By Arun Nair @Nair_39
The month of July has several different meanings. To some, it indicates the true dawn of summer, promising the sunshine that Britons crave, but seem to rarely receive. For others, it provides a tantalising hint of the blissful idleness that comes with the nearing holiday period.
But for football fans, it signals the beginning of the hysterical saga that is the summer transfer window.
Liverpool fans have not had to wait for the window to officially open in order to attempt to whet their transfer appetites. The club have already secured four new players; Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Simon Mignolet have all signed for the Reds.
However, that doesn’t stop the Anfield faithful continuing to devour the Internet, and social media in particular, trawling through the most arcane of websites, or frantically searching the timelines of the nefarious self-aclaimed ‘ITKs'(In The Know) found on Twitter; all in the hope of discovering a snippet of information, a pearl of wisdom, on Brendan Rodgers’ transfer targets, be it the Shaktar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, or Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori, or any of the other players linked in any way, shape or form to a move to Anfield, desperate to discover who will be the next star player to carry their hopes and dreams upon red sleeved shoulders.
Rumours, mere rumours of player arrivals are either celebrated like three points or prompt the immediate, and often lasting disconsolation of defeat. Moods alter drastically at any news, heads rest in hands when transfer targets move elsewhere, blame is allocated viciously in this failure. The variety of emotions experienced within 90 minutes of football are replicated desperately, excruciatingly, over an entire summer. Each day is a constant, continuous game, except no winner is guaranteed and pursuit remains.
Good signings correlate with good performances obviously, and that is where the overwhelming desire to do well in the summer stems from. But nothing in football, especially success, is guaranteed.
It is thus, that the transfer window can be dangerous. Players can struggle to adapt. Players can struggle to handle the pressure – it is surely at times an unenviable task to carry the weight of the hopes of thousands of Kopites, not to mention a multi-million pound transfer fee. Also, fans should be aware that players can ‘look good’ on YouTube, but looks can so often be deceiving – just ask the fans who touted Oussama Assaidi as some sort of Moroccan Ronaldo-Messi hybrid based on his highlights(‘highlights’ is the key word here, but few acknowledge it) videos.
There is no acknowledgment that these signings have to be coached properly and implemented correctly. There is a refusal to accept that not everything in football works so simply as a good player always makes a team better. When the football finally begins, results are both a by-product of transfer activity and an excuse to discuss, deconstruct, analyse the changes ahead; managers no longer have to tweak tactics, but their transfer strategy too; a player cannot suffer a single poor performance without being potential replacements being immediately suggested, while a transfer ‘flop’ brings a depth of desolation.
Caution is the key. As transfer sagas unfold – from questionable links, to substantial rumours, to the few which actually reach the promised land of official website confirmation – we must not allow it to take its grip on us, or the inevitable elevation of expectation will follow, because with it comes the underlying possibility of failure, that most refuse to even contemplate, until it is too late.