One of the happy by-products of this summer’s changes at Liverpool Football Club is that I find myself completely at ease as we near the end of the summer transfer window.
Commolli is gone, half-assed statistical notions of what constitutes ‘good’ are gone, and in their place we have clarity. I open my browser, click the shortcut to the football news, and see Lucas is ruled out for two to three months. Last year that would have triggered genuine anxiety; this year I find myself simply feeling bad for the man himself, and eager to see how he’ll fit when he returns.
Where things were once inscrutible, we now have clarity. Where things were worrisome, we now have calm.
It’s a weird place to be, isn’t it?
The thing is, regardless of whatever it was that led us to hiring Brendan Rodgers, we hired him, and when we did that, we installed clarity. We have a clear idea of what our system will be. We have a clear idea of the roles that interact within that system. We know the attributes needed in a player to fulfil each of those roles. And last but not least, we’ve now proven we’re buying and promoting players based solely on those attributes.
We have a structure, and with that structure, we have a chance of defining clearly what ‘value’ means to us in the transfer market.
Say we do nothing from this point on (I’m writing this at lunch time on Wednesday). The next window will be along in January. How do you think we’d fare?
Or say we manage to ship out a few faces. There’s talk that Spearing will leave, and there’s all manner of gossip on the fate of Adam, and Cole, and Carroll. Say we shipped a few out. How do you think we’d fare?
Or say, taking that eventuality a step further, we take whatever funds are generated or lying down the back of the sofa, and we bolster our attacking options. Would we be likely to hire the right people? For reasonable value? Would the fees raise eyebrows? Beyond the hysterical nutjobs I mean?
I find myself in a place where I honestly believe we’d fare pretty well in each of the circumstances described above. Ideally we’ll see the last option come to pass. But with the structure in place, we suddenly have a framework that allows us to really figure out what ‘value’ means for us.
That was the biggest signing we could ever have made this summer, and the one we’d all hoped for when Commolli got his jotters.
I’ve not quite mustered the will to switch off the Browser completely yet – it’s just too entertaining. But at least this year I’ll be viewing from my happy place.