Liverpool’s hard line over transfer fees could prove costly yet again, as Chelsea reportedly enter the race to sign Romeo Lavia…


‘HOW much is a Cornetto, mate?’


‘Here you go. £1.70.’

‘It’s £1.90’

‘Would you take £1.73?’

Would you?

The new season starts on Friday night and we’re arguing with Southampton about paying an extra £5million. At time of writing, no one knows who’s playing ‘the six’ on Sunday and it’s too late now to buy and register a player in time. We’ve gone back to doing this again.

It’s no longer late May. The season is here. And we’re unprepared.

Of course, the club might not think Romeo Lavia is worth £50m given his age and lack of top-flight experience, but I find it odd that he’s definitely worth £45m which is hardly peanuts.

On Wednesday, West Ham bought Harry Maguire and James Ward-Prowse in the space of an hour. No speculation, no delays and silly bids, but just a few hushed conversations and an announcement. We used to do that. Remember when Fabinho just appeared in our shirt one day without ceremony or circus.

Mitigation then. The owners are cautious, notoriously cautious. That new stand wasn’t cheap and now there’s no Champions League cash to cushion the blow. We had two new midfielders in to replace two who hardly played and James Milner. Maybe one of those slots is for Trent Alexander-Arnold, I don’t know. No one saw Saudi coming so that’s thrown everything out of the window. I get that.

But they didn’t have to take the Jordan Henderson and Fabinho money so you’d think there was a plan in place before they signed their leaving cards. Did we really pin everything on a 19-year-old kid and a smokescreen rumour of the lad from Fluminense?

And this is before you start looking at the defence.

In any case, we go to Stamford Bridge with a smaller squad than the one that ended last season. Two great signings, yes, but we need people to carry the piano as well as play it. It’s hard to tell, not being in the room, but if this was the plan then it’s failed again.

It seems that that policy is either feast or famine. The owners spent like sailors on shore leave in the summers of 2011 and 2014 and were burned. It’s arguable that the recent success is down to the Philippe Coutinho money, as they’d rather spend Barcelona’s money than their own. Once Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk came in, we became serious again.

But no one knows for sure. Maybe it’s Jürgen Klopp and his ‘no dickhead’ policy who is holding things up? I doubt it as he said earlier this week that these are important days in terms of targets.

The owners have largely been absent from the club so maybe that old issue of accessibility is a factor. Again, no one knows for sure. All we can see is what’s before our very eyes and that’s five out and two in on the eve of the new season.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I’m getting tired of all this. The football, the transfers, the bickering, the factions etc. I’m too frustrated with my own team to even consider the petro-clubs, Saudi and the rest of it. I’m usually exhausted come the end of a season but tend to pick up once the lads are running around in the new kit and I’m back at Anfield.

Again, I wonder how other fans do it. What thrills a Shrewsbury fan that doesn’t thrill me, given that my side are guaranteed to finish in the top half of the top division and anything can happen to them. The worst thing that can happen to us is ‘relative success’.

I was hoping that the ticket sales would help. I’m away from the Main Stand/Annie Road corner next season and will watch games from the back row of every stand bar the Kop before Christmas. For those who can’t go or are not members, you might not know that the buying procedure was an absolute mess. An IT nightmare. The club sent out an apologetic email on Wednesday evening.

And don’t get me started on the lack of veggie pies in the Main Stand after 2pm…

I’ve sympathy with the club on so many issues, but it seems that cack-handedness is the culture across the board again.

Can we just pick a player, bid for him, buy him and then see what fate does next? I get the idea that small squads are good but given our luck with injuries …

Can we just act like Liverpool again? Professional and ruthless? If West Ham can pull out two high-profile signings in one morning (I’ve always liked Ward-Prowse) then the very least we can do is punch our weight and do the same thing rather than just low-ball and low-ball.

Lads, the new season is here. It’s a deadline so any further delay is not ‘being clever’. It impacts negatively on our new campaign. The one I can wait to start.

I hope they take some learning from this but I’m not confident. We’ve been here before and, though the days of FSG having more public apologies than trophies have gone, this isn’t the time to start pissing about.

Incidentally, while doing the painstaking research you’ve come to expect for this piece, I learned that Cornetto’s were £1.25 in 2012. Turns out that prices go up after all. You’d think venture capitalists would know that.

Breaking: We’ve just placed a tit for tat bid for Moises Caicedo to annoy Chelsea. Pissing about again.

Them on Sunday, then. Up The Reds. I suppose.

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