As the January transfer market rears its head at the start of another calendar year fans and journalists alike hunt high and low for any hint of transfer news surrounding their favoured clubs. Sky Sports News is monitored non-stop and ostentatious rumours circulate about every player under the footballing sun. Gossip columns are scrutinised and fuel is constantly added to the fire that is the transfer market. You simply can’t avoid it. Its’s a fixation. A pantomime of drama, whispers and overall hyped-up gossip about nothing.
Liverpool Football Club are a side that regard itself highly on a celebrated history, momentous managers, and being the most successful club side in English footballing history. Liverpool Football Club are also a side that do not know the value of money. Constant failings in transfers have led to a reputation of a club that would fail to tell the difference between an overpoweing twenty plus goal per season, world class striker from an unproved balding Serbian only too happy to sign for a club as big as Liverpool. Or maybe that’s just Milan Jovanović.
A club so steeped in history with legendary players to form its own 5-a-side tournament cannot seem to be cable of contemplating the wheeling and dealings involved in signing a player. A club that paid the unspeakable fee of £35 million for Newcastle’s flavour of the month Andy Carroll only to sell him to West Ham United for £19 million a season and a half later. That of course is one of a very, very long list.
It goes unnoticed the fees that build up after signing after signing fail to stamp their foot on the side. Ryan Babel £15 million. I will tell you though that the fees do in fact build up after a prolonged period of time. Albert Riera £8.5 million. And such fees added together in comparison to the goals, assists, blocks, clearances, crosses that you have gotten back, do not add up. Robbie Keane £21 million. Andrea Dossena £8 million. Alberto Aquilani £17.6 million. Have I made my point clear yet?
The list above are again only a short collection of flash-in-the-pan players that spring to mind almost immediatley. Liverpool fans know them all too well and would rather forget that their club paid legitimate transfer fees for them. Although they might be some of the more expensive examples, let us not forget a few more: Christian Poulsen £4.8 million. Paul Konchesky £3.5 million. Sebastian Coates £7 million. Stewart Downing £20 million. Charlie Adam £7 million. Total £42.2 million. Have I made my point clear, yet?
Such players were, at the time, considered good buys. Stewart Downing, England international, Sebastian Coates, Copa America 2011 young player of the tournament, Charlie Adam, Blackpool’s captain that could take a penalty. These were players to get excited about in the quest to bring European nights back to Anfield. Fans were excited and I’m sure the Liverpool board were too.
And then the players didn’t perform. Bye bye Stewart, off to West Ham, tell Andy we said hello. Cheerio Paul, don’t worry we’ll find a good home for you. See you later Charlie, enjoy those cold windy nights at the Britannia. Well, they didn’t work, we’ll try again next transfer window aye?
But the most frustrating thing for onlookers that have no say in the signings of a club is that it happens again, and again, and again. Take Brendan Rodgers’ time in charge: Joe Allen, failed to impress, £16.7 million. Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, neither have managed a goal, combined fee of £15 million. Mamodou Sakho, unwanted at PSG but good enough for Liverpool has looked unsure of his own abilities and constantly shaky at centre back, £16.7 million. Portuguese defender Tiago Illori has failed to make an impression at all. Liverpool Football Club spent a total of £49.9 million on transfers last summer and yet we could not be more reliant on Luis Suarez. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen when Suarez inevitably burns out after carrying a team on his back for two straight seasons.
“Fail to learn from history and you are doomed to repeat it…” I don’t think anyone dealing with Liverpool’s transfer kitty has heard that one before.
But then there are always the rare few that are a success. A smashing success in many cases that overshadow the millions lost on others. Xabi Alonso £14 million, Fernando Torres £24 million, Daniel Sturridge £13.2 million, Philippe Coutinho £8.8 million, and of course Luis Suarez, £23.3 million. These are all superb signings that have made sensational impacts on the most part, but above all have proved their weight in gold and have paid back the millions paid for them. That, as simple as it sounds, is how transfers work: player plays well, a club pays money for them, they play well for their new club. If only it were that simple in reality for Liverpool Football Club.
As we approach yet another transfer market and indeed for the summer ahead one can only hope for the sake of Liverpool Football Club that a wise man is in charge of the money that could either put Liverpool Football Club back into the UEFA Champions League, or die in the gutter for another season.