The signing of Wataru Endo has been met with some negative responses from fans, so where do Liverpool stand in this transfer window arms race?


TURBULENT times, chefs.

Liverpool’s transfer mayhem has resembled the kitchen of a Chicago sandwich bar, more than a slick footballing operation being spearheaded by middle aged men in blazers and Converse.

I am, of course, cross referencing FX’s hit TV series The Bear, here. Replicating the reality of a turbulent workplace with chaotic management from reality to fiction is the epitome of going from the frying pan to the fire.

But the kids have a new take, a new take on faith. And we all need our escape routes.

One of the show’s key props is the cigarette, used to facilitate conversations and negotiations by Jeremy Allen-White, who plays lead character Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto.

That cooks who work in highly pressured kitchens may enjoy the increasingly outdated habit of cigarette smoking is no shock. Kitchen diaries of 20-hour days, filled with relentlessly choking deadlines and little thanks, take their toll.

Watching The Bear doesn’t scream “I want to become a chef and take up smoking 40-a-day” in the same way Jorg Schmadtke’s travails make the role of Premier League Sporting Director an increasingly unappetising endeavour.

But the journey of the cigarette is an interesting one. Despite ludicrous marketing campaigns which date back to the 1940s and include images of GP’s lighting up to pacify health fears, the industry has never really had to do any heavy lifting when it comes to advertising.

All the cool kids smoked. You couldn’t see your favourite movie star on TV without a cigarette. If The Beatles could play instruments and sing with one in their hands or mouth during the 1960s, they would have.

Now and rightly so, smoking is an increasingly unfashionable concept. Its devastation to health has dawned on people, many too late. Duty rates on tobacco makes them less financially enticing, also. But there’s something else.

Smoking has stopped being cool. Nobody wants to smoke on screen or otherwise. You are a pariah to those around you. In a nutshell, society and people power has shunned it.

Correlation can be found in reality transfer and fictional kitchen chaos.

Questions are arising around the economic foolery which is only increasing football’s sense of being out of touch with what’s real.

Britain and the British, in particular, has a fantastic knack for abstaining from concepts and conversations it decides it can’t impact or those perceived to not impact upon it.

In a football sense, we’re much the same. We assume that governance around fair spending doesn’t work, so what can realistically be expected of the masses? And after all, why should we?

“It’s not my money being spent so it doesn’t impact me.”

Let’s gloss over the obvious price of match tickets, TV subscriptions and kits for a moment. We see transfers as Football Manager economics. Something we monopolise through numbers alone. No consequences, highest number wins. First past the post.

The only way you get Romeo Lavia or Moises Caicedo is to have the deepest pockets. If you sign a player from Stuttgart for under £20million in Wataru Endo then he’s already a failure based solely on the pittance of outlay given.

Football is reaping the economy it has sewn since 1992. From Saudi Arabia to Todd Boehly’s amortised Blues, the football world is now fracking for oil in an increasingly arid world.

All of this is without mentioning the type of footballers, people and role models we’re creating.

It shouldn’t be cool. We shouldn’t be advocating it. Inhaling it into our lungs from the tip to our lip should be rejected. We, the collective we, should find the concept of this level of transactional and individual wealth uncouth, absurd and very much not for us.

People stop smoking for their health and sense of self preservation. While there are many Liverpool supporters who have viewed the last two weeks as detrimental to their wellbeing, this, of course, isn’t the same.

But how many people do you know who have walked away from football with money being in some way the primary factor? From relatability to cost of engagement, it’s there.

How this would look is unclear. Staging some form of protest for spending money, as delicious as it sounds, is entirely at odds with current football culture.

It would have to be gradual. There would likely be patches involved where we wean ourselves off, one ludicrous fee at a time.

Maybe algorithms and influencers will hipster-ise about being Brighton instead of a Chelsea. Perhaps the real emergence and “winners of the transfer market” will be those who unearth talent at a fraction of cost and create a world where the lowest number wins.

Because winning is important. It’s still everything. Chelsea will likely win more than Brighton, but they still should be the Trump to our Jacinda.

The adage is that to win, our clubs need ambition. Yet they need to spend the most to quantify that ambition to win.

I don’t believe that we’ve reached a point of no return. Transfer windows are becoming increasingly unrealistic endeavours, but the game plays out for nine months and we are reunited with the raw materials of sporting competition.

Liverpool shot their Caicedo shot. If it had come off, a large proportion of our fanbase would have been pacified for a minute. When the team next lost, the new narrative of not spending enough on a defender would have emerged. It’s a false economy. A losing hand whatever happens.

Chelsea wins in the eyes of many with Caicedo and Lavia. But what happens to a midfield with a trio of eight-year contracts if they aren’t winning games of football? What happens now that you’ve engulfed supporters in a haze of transfer-induced vape?

We love the exciting nature of what transfers are and the endless possibilities they represent. That doesn’t mean that supporters should prop up an increasingly unhealthy aspect of this industry.

This isn’t a call to arms. It’s not a plan to televise the revolution. Perhaps I’m engaging in too many pressurised concepts.

Maybe if I can’t stand the heat I should get out of the kitchen.

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