Riedle offers saving grace for Liverpool

German secured at bargain price

from "The Times"

LIVERPOOL yesterday completed a transfer deal with many significant aspects by paying £1.8 million for the German international striker, Karl Heinz Riedle, of Borussia Dortmund. 

In the first place, it brings the Merseyside club's spending to £12 million this summer, Roy Evans, their manager, having already acquired Paul Ince from Internazionale, Oyvind Leonhardsen from Wimbledon and Danny Murphy from Crewe Alexandra. The arrival of Riedle has also moved the bookmakers to rate Liverpool as second favourites to Manchester United to win the FA Carling Premiership. 

Certainly it is a great saving for Liverpool, by comparison with the £7 million or more they would have had to pay for their first choice, Fabrizio Ravanelli, of Middlesbrough.
Riedle is 31 and has cost significantly less than Teddy Sheringham, also 31, for whom Manchester United paid Tottenham Hotspur £3.5 million, not to mention another 31-year-old, Les Ferdinand, for whom Tottenham paid Newcastle United £6 million this week. 

Of Riedle's quality there is no doubt. He headed two fine goals for Dortmund in their surprising European Cup final victory in May against Juventus. Such talent will be rewarded to the tune of £20,000 per week. 

Although Dortmund are well covered in the strike positions, with the Switzerland international, Stephane Chapuisat, and the promising Lars Ricken, the question arises as to why they should allow a player still in contract and scorer of those two vital goals to sign a three-year deal with Liverpool. 

The answer may be that for all his manifest talents, Riedle, who has scored 16 goals for Germany in 42 internationals, has often been subject to injury, particularly in his days with Lazio, in Rome, when he so often seemed to be heading home for treatment. 

The negative side of the transfer, and another significant one, is that it will presumably keep Liverpool's most brilliant young prospect, the 17-year-old centre forward, Michael Owen, out of the team. 

Evans has prepared the ground by saying it is doubtful that a player as young as Owen would be able to slog his way through a full season. The same thing might well be said, for different reasons, about Riedle, so the precocious Owen could still get his chance beside that other gifted Liverpudlian, Robbie Fowler. 

Copyright - The Times - 31 July 1997

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