By Ernie Fox
It’s finally happening! At last the press can give it a rest. The final few months could hardly have been fun for anyone involved with the club, with the gossip columns obsessed with the news of Raheem Sterling’s very “private” desire to leave the club. That is what the press like to do best – aside from linking us with the most aspirational of targets with no basis of truth to be found – they do seem to love trying to create serious discontent amongst the Reds by linking players away from the club almost as quickly as they sign.
The big question now is what are we going to do with that large amount of cash? No doubt the press will come up with a number of new transfer targets that are likely to be brought in with the Sterling money. Any attacking player who has a bit of pace and anything above a moderate price tag is likely to find their name being linked to Liverpool. And whilst it is fun to imagine the possibility of finally persuading Marco Reus, Alexandre Lacatte, Mario Gomez, Christian Benteke or Denis Cheryshev to come to Anfield – or a combination of the above – we have to be careful what we wish for.
We have made a number of signings already and are still looking at the prospect of at least one more proven goalscorer to add to Milner, Firmino and Clyne in the list of newcomers likely to step straight into the first 11 come the beginning of the season. What we don’t need if we are going to return to the top 4 this season is a whole host of more squad players, we have those in abundance, particularly if we don’t send quite so many out on loan this time around.
That Sterling money needs to be spent on one player and only one if they will make a genuine difference to the first 11. Let me put it another way, with the reported 49 million Man City will be depositing into the FSG bank account, we need to ensure we go out and get the exact player we need for whatever price it takes.
The one concept that FSG still seem to struggle with is that sometimes the value of a player can vary significantly dependant on what job he plays for his prospective new club. How often have we seen one player make such a difference to a team? Not just because of their individual class, but because of what they provide to the team as a whole. Was Luis Suarez worth the 22.8 million we paid for him? Or the 65-75 million we sold him for? Or maybe both?
The fact is that we have a decent looking starting 11, with flair and creativity just behind the front line we just need that one focal point, that missing piece of the puzzle, who will get us the goals when we need them. Perhaps we already have that player, if Daniel Sturridge can finally rid himself of those niggling injury issues then he may well be the inspiration we were lacking last year – he didn’t too badly the season before after all, but then he had Luis Suarez partnering him upfront.
It all comes down to one thing, if we can’t find the right player, then we’re better off sticking with what we’ve got than blowing the money on a group of mediocrity that end up disrupting the rhythm of the squad as they all attempt to find their place in the team – let’s learn from that mistake of a last minute signing of Mario Balotelli, then wasting the next few months trying to force him into a system that just wasn’t designed for his particular set of talents.
Next season we are already looking a lot healthier than last – Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are a group of young, fast and talented forward players, they have the potential to run defenders ragged, not forgetting Jordan Ibe and Adam Lallana and possibly even Lazar Markovic from whom we saw glimpses of some genuine talent last year.
We don’t need a whole host of extras to add to the list, just the one talent that will make the difference. If that means paying over the odds then so be it, it will be worth it. If that means spending all the Sterling money on just one single investment, then let’s do it, because that could be the one missing piece that turns us into genuine title contenders which is worth so much more than 49 million. If that is not possible, save the money up for a rainy day and if things aren’t going to plan then at least Jurgen Klopp will have something to play with in the January window.
Personally, I would like to see us break the bank on Marco Reus, and by that I mean whatever it takes, 49 million or more if necessary. But if the management feel there is someone else out there who is better suited, then I will stand by that decision, as long as we have done what we can to get the right player in and not just the one who is likely to provide us with the highest profit.
Written by Ernie Fox