HERE we are then. Knee deep in it. The summer. The silly season. Call it what you will.
It’s that time we all wait and watch and hope. Checking the news and the gossip columns for signs of life. Hoping that Liverpool can do the deals that will create a buzz for August. Praying The Reds sign the players that can make a difference. Desperate for the club to show some real ambition in the transfer market
Football and money are strange bedfellows. You could argue with some validity, and plenty do, that what’s important is what takes place on the pitch – the 11 men going to do battle backed by the partisan crowd and geed up by the clued-up manager. They’ve always got a chance of achievement regardless, right?
Right. But, chances are, those 11 men doing battle have got more of a chance if they cost a bit and if they’re paid a bit. We can point to examples of the underdog punching above its weight. But more often than that the fat cats win out. Money isn’t the only route to success. But it certainly helps.
In 2017, it feels like there are less secrets in football than ever before. The Reds have sneaked through a little mentioned deal today for Chelsea youth player Dom Solanke but can they really be expected to do the same when it comes to improving the first 11 with big money buys?
While we’re not into double figures of days since the curtain fell on the last Premier League season, we’re already more than aware of the players Liverpool hope to lure to Anfield this summer: Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita, Douglas Costa, Kalidou Koulibaly, Julian Brandt, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – all fairly certain to be on Jürgen Klopp’s ‘radar’, if not certs to be paid for from the ‘war chest’.
The problem Liverpool is that all of those players are likely to be on other club’s ‘radars’ too. And the selling clubs know it. Meanwhile, agents swirl around in these dangerous waters, thirsty for greater wealth, pushing for that more lucrative deal. They might be nailed-on targets, making them nailed-on transfers is much more difficult.
And at some point, Klopp, Michael Edwards and whoever else is involved in the signing of the cheques is going to have to decide when and where to go big. And that in itself is exciting but not without its difficulties.
As fans, we can easily sell the club to ourselves. Back in the Champions League, albeit with a qualifier to negotiate. With a great manager at the helm. With a promising squad, great fans, a new stand and so on and so on. Why wouldn’t you sign for The Reds? Well you would if you were a fanatical supporter of them. But a host of supporters of rival clubs, at home and abroad, will be saying the same. And the most of the players targeted will have little to no love of Liverpool.
Which brings it all back to the money. The hair-tearing wait for a title at Liverpool goes on and the mental scars on the support have been so clear so many times. It’s clearly got on Klopp’s tits at times. But without the big pot back at Anfield it’s unlikely to ever truly go away. We need that relief, that let-off – that big weight removed from shoulders.
So Klopp and co must try to win the unfair game – one currently weighted to just the place we wouldn’t want it to be. Manchester.
A list published over the weekend by Nick Harris (@sportingintel) showed that of the 15 biggest buys by English clubs only one of them, in 15th place in terms of value, wore the Liverpool red: Andy Carroll (£35m).
Of the rest, 12 ended up at Manchester City (eight) or Manchester United (four). Chelsea, with Fernando Torres (£50m), and Arsenal, with Mesut Ozil (£42.5m), make up the numbers in the big 15.
Manchester's buying power: 80% of most expensive PL players (12/15) have been bought by City (8) or United (4). And surely more this summer. pic.twitter.com/kFQXDgPOLv
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) May 26, 2017
What constitutes hit, miss and maybe is up for grabs on some of the number, but when clubs are consistently forking out big figures for big players – and inflating the market by doing so – it means Liverpool are likely to have to ditch any thoughts of being frugal this summer.
It may be Fenway Sports Group’s preferred approach to buy young and buy early, and Solanke certainly fits the bill on that score. It may be against Klopp’s ideal to spend big money regularly when he prefers to nurture and improve. But otherwise how do you improve on what we have?
Everyone will have a player they would like to see moved on, or who they think Liverpool can improve on. But the regulars in Klopp’s side secured 76 points and fourth place in the season just gone, for a side that was on television more than any other.
With the prize money and TV cash that brings, and the riches on the horizon should Champions League group stages football become a reality, Liverpool will surely twist rather than stick in the transfer market. It’s just a case of when and for who, with what wage and what fee. Klopp could undoubtedly sell a vision to anyone but it might have to be accompanied by a club record amount of cold, hard cash.
Some may wince at that – a not so beautiful fact about the beautiful game. But a club record signing is a statement in itself. It says Liverpool mean business. That Liverpool aren’t fucking about. That next season everyone involved at the top level believes there is a chance to challenge and that’s focusing minds to get deals done. They’re giving the manager what they want.
For all the negativity money – spending it unwisely, not spending it, not being ambitious with it – can bring, it can also bring around a childish summer joy. Like when you got the silver club badge in the pack of Panini stickers. Or when you unwrapped your first proper footie.
