In the first few months of the season, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Barcelona legend Victor Valdes, but despite allegedly being keen on a move to Anfield, Valdes ultimately chose to sign for Manchester United. Given the Reds’ poor record of signing proven, top-class players, the failure to seal the deal is no surprise whatsoever, and according to Guillem Balague, LFC’s legendary incompetence in the transfer market is the main reason Valdes rejected Anfield.
Speaking to Sky Sports today, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague claimed that he was ‘absolutely convinced’ that £7m-rated Valdes ‘was going to Liverpool’, adding:
“I have very good reasons to say so and I know a lot of people in Liverpool who also thought he was going, but he felt that he was being trialled at Anfield.
“Very cleverly, Louis van Gaal said ‘we’re not going to trial you – just come and train with us’, But in a way, it was the same thing. It was just the choice of words he used, so Valdes decided to go there instead”.
I can totally understand Valdes’ decision. The Spaniard is a multiple trophy winner with one of the greatest clubs on the planet, and Liverpool arguably demeaned his status as one of the best goalkeepers of the last ten years.
The decision to offer Valdes a ‘trial’ (if indeed that’s what happened) smacks of inexperience and amateurism, and Man United’s approach to the situation perfectly illustrates the difference between Van Gaal – a wily, experienced manager with a track record of success – and Rodgers, who is a comparative pauper in the game.
Yes, Valdes is recovering from a serious injury, but given his peerless experience, and undoubted ability, he deserved to be treated with more respect. Ultimately, when push came to shove, an exceedingly simple act of reverse psychology is all it took for Van Gaal to gain the upper hand.
Clearly, Liverpool didn’t make Valdes feel wanted enough, and that’s a recurring problem at Anfield. Indeed, over the last few years, several players – including Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Henrikh Mkhitarian – have hinted and/or explicitly stated the same thing, and until that issue is resolved, the Reds will continue to lose out on players.
In my view, the minute Valdes became available, Liverpool should’ve immediately offered him a six month deal, with the option to extend for another 2-3 years. That would’ve shown the club’s intent, and also given both parties six months to see how things work out.
Instead, Van Gaal – who recently hailed Valdes as a ‘special’ goalkeeper – swooped in and made a mug of Rodgers and his infernal transfer committee.
Now, with De Gea and Valdes, Man United arguably have the strongest goalkeeping options in the Premier League, if not Europe.
Liverpool have Mignolet and Jones.