So Far We’ve Been Astute, Now Time To Be Ruthless

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The acquisitions of Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, and Lazar Markovic have improved the Liverpool squad and added some much needed depth. Each signing has brought their own distinct set of qualities; whether it be raw pace, physical presence, or versatility, but most importantly provided Brendan Rodgers with the options and selection headaches he just did not have last season.

But looking through those players, you could only really make a case for Adam Lallana to be going straight into our first team. Due to playing in a different position, he won’t be seeing as a direct replacement for Luis Suarez, but on paper it would look like a straight swap between the two. Which it can’t be argued; would see our starting eleven significantly weaker than last season.

Loic Remy, Divock Origi, and Dejan Lovren are also rumoured to be close to signing. Lovren would add some leadership and presence to our back four, but it seems that Origi would be going straight back on loan to Lille, while Remy would find himself playing back-up to Daniel Sturridge, unless he could replicate the way our number 15 stormed into our team.

So out of (potentially) seven signings, we’d only have two who we’d be lining up with if we were suddenly playing a Champions League final tomorrow. With Luis Suarez departing, and our defence being as weak as it was last season, you would think we need a bit more. Of course, this is putting to one side that now at least we’d have the players on the bench to change things if needed. But having a team as good as we were, it luckily wasn’t too often that we had to call upon the likes of Iago Aspas or Victor Moses.

We continue to be linked with a variety of players, and even if the three aforementioned players do complete their transfers in the coming days, I don’t think the spending will stop there. But with those seven in, we’ll have a good sized squad, and a transfer budget hopefully increased with the imminent exits of Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi. Then comes the time where we have to identify our top targets, and pursue them ruthlessly.

We constantly seem to have at least one transfer saga that drags on and on, and at the moment that is our hunt to sign Alberto Moreno from Sevilla. I’m a big fan of his, but we’ve been squabbling over his fee for a while now and it’s uncertain if any agreement will be made. My take on it is that there are so few top quality left backs out there, that we need to just bite the bullet and get the deal done, even if it mean overpaying slightly. We could walk away from this deal, but if the alternative is Ryan Bertrand then it means our squad won’t be as good. Yes we may be saving a few quid, but our money is there to make our team the best it can be, not to assemble a team of players who we can proudly claim represent value for money.

We’ve had our fingers burnt before when it comes to spending a lot of money to bring in top targets. But the difference this time is that we’d have to get very lucky to find a player as good as Moreno for cheaper than his reported £20m price tag. With the likes of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, there were literally dozens of players available in their respective positions who would have cost less, but be just as good if not better.

We can hardly get away with claiming that our finances won’t allow it either. With £75m in the war chest apparently untouched so far by any previous deals, you’ve got to assume that our reluctance to meet Moreno’s price tag is down to us unwilling to exceed our personal valuation of him. But again, our choices are to either take the plunge and meet the asking price, or find ourselves twiddling our thumbs in a few weeks time when the transfer window shuts thinking ‘Well, we look weak at left back, but at least we’ve got this £20m sitting in the bank.’

If we really wanted to go all out, I personally think we could find ourselves a better goalkeeper and right back. But too much change in on transfer window would risk the squad lacking the togetherness that we thrived on last season, and Simon Mignolet and Glen Johnson should have enough quality to see us through another year at least.

Therefore, I think Brendan Rodgers will target at least one ‘marquee’ signing to make a statement that we are replacing Suarez, and can attract big names. Though I don’t think he is the sort of manager to want a big signing just for the sake of it, so it would have to be the right player who Rodgers is convinced genuinely wants to join us for what we are as a club, rather than just a big paycheck. Recently linked are Marco Reus of Dortmund, and Isco and Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid. Any one of them would be a top signing, and at the very least would add that fear factor into our attack that may have diminished with the loss of Suarez.

Brendan Rodgers is slowly but surely adding quality to our squad, and astutely adding to the group of players he has at his disposal. To seal the final few stubborn deals, I hope to see us go in guns blazing to ensure that, come the 2nd September, our squad is as good as it possibly can be, instead of looking at certain players knowing that we settled for second best.

By James Nelson (@_James_Nelson_)