I recently read an article claiming that Man City signed Owen Hargreaves because their ‘Sugar Daddy’ owner told Roberto Mancini, ‘If you want to buy more, you have to sell!’ Notwithstanding their massive resources, Man City seem to have shot themselves in the foot by signing players at all costs and offering them contracts that are so lucrative and out of reach, that nobody wants to sign their players because their salaries are stratospheric! Even though Mansour has attempted to circle the rules by taking the ‘Etihad Stadium’ naming rights deal out of the hat, this money will not be enough to finance the free spending the have been accustomed to or the humonous salary bill they are facing and which is ever increasing.
Perhaps on a smaller scale, but the Reds did seem to have a similar issue, especially with players that were deemed not to fit the new Liverpool project and that had to be off-loaded. Shedding off 12 players (although it is possible that six of them were given away for ‘free’ or released) was no mean feat but it was done. Sending another seven out on loan, some for experience, others to reduce salary costs was again proof of excellent commercial skills. There is no doubt that FSG will want a return on their investment, but to get this return they will want and aim to get the Club running on it’s own steam. That is the first objective.
We find ourselves with a leaner but certainly more competitive squad. Some may argue that we did not make that ‘marquee’ signing everyone asked and hoped for, but you know what? We did! Because having kept Pepe Reina at Anfield is more than a marquee signing to me. And also because spending £35 million to reshape a team the way the new Liverpool regime has done in 8 months is more valuable and will help the club achieve more than spending that same amount to bring in a player who will probably destabilize the balance achieved so far.
This morning I read another article which claims that players like Skrtel, Kuyt, Maxi and Jones will ask to leave in January and look for new pastures. With the exception of Jones (and there is nothing personal in that statement), it would be a shame if any of them left, but there again like the rest of the players, Gerrard and Carragher included, they must fight for their place in training and on the pitch and if they are not playing it’s usually because either they are not fit, or otherwise someone else is doing a better job than them! If any Liverpool player wants to leave the Club now, then they are destined to miss out on something special, because there is something special happening at this Club. There is a general buzz of cautious optimism which indicates that we might be going places! I do believe however that there may be players, including Brad Jones, that may be loaned out to allow them more playing time. Guys like Spearing and Shelvey will know that this year, unless a cataclismic injury plague shrouds the team, they will find very little space, therefore the prospect of being loaned out is not that remote.
This time twelve months ago, all we saw was unhappy faces on the pitch and our team playing a game that seemed so unnatural to most of us. Looking back it seems unbelievable what the Liverpool FC has managed to achieve and how the Club has steered away from doom and gloom to a path of positivity and optimism.