There is something devastatingly irresistible about the modern day transfer window and the unrelenting, ever-present and frankly hypnotic rumour mill.
For Liverpool fans, the transfer window is waiting hopelessly beyond an 11pm deadline for a Yevhen Konoplyanka deal to collapse or a move for Clint Dempsey to fall through. It is drawing up proposed starting line-ups including Loic Remy, only for the Frenchman to fail the decisive medical. It is watching Mohamed Salah choose Chelsea over the Reds, it’s wincing at Alex Teixeira choosing China, it’s continuing to unearth a dormant belief that the club may sign an Alexis Sanchez, a Marco Reus, a Kylian Mbappe. It is being sucked into an annual expectation that a world class talent will arrive and take Liverpool closer to consistently mounting a Premier League title challenge. It is tearing hair out over the incompetence of the club to so embarrassingly damage its chances of signing Virgil van Dijk, a rare example of a player who had seemingly chosen Liverpool over already certified title contenders in Manchester City and Chelsea.
Countless setbacks and yet there is still an addiction to dipping back into the newspapers and browsing the online media outlets, seeing a fresh target and conjuring a new obsession with Liverpool’s ‘next signing’. It is a feeling of ‘just one more’ rehearsed by all when turning back to a packet of chocolate digestives, a tube of Pringles or a box of Twiglets (all favourites of mine) and believing the next one will be as satisfying, if not even better. Supporters can criticise ludicrous rumours, shun apparent interest, seethe over the common use of the phrase ‘closely monitoring’ yet they can’t stop themselves from taking note of every man dubbed to wear the shirt, regardless of the report’s route to publication.
Don’t be mistaken into thinking there’s anything wrong with that, though. An unheard of Italian outlet could be the source and still Reds would have to take note. The idea Liverpool fans are perhaps the guiltiest of seeking every inch of detail surrounding supposed transfer targets is testament to an unrivalled desire to see their beloved club recruit, improve and push on.
Few groups of supporters have been forced to become as patient as that of Liverpool’s, no thanks to a series of setbacks, most recently evidenced by the Van Dijk deal. The subsequent outrage, humiliation and criticism thereby reaffirms the need for change and a ruthless reassessment. The transfer window in the life of a Liverpool fan right now is clinging on to a hope that the club’s record transfer budget will be spent wisely, that Jurgen Klopp won’t squander a defining period in his Anfield tenure.
Any excitement that previously existed during the transfer window has gradually diminished. Reds are tired of ‘sagas’, fed up with a cycle that has seen the club try and fail to lure main targets, grown to despise everything the transfer window has become. Liverpool’s faithful supporters have been given no choice but to accept mockery, knowing full well this prestigious club is, or should be, above the mess it recently landed itself in.
A fan base that strives to remain positive is being dragged towards a state of uncertainty and wrongly left unable to fully believe every transfer story being reported about their club. The love for new signings remains as strong as ever, yet the notable struggle Liverpool seem to have when it comes to completing deals smoothly is threatening to halt that unique rush of blood. The time is now for the club’s hierarchy to accept the need to pay the extortionate asking prices and avoid falling behind England’s top sides in a progressing market. Demands from fans for their club to simply pay up have never been more justifiable.
The bonus of having Klopp at the helm means Liverpool’s impetus towards bringing in potential and developing youth prospects is by no means hampered by spending big on proven talent. A club that so often defies convention must now respond to a stuttering start to the summer and abide by what modern day football has made a necessity for those wanting to compete at the top.
A testing period requires a reaction but it should by no means overshadow what a promising time this is for Liverpool.