Thinking About Liverpool’s Transfer Strategy

Twitter is not real life. Anyone who gets caught up in what happens on the social media platform only has themselves to blame if they find themselves getting stressed. Most Liverpool supporters are sensible, calm and rational people who understand that a Champions League victory followed by a first title of the Premier League era represents an incredible return. Since Jürgen Klopp arrived at Anfield in October of 2016 the club has been on a steady upwards trajectory and normal fans appreciate that. Yet I’ll readily admit that it’s easy to get caught up in the nonsense that you find online. The current argument over Gini Wijnaldum’s contribution to the club is one that I’ve found myself arguing with strangers on the internet about. I have no idea why I bother; if you can’t see what Wijnaldum offers the Premier League champions then football’s not for you.

Someone somewhere should be looking to write an in-depth piece about the moment that scores of supporters of football clubs felt that signings were more important than trophies. Many a Liverpool fan will laugh at Everton for ‘winning the transfer window in 2017’, yet they’re annoyed that the Reds haven’t signed Thiago Alcantara, Timo Werner and Lionel Messi this summer. This in the months after we’ve won the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history and our first top-flight title for thirty years strikes me as utter madness. Anyone would think that we’d somehow fluked ninety-seven and ninety-point seasons, throwing a European Cup into the mix too. It wasn’t a fluke; it was courtesy of meticulous planning and excellent work by both the manager and his team, including Michael Edwards. Why do some supporters still not trust them?

The Pandemic Is Real

I won’t even begin to understand the ins and outs of a football club’s finances. If you want to be able to get your head around things in greater detail then it’s worth giving Swiss Ramble a follow on Twitter. One thing I can say, though, is that the pandemic is a very real thing and it will be having an effect on the football club. People point to Chelsea and Leeds United spending money whilst forgetting that the former is owned by a billionaire who doesn’t care about pouring money into his football plaything and the latter have just been promoted. The pool of players that Leeds can buy from to improve themselves is massive and won’t cost all that much in the grand scheme of things. For Liverpool, however, the pool is incredibly small and an expensive one to be shopping in. When you’re not sure where money is coming from, you need to be careful.

I’m more than aware that our success will have brought in plenty of money, yet it’s also inescapable that it will equally have seen huge chunks of money paid out on contracts that will have had incentives to win the Champions League and Premier League within them. Add to that the fact that the club has lost around 20% of guaranteed revenue in the form of ticket sales and you can start to understand how things aren’t as straight forward as some fans might wish. That doesn’t mean that Liverpool won’t spend any money this summer, but it does mean that the club needs to be more sensible. Even before the pandemic, we were in a position where we couldn’t afford to get things wrong as readily as Manchester City could, for example. An approach that was already extremely pragmatic will have been doubled down upon and we’re now seeing the results.

The Club Knows What It’s Doing

As mentioned already, Liverpool’s success on the pitch in recent years hasn’t been a fluke. It’s been courtesy of the manager trusting the people that he’s working with and the people he’s working with being incredibly good at their jobs. Michael Edwards has proven that he’s a transfer guru, even if he is just working in an air-conditioned office with a laptop. It wasn’t that long ago that people were singing his praises for getting such outrageous money from Bournemouth for the likes of Brad Smith and Dominic Solanke, let along persuading Jürgen Klopp to purchase Mohamed Salah. Whilst other clubs are spending money, the market still isn’t as active as it needs to be. No one seems to be wanting to splash out on Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri or Harry Wilson, for example, all of whom would improve some clubs and we’d be willing to sell.

Move them out and we’ll have more money to play with. I don’t agree with the notion that we’re a sell-to-buy club in normal circumstances, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Like it or not, the club has lost a fifth of its revenue and there’s no clue about when it will be coming back. To spend frivolously at the moment would be madness and it’s not the manner the club is being run in by Fenway Sports Group. Instead, they’re looking to ensure that we can survive moments such as this and they’ll be looking at the market and wondering how they can box clever. You might not like it, but it’s what got us to where we are as Premier League champions. We know that Jürgen Klopp doesn’t like to throw players in to his side, so there’s no rush to bring players in. I’ll be amazed if we haven’t added another couple of additions when the window closes.

Klopp

Klopp On The Side Of The Kop

That, of course, isn’t going to happen until the start of October. If we don’t bring in Thiago or Ismaila Sarr, to use two examples of players that we’ve been linked with, then a portion of the fanbase will lose its mind. The same thing happened when we didn’t sign anyone last summer, but we then went on to win the Premier League at a canter. Given the truncated nature of the campaign this time around, I’m as keen as anyone for us to bring in reinforcements and believe it will be a mistake if we don’t. I also thought it would be a mistake not to bring in cover for the front three last season. It’s fair to say that Liverpool’s backroom staff knew what they were doing and I don’t have a clue. Whatever happens from here, we won’t know until next summer whether it was a mistake or not. Personally, I think the team behind-the-scenes has earned our trust.

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