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Diaby may yet make a comeback


Horncastle: Explaining Italy's big spending

Serie A
By ESPN Staff

Barnes takes realistic stance on Reds takeover

Former Liverpool winger John Barnes does not expect the world's top players to immediately arrive at Anfield if a takeover of the club leads to increased transfer funds.

Dubai International Capital (DIC) - a firm owned by the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai - have been given exclusive rights to launch a bid.

A takeover could lead to a move away from Anfield to a new stadium, and Barnes is confident chief executive Rick Parry and Liverpool officials will be looking after the club's best interests.

But Barnes is wary of expectations in the transfer market if a deal leads to money being invested in players, with Liverpool's struggle to mount a Premiership title challenge making other clubs more attractive.

'The answer is not just money because so many people have spent money before and not been successful, you have to get the right players and the right manager. That's the most important thing,' said Barnes, who played for Liverpool when they last won the title, in 1990.

'No matter what you say about Jose Mourinho, there are managers before who have spent - maybe not as much - and not been as successful because he is a very good manager.

'While it is very positive, the important thing is not to assume now that because this has happened Liverpool are going to win the league, because it won't just happen.

'As much as Liverpool will have money to spend, so do Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

'You ask yourself if players will go to Liverpool ahead of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal? That is debatable, so I look at it as a long-term improvement.

'If you have £200million to spend and Ronaldinho becomes available, he's going to go to Chelsea ahead of Liverpool, or Manchester United unfortunately.'

Although Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005, Barnes believes challenging Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premiership must be achieved before the biggest names can be attracted.

'It's a situation where Liverpool have to improve gradually to show the top players in the world that they can compete with the Chelseas in the league and Europe,' the former England international added.

'Being fourth or fifth in the league and then having money to spend is not really going to entice players because they will get the same salaries elsewhere.

'So they ask where I can go to be successful. Unfortunately Liverpool are still behind Manchester United and Chelsea, and Arsenal to a certain extent.'

Barnes and Peter Beardsley were high-profile signings for Liverpool in 1987 but since winning the title three years later, the club have not dominated domestic competition like they once did.

'At the time Liverpool were the best club in England and getting the best players in England, so you don't mind paying top dollar for the best players,' Barnes added.

'But you're not going to get the best players any more, and because of inflated transfer fees you may have to spend millions on players who aren't the best. You shouldn't spend money for the sake of it.'