With the World Cup now over, transfer gossip and news now takes centre stage in the footballing world. This transfer window’s biggest deal thus far is the move of Luis Suarez from Liverpool to Barcelona for £75 million. During the last three and a half years that the Uruguayan has spent at Liverpool, the Premier League has borne witness to some tremendous highs but equally some horrific lows in the career of Luis Suarez. Following the latest biting incident at the World Cup, many feel that it is for the best that he leaves England for pastures new. This leaves Liverpool with a big hole to fill and a lot of money to fill it with.
Within footballing circles, it is common knowledge that one of the biggest tests for managers arises when they are given a large transfer budget. The temptation is to shoot cash at any team with any players that remotely look like they want to move away from their current club. The Tottenham example springs immediately to mind. The sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £85.3 million left Spurs without their star man – the man that won them so many matches. In response to the loss of the Welshman, André Villas-Boas and the powers that be at Tottenham went on to splash money on players like Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli, who on paper seemed like good buys but they all went on to flop at White Hart Lane last season. As a result AVB ultimately lost his job and under the management of Tim Sherwood, Tottenham stuttered to the end of the season. The issue with money is that, in most cases, as soon as a club has it they want to spend it and do so without really considering what the player is really like.
Liverpool appear to be starting on the same slippery slope Spurs were on last season. With the sale of Suarez, Rodgers will have to spend his money wisely. Reading through the transfer gossip since the departure of Suarez it appears Rodgers hasn’t learnt from Spurs. Every day more reports are flooding through linking Liverpool with numerous players. Some reports are believable – There are strong links between Liverpool and the young Belgian, Divok Origi, who impressed at the World Cup. Both Origi and recent signing Markovic are good players, however their age is of concern, to quote Alan Hansen ‘you can’t win anything with kids’, neither are by any means the finished article which Liverpool needs at least in the short term to replace Suarez.
Balotelli has been linked to the club which seems nonsensical. Why replace the unpredictable Saurez with the volatile Italian? Wilfred Bony has been strongly linked to a move from Swansea; perhaps a much more sensible move than the possible addition of Balotelli. A move for Xherdan Shaqiri has been discussed but seems unlikely, as does a move for the French striker Karim Benzema. In addition, The Mirror are reporting that Rodgers has made a £44 million move for Dortmund’s Marco Reus, a player which certainly has the quality and skill to succeed in the premier league, wether he would want to move is another matter. If half the players Liverpool are linked to do sign for the club, on paper, Liverpool will have a versatile and effective attacking line up.
However good these potential purchases may look on paper, players don’t always turn out the way the managers envisage them to. As important as it is for Rodgers to find players to replace Suarez the debate is whether to buy 4 players combined to replace him- potentially leading to an unsettled team, or, Rodgers can spend big on one player to fill Suarez’s boots. However, if he chooses the latter that one player could prove to be a flop, leaving Liverpool out of pocket and out of goals. Rodgers will most likely buy 3 or 4 players to replace Suarez which is arguably a much more sensible route to take, but he must learn from AVB’s errors last season.
Rodgers recently stated that he wants to bring at least 8 new players in during this window. AVB brought in 7 new names and all of them except Erikson failed to have the desired effect. Tottenham are my case in point, but perhaps I am picking on the North London side a little too much. In recent seasons teams such as QPR and a lot of newly promoted sides’ often over buy in order to strengthen. As a result the team is never able to work together cohesively and effectively, normally leading to relegation and a hefty wage bill. Even Manchester City suffered when the club was first taken over: The club spent too much on players that didn’t go on to really improve the squad, Robinho to name but one.
There is another side to this debate and to be balanced I will make mention of it. Prominent footballing figures- including Jamie Carragher who posted his view over the ever reliable source that is twitter- argue that even with Bale in their ranks Spurs weren’t a Champions League side and that Liverpool have more quality and as a result won’t be as badly affected. Personally, I disagree. Suarez was a vital lynch pin in the way Liverpool play, with Gerrard playing a much deeper defensive role Liverpool require a world class player not only to score goals, but also to attempt to fill Gerrard’s former remit and link the play between the midfield and the strikers. Suarez is a player that was able to link the play and score goals and without him or a suitable replacement Liverpool could struggle to reach the Champions League next season.
9 times out of 10, when a lot of new players are purchased, the team fails to gel together until it is too late in the season to challenge for a trophy or Europe. A lesson was there to be learnt from Tottenham’s mistakes last season. I am not convinced it has been, as the gossip columns in most of the nation papers and sports websites are filled with Liverpool links. Of course there is a lot of time left in the transfer window, and wether a lot of these rumoured deals will happen or not remains to be seen. As for wether or not the Tottenham curse will be repeated by Liverpool, only time will tell.