Young, Talented & British

Posted by

By Brian Reece
twitter @oldfattoad

Liverpool’s Transfer policy has been subject to praise & criticism over the past few months, but lets look into the benefits and downfalls this can bring.

Firstly buying young, talented British players can only benefit Liverpool and the national teams in the long term, players like Kelly, Flanagan, Spearing, Henderson, Downing, Carroll and Adam will provide the backbone of the team, when current players like Gerrard, Kuyt and Carragher have gone, but buying all British will not be best decision short term, Liverpool’s transfer policy is a good one long term, but currently we will need to inject a mixture of some slightly older more experienced players either from overseas or Britain, it matters little, but who can give the younger players time to develop and will keep Liverpool in contention with the other top clubs.

We currently have some fantastic young foreign players such as Suarez and Lucas, who have adapted to the fast pace of the Premier League, I can understand FSG position on transfers such as Age, Characteristics and Re-Sale Value, but that should not just be specifiably aimed at British players only, if we are to maintain a consent presence in the top four and Champions League then a balanced mixture must be maintained, personally I don’t have a problem with a strong British presence in the team, its good for Liverpool and will only make us a better team.

As we have seen, clubs are charging overinflated prices for young British talent and it seems that teams like Liverpool have shown they are prepared to pay theses prices, it is simply impossible to judge if these players will be worth the initial outlay, we don’t know if Henderson will be a great player or that Carroll will live up to the price tag, admittedly it is not the players fault and there is a strong argument that we could have brought better overseas, but then it contradicts the transfer policy installed by FSG.

What is needed is a transfer policy that searches for the best of British talent while still maintaining a balance of experience and youth, overseas and home grown players, and still leaves scope for the younger players to get experience and develop, the pending problem may come from signings both British and foreign who don’t make an impact or fall short of exceptions, if Carroll disappoints which I hope he doesn’t, who is going to pay £30m plus for him in a year or two, Henderson fails to break into the first team on a regular basis, who will pay £20m for him, the buy British policy is good when it works but what will happen when it fails.

Another important aspect of the current transfer policy is what happens when we qualify for Europe, and have extra revenue to spend on quality players who want top flight European football but who are foreign, we will still maintain the same stance on transfers, or will we go and get the cream of Europe, initially I believe the current policy is right, but when we do get a Champions League place we need to re-evaluate the situation and act quickly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a British backbone to the team, but we have to mix it up to maintain balance and team performance.

To have a great squad means diversity, and its not always going to be a British player who can fill that gap, would you prefer Robert Green to Pepe Reina, no of course you wouldn’t, neither would you want Ribery instead Gerrard, so balance in the team can be achieved with the current transfer policy in place, but not at the expense of performance or progression.

Every successful team has a good squad with competition for places, and Liverpool must be no different, this is where the buy British policy could make a terrific impact and prepare the team for the future, but it has to be done by making the right choice now, pushing the policy to early could have a reverse affect and push the club backwards rather then towards its goals, FSG are experienced in developing winners, and am sure they are plotting Liverpool’s return to the pinnacle of Europe’s best, but lets not disregard talent for passports.


  1. Too many people are losing sight of what the strategy is this summer.

    The main aim of Liverpool summer spending spree isn’t to do with people been British, or meeting any home grown quota.

    The aim of Liverpools summer has been to bring in the best premier league talent possible so that whilst Man Utd, Chelsea and Man Citys expensive import are getting used to the power and pace of our league we can hit the ground running and get a jump on rivals in the hunt for Champions League football next season.

    Which means if we do get in next season there isn’t anything stopping the team from strengthening with cheap european talent.

