The Premier League is a funny old place sometimes. The likes of City and Chelsea have the money to sign whoever they wish, but nobody wants to go there, whilst players are queuing up to sign for Liverpool, but the club has no money to buy them. The irony must not be lost on Liverpool supporters.
Countless players claim to support Liverpool, or have an affinity for the club. Fernando Torres, Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry, Craig Bellamy… the list goes on and on. Last week however, not one, but two rising stars in European football identified Liverpool as an ideal destination, with Galatasaray left winger Arda Turan joining Simon Kjaer in issuing a ‘come get me’ plea to Rafael Benitez.
Arda Turan has often been quoted as wanting to play for England’s most decorated club, and his most recent outburst came in an interview with UEFA.com last Thursday (04 March 2010):
“Of course I want to play abroad but it is our board’s decision. As I always mention, Liverpool attracts me because of their tradition. In Europe, I am a Liverpool supporter, so if I go to play in Europe, I would like to play for them.”
Whilst the signing of Kjaer may be a little too rich for Benitez’s blood, Turan, or Arda as he is known in Turkey, could be a more viable option in the summer. Ryan Babel came close to leaving Liverpool in January, with Benitez having lost patience with the boy, and Benitez is likely to cash in on him in the summer. With Andrea Dossena and Andriy Voronin having already left the club, Benitez will be eager to swell his attacking options, especially on the left-hand side.
Arda is a product of the Galatasaray youth system, and has now amassed 107 appearances for the Turkish club, scoring 26 times. The left-winger was made captain of the side at the start of the 2009-10 campaign and has been a firm favourite in Istanbul ever since his debut for the first team in the 2005/06 season. This term Arda has scored seven goals and registered 17 assists in all competitions. At international level, Arda has made 34 appearances scoring 5 goals.
The player shot to prominence around two years ago at the European Championships in Switzerland and Austria. Arda scored two goals and starred for Turkey throughout the tournament, before they were defeated by Germany in the semi-finals. His 92nd minute winner against the Swiss was a particularly memorable moment, as was his goal against the Czech Republic, where Turkey eventually overturned a two goal deficit to win the match.
Aside from being a goal scorer and provider, Arda is noted for his technical ability and skill on the ball. The player is valued at just over £10m by Liverpool, and so may better value than Valencia’s David Silva, who has also been linked with the club.
Arda has twice been voted as Turkish player of the year (2008 and 2009), and has won the Turkish Süper Lig in (2005/06 and 2007/08), as well as the Turkish Super Cup (2007/08).
Arda’s contract with Galatasaray runs out in 2012, but Liverpool may test Galatasaray’s resolve this summer, especially as Arda has publicly confirmed a desire to one day play for the club. The only stumbling block therefore, is financial. With Liverpool’s debt with RBS still around the £200m mark, the club must rely on player sales, especially with Champions League football for next season hanging firmly in the balance.
Whether Liverpool are able to add significantly to their squad this summer remains to be seen. However, in the mean time, Liverpool will retain their status as the Premier League’s ultimate paradox. Barring Manchester United, they are England’s most famous and supported club. However, despite the size of their fan base, that includes many of the world’s top players, the size of their wallets remains embarrassingly small in comparison. Until this problem is addressed, the likes of Arda and Kjaer may have to wait…