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Why Reaction to Konchesky Signing is Unjustified

‘It shows just how Liverpool’s standards have fallen’, ‘None of the other big clubs would have even considered buying him’, ‘Not a Liverpool player’, ‘Too old’.

Just some of the reactions that I’ve heard and read regarding Paul Konchesky and his move to Liverpool. I’m not going to deny that I wasn’t particularly excited when the rumours of Roy Hodgson raiding his former club Fulham for the 29 year old left back began, and I didn’t exactly jump for joy when the signing was confirmed on Sky Sports News’ favourite day of the year, the transfer deadline day. But I also wasn’t disappointed either. I suppose understanding, satisfied and quietly optimistic would be the most accurate adjectives of my feelings regarding the deal.

Understanding because Liverpool needed a left back. Insua, despite his undoubted potential, clearly hadn’t impressed Hodgson enough to convince him to make the young Argentinean his first choice for the season, and the 21 year old has subsequently moved to Galatasary on a season-long loan. Aurelio, who on his day is one of the most talented left backs in Europe, but also the most injury prone, impressed Hodgson and the new medical team at Anfield enough in a 2 week trial (following his release at the start of the summer) for Hodgson to re-sign him. However, following an injury record that restricted him to just 79 starts in his first 4 years at Anfield, there are understandably still doubts about whether he can be consistently available for selection. Konchesky on the other hand has started 134 games in that same time period, for clubs who have played far fewer games, and that figure would be higher still had he not fallen out of favour at Upton Park during the 06/07 season.

Satisfied as, though he may not be a top-class full back, or even near that level, he’s been a consistently good Premier League full-back for a few years now, especially so since playing under Hodgson. It’s a safe transfer from the new manager- he knows what he’s getting. I’ve heard people say that by signing Salcido as Konchesky’s replacement, Fulham have gone one better and that it was the Mexican international that Liverpool should have signed. Salcido may have impressed at the World Cup and has been a regular for PSV for a few years, but as always when signing players from abroad there is a question over whether or not they’ll successfully adapt to the English game. No worries there with Konchesky. That the other ‘big’ clubs may not have considered him is a fair and correct point, but at the same time would Ancellotti consider signing John O’Shea, or Wenger consider signing Paulo Ferreira, both of whom started their respective team’s previous Premier League outings? Highly doubtful.

Quietly optimistic because there’s a sense of déjà-vu here, like we’ve been here before, which indeed we have. In 2003 Liverpool signed a full back from Fulham for approximately £3.5m, and that turned out to be a shrewd piece of business. Steve Finnan may not have grabbed the headlines or set fans pulses racing when he moved to Anfield, but yet the Irish right-back became one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers, a fan favourite and a mainstay in the team that won the European Cup and FA Cup in successive seasons, and reached the European Cup final again in 2007. He was, above all else, reliable, and was voted in the clubs ‘Team of the Decade’. And it is that reliability which the Liverpool team is calling out for at the moment. The signing of right-back Glen Johnson for £18m last summer did grab the headlines, and fired further the optimism among fans that had been fuelled by the clubs 2nd place finish the previous season, but despite his obvious ability the inconsistency in his performances- tearing up the right flank one week then getting torn up himself the next- didn’t help in a team that lost its way early on and eventually stumbled to 7th place finish. With the ownership of the club seemingly stuck at a crossroads and resources thin on the ground, Hodgson needs to steady the Anfield ship and produce a team that, though on paper may seem weaker following the departure of Javier Mascherano, can be stronger and more consistent on the pitch and improve on last season’s results. It may be a sign of how the standards have dropped, but let’s have some perspective here- under the current owners there was very little available in the transfer kitty. Konchesky, at £3.5m, is good value, low risk and, should he continue where he left off under Hodgson, will provide a consistency and reliability at left back that has been missing for too long.

