After the turmoil of the Hicks & Gillett saga, Liverpool’s resurgence will be matched with equal ambition in the summer transfer market. What owner John Henry, manager Kenny Dalglish and Director of Football Damien Comolli all believe is that Liverpool can’t let the dust settle after two poor summer transfer windows under old manager Rafa Benitez.
The signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in January were a statement of intent from the club. Both of these players were not just bought for here and now – they are an investment for the future. Comolli was quick to praise everyone involved in the Suarez deal, including the player himself. “The groundwork and intelligence coming out from the scouting team was very good. Everything you look at with Luis – his character, his attitude, his commitment–on top of all the football skills–made us feel he was the right person and the right individual.”
Comolli also explained the clubs decision to splash out on Andy Carroll. “I was very, very pleased for two reasons. Firstly, because we were getting a top player. Secondly, because we sold a player who didn’t want to be here and got one who does.” The reference to an unhappy player is Fernando Torres, who jumped ship and moved to Chelsea in a multi-million pound deal, which marked the end of a disappointing final year at Anfield.
“When you have someone who doesn’t want to be here, and you swap him for people who do, the atmosphere changes.” This change may be a huge factor in the fortune of the team, who have picked up their form and are now sitting in the top six of the Premier League table, having previously been relegation candidates under Roy Hodgson.
In the new look Liverpool, Comolli and the scouting team are striving for players who will fit the new Liverpool vision, of youthful attacking and attractive football. But we can’t escape the fact that the academy at Melwood is currently producing a fine crop of players. It would be against this exact philosophy that Henry and the club have introduced to block the path of these players, opting to buy talent from else ware.
Through a season nagged by injuries to some key players, Dalglish has had to rely on youth to fill the gaps. Most notably, Martin Kelly, Danny Wilson and Jay Spearing have all been given opportunities to impress in the Premier League, and it is hard not to think that more academies graduated will get the nod in the future.
Comolli has already spoken about his plans for the summer transfer market, promising fans the club will be signing top players. “We are very attractive for a lot of players because of what we did in January against Manchester United. It is fantastic publicity for us around the world. We are attractive to a lot of top players and we want to bring top players to this club.” Names of possible targets are already floating around the newspapers, television and in cyberspace. The rumour mill will surely be producing more and more stories as we near the end of the season and the opening of the window.
“We talk about different targets, about players we thought about in January but couldn’t do … So I expect a busy summer.”