So here we are again, the January transfer window is a week old, with lots of wild speculation, and no real substance.
This window offers more to clubs than any other time of the season and can be a game changer. Make the right signing and a club can get a real injection of impotace that propels them forward. Make the wrong signing under pressure and it can damage a club on the field, and off it financially, if an expensive player needs to be jettisoned come the summer, and a large over priced fee has been paid.
So January is a mine field, some managers love it, some hate it, for some it’s a necessity. Take Liverpool, historically a big spending club with a very hit and miss record, for every Suarez there is a Carroll, Adam or Downing. Yes, Coutinho and Sturridge have proved great January signings, Suarez too, but this window provides Brendan Rodgers with a chance, a real chance to secure a champions league place in 2014/15, but only if he can secure the right player(s).
So who are these players, and what do Liverpool need? There is certainly substance in the media rumours of a move for Salah at Basel. Is this a man who can provide an immediate first team impact? I’m not so sure. He is a good player, but is he really significantly better than Sterling?
I believe if Liverpool are to spend in January, it needs to be astute and sensible. Yann M’Vila is a fine athletic player, who may not set the world on fire as a signing, but would bring much needed versatility, strength and depth to the central areas. A left back may also be a good option, Cissokho looks like a rushed signing and is clearly not the answer, again, it needs to be the right player. Ryan Bertrand is a good player but not seen by Mourinho as the natural successor to Ashley Cole, so why would Liverpool want him? If he’s not good enough for Chelsea, then he’s not good enough for the new Liverpool.
The Liverpool squad, when fully fit, is capable of mounting a serious CL run, buying the final pieces of the first team jigsaw are more than likely better solved come the summer, which makes any signings in January even more important from a cost/ value perspective. Money is a precious commodity for Liverpool, so Rodgers must strive to get value for money, and the right player(s) in a challenging overpriced market. If he gets it right, it could be the boost Liverpool need to hold off Man Utd and Spurs for that final CL berth, the good news is, he’s done it before and lightening can sometimes strike twice.
By Chris Hutchins