Thursday, October 20, 2005
Liverpool finally secure deal for Gonzalez
Liverpool have reached an agreement to sign Chilean winger Mark Gonzalez - but the earliest he will be unable to play for them is next season.
And even then, revealed chief executive Rick Parry, 'the deal is subject to
him meeting all eligibility requirements.'
That puts into perspective what is potentially a £4million move from Albacete
which was wrecked earlier this season when the British Government threw out
Liverpool's application for a work permit.
When they applied, Gonzalez was recovering from a snapped cruciate knee
ligament and would not have been fit to play until January.
It meant they went to the work permit hearing with just a loan deal plus an
option, and Government officials frankly told the club the player was not good
That enraged Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, who had scouted the youngster for
a year and intended putting him straight into the first team squad.
But the application was thrown out, and Parry confirmed Liverpool cannot apply
again until next summer.
But now Liverpool have at least been able to announce that a complete deal is
in place, although Parry insists that it has not been formally signed.
Liverpool issued a statement saying: 'Following the player's knee injury, the
original intention was to take him on loan with an option to make the deal
'As Mark is recovering well, a loan deal is no longer an issue and we have
agreed a long term contract to bring him to Anfield.
'However, he will only play for Liverpool once he obtains either a work
permit or European passport.'
By next summer Gonzalez will have qualified for a Spanish passport by
residency. However, that could take several months to come through - therefore
Liverpool will apply for a work permit to allow him to play until the passport
is received with a four-year deal in place.
Parry also confirmed 'there is no chance of us being able to apply again in
the January transfer window.'
But by then Gonzalez will be playing again in Spain, and he may well be loaned
out from Albacete to a club of Liverpool's choice in Spain to gain further
experience before arriving on Merseyside.
Gonzalez has returned to Chile overnight, where he is continuing his
rehabilitation, and said he was grateful to Liverpool for their patience.
The winger said he was 'surprised because not all teams would wait for a
player as they did'.
He explained 'Only the biggest teams do that. Now, I have to respond to their
confidence with football.'
Liverpool chief scout Paco Herrera has previously told the Liverpool Echo:
'Mark Gonzalez is a footballer that has interested us for some time.
'We could initiate the necessary procedures to agree to buy him. No longer do
we speak of a loan, but of the final purchase of the player.
'I worked at Albacete a year before Gonzalez signed, but I know the player
'There were a lot of recommendations made to me about him and I've watched
the player many times. He has a lot of speed and has great strength of character
'Everyone who's seen him says he is a rough diamond who needs to be polished
and I think he is good enough to go straight into the first team.'