy from Manchester City on a free transfer as well as Sebastian Coates from Uruguayan club Nacional for £12m, so was it good deadline day business?
Joe Cole joined Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool last summer on a free transfer from Chelsea. He was seen as a fantastic signing at the time but after a few games for the Reds it was clear that Hodgson was unsure how to play him or even what position to play him in and as a result he was left out of the team. In January Cole’s former club West Ham United put in a loan bid for him, but he rejected the offer and vowed to fight for his place under new manager Kenny Dalglish. However, he struggled for first-team football under Dalglish and with Maxi finding good form towards the end of the season Cole was rarely involved at all. He left Liverpool yesterday to join French champions Lille having played just 20 games for the Reds and scoring only two goals. Many Liverpool fans feel that Cole was not given enough games to be able to gel with the rest of the team. Cole himself admitted that it hadn’t worked out for him at Anfield, he said: “It hurt me that it did not work out at Liverpool. I am a winner, and it will stay with me that I didn’t have a successful time at the club, because obviously I went with the ambition of being a success.”
Cole is a talented player and can play in various roles but does not have a specified position. Despite his obvious desire to succeed at Anfield he struggled to make any real impact for the Reds. He played most of his games for Liverpool at left-wing, but after the recruitment of Stewart Downing, both he and Maxi would be ahead of Cole for the left-wing position. If he had been given more games and found a position he may well have succeeded at Liverpool, but the Reds need someone who can succeed immediately as Downing looks to be a great signing, so Liverpool were right to let Cole go.
Raul Meireles had a good season for Liverpool last year and was named PFA Fan’s Player of the Year. Despite taking time to settle into English football, he had a run of form over the winter period scoring 5 goals in 6 games, including the winner over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Portugese international was impressive for Liverpool for most of last season and an ever present in the side, especially after the injury to Steven Gerrard. Against Arsenal this season he came on off the bench and was involved in both goals as Liverpool beat the Gunners 2-0 at the Emirates. But with the Reds signing central midfielders Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson this summer and already having Steven Gerrard, Lucas and Jay Spearing as well as talented youngsters Conor Coady and Fernandez Saez (aka Suso) Meireles would have found first-team opportunities hard to come by. He handed in a transfer request with 30 minutes to go in order to force through a move to Chelsea and was later sold for £12m, which is about the same amount that Liverpool paid Porto for his services.
There has been some criticism of Liverpool allowing Meireles to move to Chelsea as they are a rival team who will be challenging Liverpool at the top. If a player does not want to play for a club, which Meireles clearly didn’t as he handed in a transfer request, then that player should be sold by the club and Dalglish did the right thing by moving him on as no player is bigger than any club. However, that player should not be sold to a rival club. Liverpool fans would have preferred to see Meireles move to a foreign team as by selling him to Chelsea Liverpool are strengthening the Blues squad and potentially giving them a helping hand, which they do not want to do. Having said that, Meireles is a good player but not great and while he did a good job for the Reds last year he would never have been as important, influential or effective a player to Liverpool as either Charlie Adam or Jordan Henderson have already been and will continue to do so.