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  1. Brush

    8 September, 2010 at 09:30

    He’s reliable allright, reliably average. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, he is at the fag end of a fairly ordinary career and has been given a 4 year contract. He has only played for low ranking clubs because he doesn’t have enough ability to perfom at the highest level. By signing him, Hodgson confirmed his ambition for the club – mid table where he’s comfortable. I don’t think he understands the magnitude of his job. The signing of the well past it 30 year old Poulsen simply emphasises this. Hodgson’s team has been woeful in all the games so far (although Arsenal was a decent effort). His tactical awareness is limited to trying to get something from the ‘big boys’ and battling with the average teams. He is the wrong man for LFC. I hope I’m wrong!

  2. Red Rob

    8 September, 2010 at 09:49

    I just wonder why Roy signed Aurelio if he seems determined not to play him and would rather play Agger in that role.

    Only a fool would be anything more than disappointed with the signing of Konchesky he is not good enough too old and obviously lacks potential.

    He’s a typical Hicks and Gillett signing in fact and this kind of signing is going to take us away from the fight for a European place let alone Champions League place and down towards the relegation zone.

  3. The Manana Man

    8 September, 2010 at 10:43

    I love Liverpool Football Club, but the above comments are exactly why I hate Liverpool fans! They call themselves the best, most passionate, most loyal and most knowledgeable in the country, but writing comment like,

    ‘Only a fool would be anything more than disappointed with the signing of Konchesky he is not good enough too old and obviously lacks potential’

    Is completely ridiculous! Do we have 15mil plus to spend on a world class left back, no! Is Konchesky better than what we have/had last year? Yes!

    Its about time some of these ‘so called’ knowledgeable fans realised, that at the moment we can compete with the big boys financially, so we need to build a team, and thats what Roy is doing, buying solid players who will run through brick walls for him! A season of stability is what is needed, and thats what we will get.

  4. Cruyff

    8 September, 2010 at 10:48

    Who else could we have signed?
    Unfortunately we don’t have any good left backs coming through the ranks (other than Robinson – but he’s too young and unproven) for Roy to have even taken a gamble on one of them. Also if he was gonna take a gamble on one of the kids, he might aswell keep Insua for another year. I think a year away will do him the world of ggod and in the meantime Konchesky will plug a hole and allow Agger to play CB where he is best. Should Arsenal decide they want to sell Gibbs, then bonus, I’d welcome him with open arms, but feel this is unlikely. The reality is we had no money and hardly any English players.

    It kills me to say it but I’m afraid guys that we have to face reality and that is until we start putting in some solid performances and showing people that Liverpool are a team to be recognised, no half decent player is even gonna consider risking their career to come to us.

  5. MB LFC

    8 September, 2010 at 11:13

    Sure Konchesky has been off the radar of the big clubs for years now but he’s a good left back and good cover for Aurelio. I can understand the disappointment, we were hardly fighting off mega bucks Real Madrid & co for his signature.. just give him a chance and if Liverpool find a sugar daddy i’m sure a truly world class left back (other than injury prone Aurelio) will be in the team by next season..

  6. Mike76

    8 September, 2010 at 13:40

    Despite the authors optimism I’m still not convinced. Of course I will give him time to adjust, but being a premiership player already, he shouldn’t need that time. But we’ll see, personally I would have rather signed an exciting foreign player like Salcido.

    And on Steve Finnan. I think the situation is different. Finnan, to my mind was regarded as a very good right back and an established international player at Fulham. That’s the difference. Konchesky may be ‘solid’ but I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen him get skinned, nutmegged or left behind an opposition player. Again, hopefully, these things have gone from his game and he will prove to be a shrewd purchase.

    What I am really, really fuming about is letting Aquilani go just when we were hoping to see the best of him. I understand this is a financial decision by the club as they would have had to pay Roma more cash based on appearances, if so, this is a disgrace. I am very upset with Roy for loaning out such a quality player who was showing promise at the end of last season. Fully fut, he could have been amazing for us. Very, very disappointed.

  7. Dean

    10 September, 2010 at 08:56

    He is reliable which is what a team in transition needs. Good signing

  8. marcusliddell

    16 September, 2010 at 22:38

    I like your point about would Ancelotti sign John O’Shea or Wenger sign Ferreira. Every good team needs a few players who just do a solid job and are cogs in the machine.

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