Dear John and Tom,A good article giving some insights into the entire Fernando Torres transfer story with a witty yet good language used by the author. I truly recommend reading this.
At the risk of speaking too soon on transfer deadline day, I just wanted to congratulate you on your first major piece of Liverpool business, not counting your mercy -- or is that Mersey? -- killing of Roy Hodgson. I'm sure it will be a great success.
Or the final nail in the Liverpool coffin.
I should probably point out that while I'm neither a fan of your club nor one of those King Kenny freaks who genuflect daily to the Kop's storied past, I still feel compelled to write you for a couple of reasons.
First, I know that the January transfer market can be a bit jarring when you're used to the relative civility of the Hot Stove League. Remember when your other team traded Nomar Garciaparra in 2004 and Red Sox Nation howled at the moon? As gut-wrenching as that was, I suspect this was a much more daunting challenge since you aren't yet conversant with the psychotic attachment fans have to their favorite soccer players. (As opposed to, say, not caring a whit about their previous manager, who they were all too willing to sacrifice at the altar of King Kenny.) And yet with no experience in this high-wire game, you took to it like Manny Ramirez to estrogen.
More impressively, you didn't allow emotion to cloud your vision, unlike my Liverpool friends who spent the weekend curled into the fetal position, whimpering like John Boehner in their No. 9 jerseys at the prospect of having a certain Spanish center forward ripped from their heaving bosoms.
"Man up," I told them. "You'll be better off." And although I always enjoy a tasty helping of Liverpudlian misery, for once I meant what I said. It's an impressive display of brinkmanship that lets Fernando Torres (and his one good hamstring) walk into the sordid arms of those Stamford Bridge philistines, but not before hornswoggling them out of a massive transfer fee.
Sure, you'll lose some hairband sales and suffer the slings and arrows of badly written Anfield blog posts, but in the long run, getting rid of Torres is every bit as shrewd a move as when you let Nomar leave. And lest anybody forget, you gave Boston its first World Series in 86 years barely 10 weeks later. Meanwhile, you've made all the right noises about how you're going to spend Chelsea's filthy lucre. Buy, buy, buy.
You've already nabbed Luis Suarez for $36 million (and given him King Kenny's famed No. 7 shirt). You've got other targets, too: Andy Carroll for $55 million, Ashley Young for $28.5 million and Charlie Adam for $16 million. While you're at it, you should spring for an autographed Elton John wig for Ian Holloway.
Although all three players fit right in with King Kenny's reconstruction project, the one that should restore your club's pedigree as a top team, Torres wanted no part of Liverpool 2.0, even after you showed your bold intent with the capture of Suarez. On paper, Suarez would finally have given El Nino a strike partner worthy of his silky skills, another forward dangerous enough in his own right to keep defenses honest. The fact Nando didn't withdraw his transfer request at the instant of Suarez's arrival leads me to believe that, despite his cri de coeur about needing more quality players, Torres was as concerned with Liverpool's commitment to upgrading the squad as Wayne Rooney was with Man United's.
The difference, of course, is that Sir Alex was able to persuade Rooney to execute a Fergie-Time U-Turn once his agent had extorted the kind of obscene wages Torres surely covets. Why else would he go to Chelsea if his favorite color weren't green rather than red?
Trust me, John and Tom, you'll get the last laugh.
After all, what awaits the Spaniard at the Bridge that wouldn't have evolved over the next few months at Anfield? Didier Drogba? The Torres/Drogba partnership has all the staying power of a Kardashian kredit kard. The Ivorian hit man isn't exactly known for making his strike partner better, as Nicolas Anelka can attest, and with Torres and Drogba both being pure center forwards, the odds of either of them roaming the flanks and pumping in crosses for the other is about the same as the odds of Kevin Youkilis attending Fashion Week.
Anelka? Daniel Sturridge? Not to suggest that they aren't held in high regard around Stamford Bridge, but didn't Chelsea all but beg you to take them off their hands as makeweights -- or deadweights -- in the deal?
Like many others, I've always been a Michael Essien fan, but after watching Everton's 12-year-old Jack Rodwell repeatedly strip the ball from the Ghanaian powerhouse this past weekend, I think it's safe to say he's pushed the down button on his majestic career. Frank Lampardcan still hit a nice long pass, but that's rapidly becoming his only skill, as every week he auditions for the part of David Beckham's replacement in L.A.
John Terry doesn't exactly inspire fear these days with his mollusk level of speed. The cupboard is bare at Chelsea, and so Mother Abramovich has gone on an expensive shopping expedition, and good for you for jacking up the price.
To be fair -- and I am famed for my equanimity -- London does beat Liverpool in the cosmopolitan department, but it's not as though there will be greater marketing opportunities for a player who was regarded as being every bit the God as Robbie Fowler by the Anfield faithful. Londoners are a far more jaded lot than the Northern folks, and Torres will never be more worshipped than he was while he sported the red of LFC. He's traded relevance for a slightly larger chunk of change and, gentlemen, he will rue the day he made that choice.
In spite of the wisdom of my counsel, a deal's never done until the ink is dry on the contract, so if you have nagging doubts, remember you can always step back. There's recent precedent as Torres spurned Man City's billions this past summer. Stevie G. almost walked away to these same London Lions after winning the Champions League six years ago, but he came home and was loved even more for it. Just because Mommy and Daddy are fighting doesn't mean it has to end in divorce. Sometimes it's better to kiss and make up.
Yours in Istanbul miracles,
Monday, January 31, 2011