IN a little over 24 hours the transfer window SLAMS SHUT and football clubs up and down the country will have to make do with the footballers they have. Well until January 1 at least.
Liverpool may ship out a few more before then (any hopes Mario?) but it doesn’t look like we will be bringing any in. It’s a long time since we’ve had an exciting transfer deadline night, with Andy Carroll in a helicopter and 100,000 Reds with Torres 9 Liverpool shirts praying the fax machine broke at Stamford Bridge.
The last few transfer windows have seen an anxious Sky Sports News reporter desperately trying to pretend something might happen at Liverpool as the security lock up around him.
It would be nice perhaps, for once, if the powers that be work until midnight this time, just in case. Tottenham Hotspur once signed Rafael Van de Vaart from Real Madrid out of nowhere as the asking price suddenly tumbled. Now this won’t happen every time, of course. But you’ve got a better chance if your Chief Executive is in Melwood thinking rather than Popworld drinking.
But, unless something appealing comes up last minute, Liverpool will be going in with roughly what we’ve got. Which Jack Lusby from This is Anfield helpfully summarised in a tweet today as thus:
— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) August 30, 2016
Alright isn’t it? Some good players. Some very good ones. Some that might develop over the year. Seems a bit light in certain areas though, doesn’t it? Left back. Centre back and probably central midfield. Which incidentally are all areas most Liverpool fans wanted strengthening in May…still though. New goalkeeper!
In terms of what we have spent, it depends who you listen to on prices. Who knows exactly when you consider add-ons, signing on fees and the odd dropsy for the agent. But the site Transfer Markt have us spending £67.92m and recouping £63.16m.
This is before the Luis Alberto transfer, which, should it go through as expected, puts us on about £0 net spend. Now I don’t know if they are perfect, but anyone who lists Brad Smith’s transfer fee as £3.06m certainly has an eye for detail worth taking seriously. Plus they are neutral (I think) so we’ll go with them.
So what does this all mean? Well it looks better. But I remember saying that in 2010 when I thought Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic would be an upgrade on Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera. So you have to be careful on these things.
But overall it is difficult not to be a touch underwhelmed. During the spring the papers were full of talk of a Jurgen Klopp revolution this summer. Of potential £100m war chests and signings to revolutionise the club. Now the numbers discussed seemed fanciful at the time, but I expected them to be higher than zero.
Everyone accepted that it might take Klopp time to succeed at Liverpool. However, by spending modestly in the summer everyone at the club is arguably putting more pressure on themselves. It can be frustrating, in times of unparalleled Premier League wealth and Championship clubs spending eight-figure sums almost routinely, to see Liverpool reluctant to splash the cash. Especially as others that have done just that in the Premier League start strongly.
Football fans would rather see the money on the pitch, not in the bank. Especially given the common consensus that certain positions have needed sorting forever. It is one thing waiting around for the perfect left back, but surely something is better than nothing?
Fans are more patient if we have something to buy into. They’ll give time to a Brazilian left back who comes with a big reputation if he needs time to settle. They’ll give less to the idea of trying to convert a right-footed midfielder who doesn’t seem to fancy playing there.
Maybe this is silly, but football fans are emotional and the current manager understands that better than anyone. They equate low spending and gaps in the squad to a lack of ambition. Fans start talking about how TV revenue is being used to pay for the new stand, rather than interest-free loans. Or that owners are trying to make the books look good to attract investment or a sale. Check Twitter, it’s happening already.
The argument against all this is that this is what Klopp wants. That he could spend money but doesn’t wish to. I remember that argument being used about Arsene Wenger. As soon as their stadium was paid off he spent £42m on Mesut Ozil and £35m on Alexis Sanchez in successive summers. Football is a lie, and it’s hard not to be cynical.
FSG know that disappointing ends to a transfer window can cause unrest in Liverpool. They’ve had to write open letters to the fan base before stating how hard they are working to bring players in. Klopp understands momentum at a football club and the power a support base who believes can have. I’m surprised that between them they aren’t more interested in bringing in one more belter. Somewhere on the pitch. That shows the supporters, players and everyone else that we mean business this season.
They can’t tell me that there isn’t money knocking about. They can’t tell me that some of the money they have managed to get for outgoing players hasn’t been a bit of a shock (nice one, Bournemouth). There must be a temptation, not just to buy anyone, but to use it to push the boat out on someone they like. Maybe throw a few more quid on a player you have earmarked for the future and get them in now.
If they don’t then I hope, for everyone’s sake, but not least theirs, that Liverpool have a good September and October. If not then pressure might come a bit quicker than people expect. Why don’t we have more points? Why isn’t the squad better? Why didn’t we improve it more when we had the chance? We all knew we needed a bloody left back!
If that happens then a few extra quid might become turn into something very costly indeed.
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