REMEMBER the transfer committee? Remember how much we hated it and everything that it bought? Remember how we mistrusted all those shadowy figures that we had never really heard of and whose roles we didn’t really understand?
Don’t seem quite so suspicious now that the majority of the lads that they bought look uncannily like the best bloody football team in the country does it? Doesn’t worry us as much now that we’re winning games all over the place and sticking the ball in the back of the net every time we feel like it, now that we have “the second best front three in world football”. (That’s copyright me about a week ago but Chrissy Waddle jumped on the bandwagon pretty bloody sharp.)
Maybe, just maybe, the transfer committee was actually a really good thing just waiting for the right man to work with it, the right coach to strike the right balance. Perhaps a coach who had worked, very successfully, under a similar arrangement where he took the lads that were signed because of obvious ability despite the suspicions of others and turned them into superstars.
The promotion of Michael Edwards to the role of Anfield’s first ever sporting director has to be seen as the ultimate vindication of the model that the owners wanted to put in from day one.
Go on, throw the FSG apologist comments in, I haven’t been called one of those for ages. Not since the Burnley game. Not since we started on that unbeaten run that we’re still on because of all those decent players that we put into the team when everyone was complaining about a negative net spend and not buying a left back or a defensive midfielder and how our owners were unfit to run the club and suddenly the Glazers were being held up as a decent example because they’d at least gone out and spent big on Pogba. How’s that one working out again?
Really wish I hadn’t been so handy with the block button on Twitter that weekend, I’d love to have a little chat with some of those lads at the moment.
Sorry, wandered off the track, got into how the owners might actually be doing a decent job that might see us picking up number 19 in May when I meant to be talking about how the transfer committee possibly even works.
And let’s talk again about how there’s basically always been a transfer committee at Liverpool, it’s just that we used to call it the boot room. Anyone really think Bill made all the decisions on his own? Bill, Bob, Tom Saunders, Reuben Bennett, Geoff Twentyman. They looked at lads, they checked them out, they made decisions together.
And that’s what Michael Edwards and his team, this team that’s helped put together all the talent we’re seeing in the first team, the under-23s, the youth teams, are doing now. Have been doing for a while. All the reports are accompanied by the tacit understanding that Edwards and his analytical team are the men who were responsible for bringing in Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Emre Can, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge; you know, all those lads that we all like quite a bit.
Maybe the transfer committee was never an issue, maybe the only problem was that they didn’t quite fit with the manager at the time.
Klopp’s happy with the idea of working with a sporting director. He’s said so, very openly. He worked well with Zorc at Dortmund and every indication seems to be that he sees a similar relationship with Michael Edwards, down to the fact that the offices of the two are only yards apart at Melwood.
And nothing changes. Not really. Klopp highlights the areas that he wants to improve and has final say on who comes in, Edwards does everything else. And that ‘everything else’ seems pretty well executed so far.
While we thought that Ian Ayre had spent the summer very quietly playing a blinder in the transfer market as a way of saying goodbye to us it appears that it was all Edwards. Tony Barrett reports that it was Edwards who led the negotiations that saw Benteke, Allen and Ibe go out the door while £56m came in in their place.
We’ve come a long way from the point where Michael Edwards was being described as the keyboard warrior who was destabilising Brendan Rodgers to the point where he can stand next to Jürgen Klopp as one of the men reshaping the fabric of the club. And the most impressive thing is this — there appears to be very few negative voices whinging about the appointment.
Whisper it very quietly lest the ‘anti-everything FSG related’ (they still do plenty wrong, they don’t do everything wrong) come screaming out of the woodwork but one year into Jürgen’s reign we appear to be rebuilding the club structure with every intention of building a dynasty.