Following yesterday’s transfer update, I got thinking about the players Brendan Rodgers has brought in, not to mention at what cost, and the contribution they’ve made to Liverpool’s progression. On closer inspection of the players the Reds have signed, which numbers 17 if we include latest recruit Rickie Lambert, I don’t think there’s really that many he can boast about. I know there are very few certs, but is that a reason for buying so many poor players?
Granted, Rodgers has worked miracles with Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and even Luis Suarez to some extent but it’s not completely out of line to suggest those players would have progressed anyway. They just needed time to settle in allied to his coaching techniques. Of those 17 players, I can only identify three who one can say have actually been of any consistent use. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have been undoubted successes. Simon Mignolet has been, on the whole a decent signing. He made a cracking penalty save in the first game of last season and one or two crucial saves to keep us ahead or stop us from going behind. Let’s also not forget that Liverpool have spent just over £100m in the process. At best, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure have been average, and at times ropey to say the least.
The remaining players Rodgers has brought in, if I’m honest haven’t really done it for me. I recall the Liverpool boss describing Fabio Borini before his transfer as “a player who will really excite the fans…”. Forgive me for p*ssing on the parade but I can’t say I’ve seen any justification of this. At all. I’m sure that he was sent on loan to Sunderland, only because the club couldn’t sell him for anywhere near the £10.4m they paid for him. Yes, that’s ten million, four hundred thousand English pounds.
Joe Allen has shown glimpses of what he can do given some time. My worry is, how much time, and will our lifetimes be long enough? I’m not sure how one can equate £15m to time but I’d hazard a guess that it’s some very long way off. He’s an ok player but I wouldn’t say he’s much more than that. Slightly above average. If he was any better, he’d have been in the team ahead of Jordan Henderson or Coutinho. Alas the fact is, he hasn’t. Ossama Assaidi, at £3m I believe is money well spent and he’s shown on loan at Stoke that he can make an impact in a match. At 25, he’s older than many realise but I think he should have been retained and given more chances to play, even in cup matches. He’s someone who can save the club money that can be better spent on the dodgy defence.
Then we have the Iberian trio: Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Tiago Ilori with price tags of £6.8m £7m for the latter two. The second of the three, Aspas has been an unmitigated disaster. A return of zero goals from his 14 appearances is bewildering. From memory, I’m sure Titi Camara had a better goalscoring record than that, and at least the few he did score were generally quite important ones. Luis Alberto, may have a future at the club… If given the chance. The few times I’ve seen him play, he looked fairly decent. Remember he’s still only 20 and personally, I don’t see why Rodgers spent that kind of money on a player that he apparently never had the intention of playing. Preferring the lacklustre Victor Moses, who at least was on loan and could be sent back.
Ilori is another one that causes concern. He was obviously bought as “one for the future” along with Alberto but the issue seems to be that there doesn’t appear to be any future for him. He’s been sent out on loan and reportedly done quite well at Grenada FC. My question is: Wouldn’t it have been better to send him out on loan to an English team? It seems to have worked thus far for Andre Wisdom, Jack Robinson and some of the other young lads at the club. At least this way it would be easier to check on his progress and/or bring him back if needs must. OK, he’s not English, but then he’s not Spanish either.
Rodgers has stated that he wants to make more permanent signings and fewer loans. Well, just imagine if we’d have shelled out a further £20m for Aly Cissokho as well as Moses? Coming second has certainly spared the Liverpool boss from further scrutiny. Same goes for Nuri Sahin. Another loanee, this time from Real Madrid. I recall a figure of around £10m being mooted as the purchase price and the loan was suggested due to budget restrictions being in place. Potentially another £30m down the swanny there. Sahin, I still believe is a good player and it’s probably down to Rodgers and Liverpool why he didn’t progress.
Rather than looking to make fewer loan signings, one can’t escape the fact that this means has saved the club no small fortune, not to mention embarrassment and potentially the manager’s job. With many of the signings being relative unknowns in England, loans where possible, would be a sensible solution to protect the financial position of the club and the reputation of the manager. Because Rodgers holds that position, it doesn’t mean he knows it all. Same for the much vaunted transfer committee.
Consequently, the trend I can see in all of this is that young players are brought to the club from abroad and not given time to settle into a new culture, a new way of playing and in many cases a new language. As someone who has worked extensively away from the UK and learnt more than one foreign language, I know from personal experience that this is not the easiest position to be in. And I didn’t have to deal with 40,000 people week-in, week-out scrutinising my work! These young players need time and it’s arguable that Liverpool and Rodgers are damaging their careers in looking for players to adapt within one season. And equally as damaging for the club, to sell them inevitably at a loss as a direct result. Coutinho is the only exception and one player out of eight or nine is definitely not a good enough statistic to support the strategy.
In summary, of those 17 players and £100m spent, it’s unlikely that the club can recoup anywhere near that sum. I’d say only two of those – Sturridge and Coutinho would definitely would provide a decent return on the money invested. Mignolet, perhaps on a good day. The rest including Borini, Allen and probably Sakho there’s no chance at all. The others are doubtful but this is principally because the investment the club has made in them has not, and likely will not be given time to mature along with the players. If you have the same financial advisor as Liverpool Football Club, be worried. Be very worried indeed.
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