"What do you mean you've hurt 'your' knee, it's Liverpool's knee" - Bill Shankly.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Media Myths: Rafa Benitez and His Transfer History With Liverpool Football Club


Myth: "fable, fiction, lie; a widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief."

There appears to be a trend growing amongst media outlets, “expert” pundits, and supporters who ensure a negative air surrounds Liverpool Football Club and more commonly its manager, Rafa Benitez.

It seems he can do no right in the eyes of some people—his own supporters included—and more false claims appear every week that serve only to derail him from his aims.

As more and more newspapers churn out sensational headline after headline and television pundits spout opinion as fact; the more people are brainwashed by these stories.

Many lazy debaters claim their opinion to be fact or truth whilst they simply recycle misleading newspaper propaganda as their own knowledge or belief.

Biased supporters who choose to jump on the slander bandwagon when it involves a rival team are common place, and this only adds to the ever-growing ideology of a story perceived as fact.

Ideology: “a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant group of a society to all members of this society.”

“Organizations that strive for power will try to influence the ideology of a society to become closer to what they want it to be. Organizations and other groups (e.g. Media Outlets) try to influence people by broadcasting their opinions.”

One such myth which seems to have appeared recently has been the same tired line about Rafa Benitez and his transfers since his time at Liverpool.

You will hear people claiming things like:

“A larger proportion of Rafa's signings have been expensive and poor.”

This does of course depend on how a person interprets the words expensive and poor—the latter obviously being down to their personal opinion of a player.

For example if someone wants to use the barometer of anything over a million pounds to be expensive and any player other than Messi or Ronaldo is considered poor; then anyone will struggle to argue against that logic—me included.

We can address the “expensive” part of the argument first:

£20-30+ million: 1 (1)


£10-20 million: 4 (3)

Mascherano, Keane, Babel, Alonso

£5-10 million: 14 (9)

Dossenna, Riera, Agger, Skrtel, Reina, Benayoun, Leiva, Kuyt, Pennant, Crouch, Bellamy, Sissoko, Morientes, Garcia

£0-5 million: 47 (36)

Degan, Cavelieri, Ngog, Plessis, Insua, Leto, Itandje, Voronin, Arbeloa, El Zhar, Aurelio, Palletta, Fowler, Kromkamp, Barragan, Nunez, Zenden, Gonzalez, Carson, Pellegrino, Josemi, Martin, Antwi, Hobbs, Miki Roque, Gulacsi, Anderson, Poloskei, Crowther, Hansen, Saric, Ayala, Weijl, Blanco, Flora, Mendy, Ajdarevic, Simon, Bouzanis, Nemeth, Pacheco, Palsson, Brouwer, Durán, Huth, Domínguez,

(Numbers in brackets are players still at the club)

It is easy to see that the majority of Rafa’s signings have been below the £10 million mark and nothing like the fabrication that he has bought mostly “expensive” signings.

Especially when you consider that 49 of his signings are still at the club and the selling on fee cannot yet be determined.
Here are some more comments and claims made about Rafael Benitez:

“He has bought 53 players for £190 million and sold 56 for £108 million, clearly a loss of £82 million proves he doesn’t have a clue in the transfer market.”

This is a full rundown of Rafael Benitez’ signings since he joined Liverpool in June 2004:

Players bought in by Benitez: 66

Players still at the club: 49

First Team: 18

Alonso, Reina, Agger, Aurélio, Kuyt, Arbeloa, Mascherano, Lucas, Torres, Itandje, Benayoun, Babel, Skrtel, Degen, Dossena, Cavalieri, Ngog, Riera.

Reserve Team: 22

El Zhar, Insúa, Palsson, Brouwer, Durán, Huth, Domínguez, Pacheco, Nemeth, Plessis, Hansen, Saric, Ayala, Weijl, Blanco, Flora, Mendy, Ajdarevic, Simon, Bouzanis, Crowther, Poloskei

Out on Loan: 9

Andriy Voronin, Jermaine Pennant, Sebastian Leto, David Martin, Godwin Antwi, Jack Hobbs, Miki Roque, Peter Gulacsi, Paul Anderson

A figure of 49 players bought by Rafa are still playing for the club with the majority (22) bought as youth players for the reserve team—with the idea for future revenue if they perform to their potential. It will also save the club a great deal of money if they turn out to be superstars worth a large transfer fee.

From that 49 figure, there are 18 still playing for the first team and contributing on a very large scale with the majority of them being priced by many as a greater figure than when the players were initially bought by Rafa.

From the nine players out on loan, only two are established players with the other seven being young reserve players gaining experience at other clubs—with the hope of either returning to Liverpool’s first team or making a profit to invest in future transfers.

Players Sold On by Benitez: 56

Players Bought By Other Managers and Sold on by Benitez: 39

Players bought and sold on by Rafa Benitez: 17

For me, this is the key point from which poorly informed debaters’ opinions collapse. Most propaganda articles or rival supporters will wildly claim that Rafa has sold 56 players and made little money in return.

They claim the “majority” of the 56 players the Liverpool manager has sold on have been at a loss and “proves” his failings in the transfer market. This is such a misleading statement to make that I really don’t know how people can still get away with it.

Benitez cannot be held accountable for selling a player at a loss when Benitez was not the one who identified the player as a target in the first place or sanctioned the over-inflated transfer fee.

You can only really judge him on the players he has bought and sold since he has been at the club and this brings the true figure down to just 17 players.

Profit: 7

Carson +2.25, Barragan +0.43, Sissoko +2.6, Crouch +4.0, Gonzalez +2.0, Bellamy +1.5, Nunez +0.5

Loss: 6

Garcia -2.0, Morientes -3.3, Palletta -0.8, Josemi (swapped for) Kromkamp -0.25, Idrizaj -0.19, Keane -3.0 (could be even less depending on contract triggers)

Even: 4

Pellegrino, Zenden, Fowler, Padelli (all four players were brought in and moved on for a free transfer)

So the true extent of Rafa’s failings in the transfer market is just six players from 17, coming with a loss of just under £10 million within four and a half years—the most expensive loss being just £3.3 million; nothing like the losses achieved by other established Premier League managers.

Hopefully that one more media myth thats been eradicated.

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Quote of the moment

Defying belief however, is a market Benitez has cornered quite well. The moment you think Benitez is clueless, he defies it by pulling off a result of majesty, like the one achieved in Madrid. The moment he is hailed a genius, he masterminds toothless surrender to a team going nowhere. In the ongoing Anfield power struggle, just when he was cornered by the firing squad, the Spaniard's demise at Liverpool looking practically assured with the ominous suspension of betting by the bookmakers, he squeezes out through a narrow trapdoor and eliminates Rick Parry. Rafa Benitez is Keyzer Soze.
- Just Football blog: The Curious Beast that is Football 28 Feb 2009