The masters of purchasing overpriced players were up to their usual tricks again this summer, however one deal stood out to me that could be the bargain of the season in the Premier League.
Craig Bellamy had a tough time at Manchester City since his move from West Ham in January 2009, and spent the whole of last season on loan at his home-town club Cardiff City, where he impressed as captain and wanted to stay in Wales for another campaign.
A deal could not be done between the two clubs and after much speculation a decision was made to release the pacey winger as a free agent on the final day of the transfer window to allow him to find a new club. With a player of Bellamy’s quality it did not take long and he signed a two-year deal at Liverpool on the same day.
After a fairly unsuccessful spell at Anfield in 2006, the Welsh international had rarely spent more than one year at a club, finding himself on the move from no less than eight clubs in his career since he began life at Norwich. The reputation of a disruptive influence in the dressing room followed him around but his talent has never been in question and the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Stoke were after his signature before his return to Liverpool on deadline day.
The signing for the Reds fell slightly under the radar due to their big spending in July and August that saw Stewart Downing arrive for £20million, Jordan Henderson came in from Sunderland for over £16million, Charlie Adam’s arrival from relegated Blackpool for £9million, Jose Enrique’s late deal from Newcastle for £6million and Sebastian Coates move from Nacional for another £8million.
With just under £60million spent overall and lack of quality on view so far this season from the individuals, doubled with Andy Carroll’s £35million move in January, which is yet to show any kind of return, a free transfer for a player of Bellamy’s quality is a shrewd move from Kenny Dalglish.
In fairness to the Merseyside club, their spending was not all from their new foreign investment, with the Fernando Torres’ deal to Chelsea worth £50million in January and the likes of Raul Meireles, Christian Poulsen and David Ngog fetching slightly more than they are worth this summer, reinvested money was key to the big name signings coming in.
Having not had a proper pre-season, Bellamy is now fit and looking sharp for Liverpool, mainly used as a substitute it is surely a matter of time before he pushes the overrated Henderson, Downing and Carroll down the pecking order and himself into the first team in the Premier League.
It may be tough for Dalglish to drop one of his £16million or £20million signings this summer, but a player such as Bellamy can win games for his side and has already looked impressive in his few substitute league appearances and cup starts for the Reds.
It may take time for my thoughts to come to view but if someone offered me the chance to sign Bellamy for free, or any of the other transfer deals Liverpool have done this summer, there would only be one choice. The other money could have been spent more wisely than it was, but it was there to spend and Dalglish did not choke when it came to gambling on a player which has to be admired and something that Arsenal fans may wish happened sooner at the Emirates.
Signing of the season? Perhaps not, but given time this could be a fantastic deal for the club and the player alike to put themselves back on the map in the English game and for Liverpool to break back into the European places, which is a real possibility this season.
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