A record signing. Imagine that. He must be good. He looks great in the red. He’s gonna be great on the pitch. I can’t wait for August. The Reds are going to be boss…
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
Like The Anfield Wrap on Facebook
I’m all for us spending big on any/all the players you mentioned, but I also want to see us do what Juventus have done by stocking veteran talent, proven winners for bargain deals. Juve convinced those winners to buy in to their project, and they get better each year while winning.
I have no doubt City and United will look scary, but both teams are surprisingly fragile mentally. City even more than United. Chelsea on the other have (who also only have one player on your list) have a very strong winning mindset, much as I hate to admit it, and they’ll finish above both Manchester clubs again because of it.
So yes, spend big and compete for the hot names. But I also want to see winners coming to Liverpool for slightly less than they’d get in Manchester, in order to play for a club on the rise, for the best manager in football, and on a team they want to play with.
Can you elaborate on what Juventus have done? Not very across them or Serie A, intrigued to hear about their approach of recent years. Cheers.
They have picked up grade a talent who’s contract has ended or for very cheap; Daniel Alves from Barca for example.
It is easier to get people into the club when you are ridding high and Jive clearly are.
Spending a lot of money is no guarantee of quality or how good a fit that player is for your side. Half of the transfers in that tweet can scarcely be called a success!
Klopp’s buys last season have all performed pretty much as expected, if not more. I trust him to bring in the right players regardless of price
agree – I don’t see the point in spending 60m quid just for the sake of spending 60m quid to give the fans a boost, there is more to it than that. The lad(s) has to be right. If we are going to try and play ball with the big boys, the one advantage they have that often gets overlooked is that they can afford to get it wrong. We can’t. We simply cannot afford to buy a couple of 50-60m lads who don’t work out – either financially or for the development of this side. One bad season and its back to square one with a couple of sizeable transfer losses on the horizon.
If the right lad is available, fits the model Klopp wants and Klopp feels he is the only person he wants – then by all means go and do it, but only if this is the case.
The correlation between squad value and league position at the end of the season suggests spending a lot of money is exactly what you have to do to guarantee both domestic and European victory
Just think of Huddersfield’s shoe string budget, the type of players he brought in (1860’s bottom second tier players – where Ayre just resigned after 2 months) and where he got with that.
I fully agree with @Jamie: There won’t be a revolution but an evolution. At the end, it doesn’t matter who The Reds get in, but nonetheless, I understand that the supporters need some “marquee” signing to calm the nerves and make a statement.
Forgot the word “David Wagner” as in “he”.
We don’t need to play the silly game all summer. Just 1 or 2 marqué signings who will act as the catalyst to really kick start the season. Someone battle-hardened with a bit of silverware behind him who can instill that winning mentality into the rest of the team.
Klopp will be given £65m, plus any profit from sales. I exopect 4-5 signings, none over 25, none over £15m
FSG will not change their transfer policy
Funny. What do you imagine FSG’s transfer policy is?
Were Milner, Toure, Manninger, Klavan and Lambert brought in under that policy? Were Carroll, Mane, Suarez, Lallana, Benteke, Firmino, Lovren and Wijnaldum brought in under that policy.
Explain the policy again?
None over £15mil coz that’s their policy?
So we won’t be signing the likes of Mané, Wij, Firmino, Lovren, Lallana etc etc?
Liverpool have always been in the shadow of Mu commercially and have never, until recently paid the highest wages, even in the glory years the club was able to attract the players they wanted because of that success. Fans who went to Anfield on match days must remember the shop in the corner of the main car park, at Old Trafford they had a megastore. Liverpool also gambled on continued success and/or participation in the European Champions cup(Liverpool always achieved this, they qualified as league champions, or won the Champions cup). After Heysel, deprived of participation in European completion, whilst the success continued the club stayed ahead of the pack on the field, but when the successes dried up we realty fell behind, and have been playing catch up ever since.
@Gareth. Would love to compare the 15 biggest sells by English clubs with the 15 biggest buys you’ve got up. I’m betting it paints an even bigger picture about how our transfers have worked
I take your main point, the same one every year from somebody on the internet, about a marquee signing. But as you conclude with “record signing. Imagine that. He must be good. He looks great in the red” the guy on the list of 15 you use to slate the club is Carroll! That’s what you think we need? Please. Let’s have Klopp help select the players he wants for the system and if that includes one or more record signings, so be it.
But if not, I’ll be able to wait and see how they fit into the system.
Lolz we aren’t getting VVD, Keita or in fact any of the targets listed on that RAWK transfer page – they are all players coveted by wealthier and (recently) more successful clubs than us. As selling points we have a 4th place finish and Klopp – who (although I love the man) has lost 5 cups in a row and hasn’t won top silverware in 5 years.
I’m sure we’ll bring in players to better the squad but I don’t believe it’s going to be a ‘record summer’