Of seasonal mating rituals and Peter Crouch
The mating rituals of the transfer speculation season are a splendid site. The empurpling of the noses, the puffing out of chests, the lesser crested warbling and so on. But the crucial indicator that the season is upon us is the traditional sight of the setting of inflated prices by the dominant males.
And £15m for the well travelled 27-year-old, Peter Crouch, does feel inflated.
There are a number of clubs in need of a forward like Crouch, a difficult to play against player with an excellent strike rate at the highest level - Crouch should be a solid gold player. But at club after club Crouch has scored goals, before being released.
After being sold to QPR for a nominal fee as a 19-year-old by Tottenham in 2000, Crouch has played for six clubs - usually in the top flight. His transfer fees add up to £16m to date, the most significant being when Rafa Benitez paid £7m for him to join Liverpool in 2005, and when Graham Taylor took him to Villa for £5m in 2002.
But Crouch's three seasons on Merseyside are the most he has spent at any club as a professional. He has no reputation as a moaner, yet he never seems to fit in. Given his ability on the deck and his physical presence this is surprising; perhaps he doesn't have enough pace for some managers?
But to get back to mating rituals. Rafa Benitez could well be under some financial and player contraints this summer after the purchases of Skrtel, Mascherano, Torres, Babel, Voronin and Benayoun as well as younger talent like Lucas, Leto, Insua, Plessis and Itandje since last summer. After signing these eleven players the wage bill at Liverpool, never mind the transfer budget will be strained. And some players need to be moved on to allow the new signings some space.
Which is why Liverpool need to offload the likes of Riise, Crouch, Carson, Kewell etc. Rafa Benitez knows that he needs fresh blood for the long awaited title challenge (that he really should mount in his fifth season at Anfield). A well publicised £15m price tag is unlikely to be the end of the matter and an offer of around £11m would probably be enough to bag the easily spotted Crouchus Crouchus, Biggus Manus Withus Goodus Touchus.
Well, well, well..... O dear.
If Crouch has to leave, it must cost the buyer a bundle. 15 million calms my nerves. I dont want him to leave. He is a different type striker.