    1. Hi Gavin, thanks for your response, I think alot of supporters will not be happy just trying to get 4th spot, and when we do try and get cheap european talent, we must aim higher than that mate

      1. in fairness gavin doesn’t say that we should simply strive to stay in fourth place. what he means if that a top 4 spot has to be the target for next season to get back into the champions league asap. once there we can push on. cheap european or south american talent doesn’t have to be mediocre players. look at reina or agger or lucas. its just they take a little while to get used the the prem. even reina struggled with crosses in his first season.

        personally i think that another important and often missed point is that british players are much more loyal to a club once they reach the best 5 or 6 teams, or have been at a club a long time. look at fabregas, nasri, modric, tevez, torres they reach the top here and want to play for barca or real madrid, or for another top four team as soon as fortunes dip a little.

    2. Henderson has done nothing greater for sunderland than what Spearing did for us last season.
      Downing is a proper winger and god knows how much we wanted one..Though you still cant put him in the top level bracket of the wingers in the world..Still lacks the burning pace and fire in his heart to perform.
      Doni is a keeper,bought as a back-up,nothing special.
      Adam is a player who will add to our passing abilities but he hasnt played for a top club until now and we have no clues about how hes gonna perform for us.

      Not too sure if those are the ideal players that you’d like to have to push through the top 4.

      Im not going against KD but ive gotta say i am a tad dissapointed with the transfers we’ve got in this summer.
      I was hoping for more exciting players..i am looking forward to the season no doubt but i wouldve been more excited had we got the likes of Mata,young,cissokho,nzogbia..those kinda players that make you get on the edge of your seat when they receive the ball.

      1. AGREED with you man..Downing although is not a top level but good enough winger is our best signing imo…henderson wasnt needed at we have shelvey spearing who has been soooooo patient..charlie Adam- i have high hopes for him..but so far in pre season hes been shit..and now they want Enrique??? what happened to Perreira??…and my God Dalglish has to be out of his mind if i see that we seriously want scott Dann..we could av got Mata but backed out too easily..see this is when i need Rafa..with Rafa although he wud waste wich i believe dalglish has already rafa wud av been going for players like mata or Aguero ..not a connor Wichkam or shawcross god forbid

    3. Largely agree. To borrow from MUFC, itself modelled on LFC teams of old, we aim to play today – and play well – with an eye on tomorrow. It’s not that we will not buy foreign, the likes of Suarez should dispel such thoughts, but we will have more localized players who are ready for all the PL entails. The current policy is in fact wise.

      Our Academy is a major source of foreign talent sourced cheaply and used to supplement our XI. I believe that fans are getting lost because they’re looking at the likes of MUFC buying Aguerro and company. We are rebuilding and clearly on the up. The fruits of these present labors will not be seen now but WILL be seen.

      Something else, buying British players at “inflated” fees (how do we fans even know that?) is not random. It’s guided by statistics, an elaborate scouting network, analysis and talent-spotting. It’s nowhere near as random as people make it out.

      I have utmost confidence in what the new regime is doing at Anfield. If we can beef up our defense, add another striker and work on the flanks, I believe that between FSG, Kenny and Comolli there’s a very big plan that will yield dynasties of dominance like old, if not even more.

    4. Gavin, I think you are spot on, it’s not being British necessarily, it’s being a proven Premier League performer. You could argue that Man Utd is taking a similar approach in buying Jones and Young.

      As for this year, the aim should always be to win the league, but I think the more realistic goal is to finish top 4. Then we can be in a better position to attract world class talent, whether British or foreign, to go head to head with Utd and City and get to the next level.

    5. okay so our aim is to bring in in the best premierleague talent but i can boldly tell u that none of the players we bought is any REAL quality maybe Downing but the rest are just there we missed out on two of the supposed to be best premierleague talent..jones and thats talent..
      Forget you said that we bought in “premierleague experienced” players so that we can hit the ground running? whilst other teams are trying to get used to the power and pace…but so far it looks the oposite as liverpool are yet to hit the ground running whilst other teams that are getting used to the pace are killing off

  2. Disagree, buying british in the 70’s and 80′ was fine, but now?, not a chance of winning anything, we need more of Suarez’s and (yes) Aquilani’s quality, you only have to look at the England team, to see how average most british players are!!!.

