Rodgers on the Pop?
It is widely suggested that Brendan Rodgers has more than a fleeting admiration for the red-wine drinking, red knight from Stretford, but he himself must have had a few over the last couple of weeks based upon news emanating from Anfield over the last few days.
Centre-back supreme, Daniel Agger is not for sale at £13m, not even at £20m, but maybe at a staggering £23m...oh an plus Adam Johnson - at least on loan.
What is all that about? 'Well, Mr Carroll, you don't fit into my plans, you'll have to go'
'Er, Brendan, he cost us £35m'
' Never mind gaffer we'll get the loot off City if they sign Agger'
'Why do you want a winger if we are getting rid of our big man up front'
'Er, leave it with me gaffer. Trust me'
Brendan Rodgers must think Sheikh Mansour has just got off the boat. When the project began at City it was about getting excellent footballers in quickly and City being held to some sort of ransom by the ceding clubs.
The project is at least one season ahead of schedule and now all that is really needed is tinkering, or smart additions. At £10-13m in today's market I would have been interested in Agger, but at £23m did I see a giraffe go past the window?
Clearly with Carroll poised for the ejector seat, the board are presenting Rodgers with his first stern test of how life is at Anfield, with a demand to recoup some of the lost money. They will have already forgotten that they took in £50m for Torres, effectively making £15m buying Carroll at £35m. But to expect City to form part of a Merseyside book-keeping exercise? Not likely.
And now tag along the idea of taking Johnson on loan? Why would he want to go there? 'To play regular first team football' I hear said. Johnson has quickly reached the pinnacle in his career in terms of who he plays for, or doesn't play for as the case may be. He has enjoyed extraordinary wealth, but he hasn't showed the desire to kick on as is necessary in any team managed by Roberto Mancini. As a result he did not get selected for Euro 2012.
Much of that is his own doing. Manchester City is not going to pay you untold sums of money for you to stick in the bank. It is an incentive to be a winner, a champion. Manchester City are delivering to these players what they wish for and in return the players have to reciprocate and return it to sender. If anyone doesn't wish to be part of this process then the exit chute beckons. But be told Johnno. The only way is down!
If Liverpool were to send Agger to City at £13m it would be a reasonable buy and you will see the lad improve by having to contend with Kompany and Lescott. But at any price beyond that it is a case of 'keep your money in your pocket, today, guys'.