Sunday Speculation: Barry for £8m?

The Sunday tabloids usually give us some good old rumours and speculation, thankfully of late it’s all been good news for Liverpool fans following Rafa Benitez’s new long-term deal and more signs of stability at the club with his backroom staff all getting new deals.

Add the fact Rafa has admitted the club have made an enquiry about Valencia midfielder David Silva and Liverpool fans will be pleased to see the calibre of player we are being linked with.

A lot of Sunday speculation thesedays arrives from former Liverpool Echo journo Chris Bascombe since his controversial deflection to the News of the World tabloid. He again has two LFC related articles today.

The first is regarding our shirt sponsorship deal with Danish brewers Carlsberg. That deal expires next summer and Bascombe reports we are are pursuing a record sponsorship deal which could net £60million over four years, which would eclipse United and Chelsea‘s current deals.

Bascombe’s next piece re-ignites the Gareth Barry saga. He claims Benitez will again look to sign the Aston Villa midfielder this summer, with a cut-price £8m move as his contract only has a year left to run. Bascombe claim’s Rafa no longer wants Barry as a replacement for Alonso but as a utility player for centre midfield, left midfield and left back.

Personally, id love to see Barry arrive as a so-called utility player. I said many times last summer that any pursuit of Barry should be as an addition to what we already have and therefore improve the squad, not as a replacement for Alonso. Now Alonso has proved his worth it seems Rafa likes the idea too. It’s not like he wouldn’t get many games, he’d probably play a large percent and I’d prefer him as our third choice midfielder than Lucas and brilliant back-up for Riera and Aurelio/Insua on the left.

Another left-footed Englishman is again linked with a move to Anfield, although im not so sure we should be interested in him, is Stewart Downing. With Boro staring relegation firmly in the face the England winger is almost certain to move this summer even if they do stay up. I just don’t see why we need a player so similar to one we already have in Albert Riera.

AggerMeanwhile, The Mirror claim Daniel Agger will reject a long-term contract offer this week. The 24 year old centre back’s contract only has a year left to run after this summer so if a deal can’t be agreed he will be sold before his worth further declines.

Personally, I don’t understand why he won’t sign a new deal. We’ve stuck by him while he’s missed most of the last two years through injury and as great as Carra is, he can only have a season or two left as our first choice centre back. Quite soon we’re going to see a Skrtel-Agger partnership developing and Agger just needs to be patient. The Agger-Skrtel combo looks impressive to me and could be the spine of our defence for years to come – one ball playing, Hansen-esque and another no-nonsense, Mascherano-esque!

Elsewhere, there’s praise for Steven Gerrard after his performance on the left of midfield for England last night in their 4-0 win over Slovakia. Unfortunately Skrtel didn’t look that great for the Slovaks but Gerrard played the first half and caused plenty of problems.

It was also a good night for Dirk Kuyt, he scored Holland’s third from the penalty spot as they beat Scotland 3-0. Mascherano, Hyypia and Agger all played 90 minutes for their countries. Benayoun played 77 minutes before picking a slight injury for Israel.