  3. Frankly I don’t see Henderson ,Adams ,Downing winning the CL ,I am Sorry but the age is of skillful football mixed with tactical mastermind. The Last skillful British player was Joe Cole ,now not so much .If Liverpool is spending as much as they are they’d want a CL ,I just dont see a British team win it , or any big tournament .

  4. Man City have brought a high number of British players with their transfer policy Barry,Lescott,Milner,Adam Johson and so did Chelsea when they first started spending A Cole,J Cole,Johnson,Bridge,Duff and Lampard .
    Some reason we making to big a deal of it its not as if we have n’t brought British before especially in the 90s just that we have got the money to do it again!
    Just wish we would stop selling the promising attacking players like Ince,Bruna,Della Valle and Nemeth without given them a chance in the Premiership!

  5. While you always do have a point, I find your articles extremely difficult to read because of all your grammatical errors. For example your 2nd paragraph is one sentence with many buts and commas thrown in. I’m sure if you read it aloud, you would see my point. I’m just giving feedback here, please don’t take offence.

  6. I think people need to remember the side that Leeds got the euro semi’s with. Yes it was 10 or so years ago, but if Liverpool get champions league status next season, tell me who we would fear? Barcelona? If any. We have a British, passionate structure in place now, with the right man in charge. If we are successful over the next 3-4 years, teams will strive to adapt the approach we currently have to recruitment and going about the game. Similar to how everybody wants to adapt the Barcelona style right now. Doesn’t work mr Wenger? YNWA

    1. @Curtis……….With passion you also need a brain, which I regret to say, is lacking in home grown playrs!.

      1. I dont think we can question the brain of our academy players & some of our new recruits until they are given oppertunity to showcase their abilities on the grand stage. Don’t forget these players have been nutured by Rodolfo borrell, which will be followed by development from kenny. Its not a shabby combo. Ynwa

  7. Have faith in KD and realize that he’s a footballing legend and genius. He knows who to buy. ALL the players he’s signed ARE quality. Downing was Villas best player last season. not Young. Carroll will deliver and is only 21. Adam was shortlisted for PFA player of the year and Suarez will be worth £60 million by xmas! ALL HAIL THE KING!

  8. People keep saying why don’t we buy young or mata etc well young chose un**ed I wouldn’t want a player that doesn’t want to play for the liver bird, mata has now got a 50million buy out clause, nzogbia maybe but he’s stroppy, stats don’t lie downing supplied the most crosses in the prem and was second to baines for assist, so I’m guessing he’s bought soley for Carroll.

    Buying British isn’t a massive issue….most people seem to think that these players are willing to give up champs league to come to a club that’s rebuilding they ARE NOT by the way, you want players who want to play for pool – downing forced a transfer – Adam wanted to join us – suarez and Carroll both had desire to come give them a chance before writing them off and just get behind Liverpool fc and get us back to where we should be.

  9. Hi Brian, thank you very much for writing this article, it has brought out the more intelligent comments most which I agree with, yours included.
    I would like to add a couple of points. The new adopted policy by ourselves , manure etc has obviously inflated the realistic value of the said British players.The resultant effect is beginning to be very heavily felt in the price of the championship players where no doubt ourselves & others will be looking to find future players.At what point do the fans say enough is enough?

    The other point I would like to make is that whilst it is great to have a school of thought & long term strategy we MUST NOT overlook the fact that every so often a player comes along that falls outside the said boundaries that CAN make a difference to a side. I am STILL hurting that we refused to buy Sheringham (who was Anfield bound) simply because he was thirty years old at the time. He went on to not only help manure win the CL but also scored in the FA cup in their treble winning year and was instrumental in many of their league titles which sickens me to my stomach every time I remember it.
    A suggestion for your next article, Does Barton remind you of Speedy before we got him from Chelsea?

    Best regards and keep writing.
    ps. GK- come on mate!

Comments are closed