Kenny only chasing the best

The Scot accepts there will be some movement in and out but he will

not settle for anything less than the best in terms of new

arrivals. Less than a year ago the club was going through a

tumultuous time with manager Rafael Benitez having left and the

search for new owners still a few months away from completion.

Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett were trying to manage huge

interest payments on loans they had taken out and new boss Roy

Hodgson, having sold Javier Mascherano and Albert Riera and loaned

out the likes of Alberto Aquilani and Emiliano Insua, was unable to

replace like-for-like in the transfer market. The arrivals of

Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky, aged 30

and 29 at the time, did little to quell the growing feeling of

concern at where things were heading at Anfield, although Raul

Meireles has since turned out to be a decent signing. But since

Fenway Sports Group’s buyout in October the future looks healthier

both on the pitch and in terms of the bank balance and Dalglish has

stressed the club will no longer settle for second-best when it

comes to transfers. “The people we’ll be looking at are of the

highest calibre, because the players here have done really well

since January,” said Dalglish. “It would be disrespectful to them

not for us not to be looking at a higher level. “We’ve had a great

end to the season. There will be lots of work done in the close

season and we’ll take it from there. “Although it might affect

them, players themselves expect new faces to come in and give the

place a lift. It’ll happen and they know it’ll happen. “If we get

some quality people in to go along with the people already here

that will help everyone – it always helps to freshen up the

dressing room. “But if we’re bringing anyone in they’ve got to be

better than what we’ve got – and that’s going to be a big ask.” And

while Dalglish and director of football Damien Comolli cast their

nets far and wide in an attempt to secure the best players the

manager revealed some solutions may lie closer to home. One of the

first things Hodgson did when he took over in July was trim the

squad, with Alberto Aquilani, Emilio Insua, Philipp Degen and Nabil

El Zhar among those sent out on loan. Aquilani’s departure was the

most high-profile, having arrived in a £17million deal the

previous summer, but the deadline for Juventus to sign the Italy

international permanently has now passed with the Serie A side

apparently unwilling to meet the club’s valuation of the player.

Dalglish is a known admirer of the 26-year-old and if he is not

sold the Reds boss believes he could be like a new signing for the

team. “There’s a distinct possibility he could be back here. He’s a

quality player,” he added. “He got off to a bad start here with his

injuries and never really got going after missing pre-season. “He

went out on loan and has done very well over there. If he was to

come back here, for me that would be like a new face coming in.”

Dalglish accepts he has some big decisions to make on a number of

players, both those who have been out on loan and some within his

squad who have been on the fringe of things since his arrival four

months ago, such as Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic. Those he has

worked with on a daily basis will be easier to assess than those

with whom he has only seen from his seat in the stands in his

previous role as academy ambassador. “They are still our players

unless someone comes and takes them away from us,” said the Scot.

“We’ve got to assess what we need, and that includes the players

who have been out on loan. “They’ll assess where they’ve been and

the other club will assess them. “Alberto is the highest profile

but we’ve got decisions to make on those players but it may be

dictated to be someone else making up their own mind. “We’ve not

had time to sit down and discuss the players who have been out on

loan apart from Alberto.”