Why Liverpool should show caution over Bosman deals

It is safe to say that Liverpool have not been the most adept in the Bosman free transfer market over the last few years. With limited money to spend under former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the Reds have delved into the free transfer market and come up with some real stinkers. The Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin came from Bayer Leverkusen in 2007, and he was followed to Anfield by Standard Liege’s Milan Jovanovic and Chelsea’s Joe Cole last summer. None of these deals have really worked out for the Reds, and specifically in the case of Cole, have left the club picking a sizeable tab for their wages, while they are either sidelined with injuries or sit on the bench.

I am not against the Reds bringing in free transfers per se, but as we have experienced over the last few seasons, getting in a player for free doesn’t always work out too well. Although nothing has officially been announced yet, the French press have stated that Rennes winger Sylvain Marveaux has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Liverpool in the summer. Of course, the same worries about past failed free transfer signings will crop up again, and it could be said that Marveaux could be yet another concerning signing on a Bosman.

So who is Sylvain Marveaux? He was born in Vannes, Britanny and became involved in his first club AS Menimur at the age of just 6. After 7 years, he moved to the city’s biggest club Vannes OC and was selected for the prestigious Pôle Espoirs Football de Ploufragan regional football academy where he learned his trade. After leaving the academy he signed a youth contract with Britanny side Rennes in 2001 and spent four years in the club’s highly regarded youth academy.

At reserve level, he impressed for Rennes in the 2005/06 season and playing in the CFA league, he scored seven in 21 appearances, standing out as the team’s star player. His impressive performances earned him a professional contract in the summer of 2006 and he became part of Guy Lacombe’s first team plans. Marveaux initially struggled to gain a regular place under Lacombe despite making his debut on the opening day of the season in a 2-1 defeat to Lille.

He scored his first goal as a senior player in a 3-1 win over Auxerre in October 2006, coming on as a second half substitute, and despite not being a regular, he scored six goals in 32 appearances during the 2006/07 season. He again struggled to curry favour with Lacombe the following season though and made just 11 starts in the league, scoring his only goal of the campaign in the UEFA Cup against Lokomotiv Sofia.

The 2008/09 season was equally as unfortunate for Marveaux as after tearing his hamstring in October, it was discovered that a haematoma had formed around the injury and he had to have an operation that kept him out for five months, limiting him to just 6 appearances during the campaign. Last season was however Marveaux’s breakthrough season, and he scored 10 goals and provided 5 assists in 35 league appearances under new manager Frederic Antonetti.

This campaihn has however seen him sidelined with injury again. He sustained a groin injury in November and despite returning to fitness in the New Year, the dispute over his new contract has meant he hasn’t played since his injury. The Reds have certainly had their fair share of injury problems with players, and if Marveaux does sign, this maybe a concern. Still I feel it is best not to judge before we see him in action for the Reds. He could very well be a useful squad player and he can play on the left hand side of midfield or just behind the striker as a playmaker. He will probably be on quite low wages and he is still only 25 years of age so he may not be in the same bracket as players such as the 30 year old Milan Jovanovic and 29 year old Joe Cole who have less resalable value if things don’t work out.

With the Reds recent history of failed free transfer signings, as well as the long list of players with recurring problems, the signing of Marveaux maybe a risk, and if he does sign, lets hope he proves to be the exception to the rule regarding dud Liverpool Bosman transfers.

Read more of David’s articles at the excellent Live4Liverpool