Rafa Benitez v Martin O'Neill and Could a Trade Been Worked Out

19 July 2008


Photo from here.

I have to admit, when I got home yesterday and saw that Scott Carson had been sold to West Bromwich Albion for a grand total of 3.25 million pounds (depending on benchmarks, that fee can rise...to only 3.75 million), the lunch I had just enjoyed with Kartik Krishnaiyer of the American Soccer Show nearly escaped me. It read to me that Liverpool were going to do anything in their power to prevent Martin O'Neill from signing the player. The reason behind it is a simple one, because Aston Villa and Martin O'Neill wouldn't do business about Gareth Barry in the way Liverpool wanted. Going with my gut instinct, the whole Gareth Barry saga with Liverpool started alot sooner than it ever got reported in the press. The one who got caught up in all of it was someone who should have never been the pawn of anger, Scott Carson.

I have pretty much some of the same issues about this transfer as does Michael James over at the English Soccer Talk blog. So I won't look at those issues. What I do want to look at is the simple fact Rafa Benitez dropped his valuation of young Carson by nearly a whopping seventy percent. If anything that should be the ultimate slap in the face to both Scott Carson and Martin O'Neill. It should be a slap in the face to Scott Carson that despite what Rafa was saying in the press about Carson and Villa, he was simply lying for the sake of politics. It should be a slap in the face to Martin O'Neill because the valuation of Carson was vastly different than what was told to him. If Martin O'Neill had been told even 4-6 million for Carson, not only is Carson playing for Aston Villa in the Intertoto Cup, Aston Villa don't draw 2-2 on the road to Odense BK in the first leg. While I understand Liverpool need the transfer funds, you simply don't drop the valuation on someone over fifty percent unless you are desperate.

Where does Gareth Barry work into all of this? Well that's simple one. With Gareth Barry wanting to go to Liverpool, his valuation in all of this is crucial. Is Barry honestly worth 18 million pounds? Well that depends on how you look at it. You can take the train of thought of at 27, he's probably never going to be valued more because not only can he play on the left (thought not his best) or in the center (where he has thrived under Martin O'Neill). You can also take the train of thought that in 8 years, he only has 20 international caps and that a player like Barry while not a dime a dozen can be found and groomed. You can also argue with the latter that Rafa Benitez would have to make some tough choices about letting fan favorites sit in order to play Barry.

While it can't happen now, but couldn't Aston Villa and Liverpool have worked out a trade with these two players in it? My simple answer to this question is yes. If you are to believe the Times, Aston Villa was ready to accept 15 million plus Steve Finnan. Even if you the 10 million valuation of Scott Carson, could Liverpool have offered Scott Caron and Steve Finnan plus maybe 15 percent of Gareth Barry's sell on fee in exchange for Gareth Barry? My personal feeling is Aston Villa would have taken that just to get rid of the trouble Gareth Barry has caused the club and Liverpool would have taken that just to get the valuation they had on Scott Carson and naturally getting their man.

Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but couldn't a deal have been worked out between these two clubs? Let me know what you think?

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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