After Liverpool confirmed Rickie Lambert as their first signing of the summer, questions must be asked whether the 32-year-old striker is the right kind of signing that will inspire the club to victory in a major competition next season?
In my previous post, Liverpool Face Transfer Dilemmas This Summer I made the point that Brendan Rodgers will have to shuffle his pack in order to bring quality in numbers to Anfield. The other option, it would appear, is to buy on the cheap...
At £4 million, Lambert could prove to be a bargain. He is strong, powerful and has a good touch for a big man. But with 14 goals in 39 games for Southampton last season, he is hardly the most prolific frontman around.
Furthermore, having journeyed through the lower leagues with Blackpool, Macclesfield Town, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers, he is unproven on the biggest stage, despite his recent call up to England’s World Cup squad.
Will Lambert’s arrival inspire Luis Suarez to want to stay at Anfield? To be fair to the multi-award winning player of the season, the Reds No.7 has made it known he wants to stay at Liverpool, and according to reports in Spain, Real Madrid have cooled their interest in the Uruguayan in favour of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
Still, it’s not too late for Suarez or Los Blancos to change their mind, and unless Fenway Sports Group are prepared to dig deep and pay the going rate for proven quality on the European stage, Liverpool won’t be playing in the Champions League in 2015/2016.
Failure to qualify for Europe’s top competition, or pick up any silverware this year may signal an exodus of top players from Anfield.
The Kop faithful have endured a frustrating transfer policy with American owners before. Messrs Tom Hicks and George Gillette proved they were not the best a man-ager can get.
Rafa Benitez took the brunt of the blame for bringing in second rate players and during the ill-fated reign, Liverpool were a second rate team. But other than Fernando Torres, all the players drafted in by Benitez were under £20 million.
History is repeating itself, and although it has to be said FSG are running the club better than their fellow countrymen, their transfer policy leaves little to be desired. If a club buy players for small transfer fees, they win few prizes. That’s why the owners of Chelsea, the two Manchester clubs and as of last year Arsenal, are prepared to spend £30m plus on world-class players.
To their credit FSG are prepared to spend the money they get from player sales. When Fernando Torres was shipped to Chelsea for £50m, they brought in Suarez for £21.7m and Andy Carroll for £35m. Torres wanted a move away from Anfield because the clubs owners were not showing any ambition, and just like any top footballer, the Spaniard wanted to win medals. Suarez has a buy-out clause for £75m which could still be triggered this summer.
Liverpool have missed out on several transfer targets over the past year, most notably Mohammad Salah and Henrik Mkhitaryan, both of whom wanted Champions League football. Now the Reds can offer that, they are in a position to attract the top players. However, if FSG are prepared to pay the fees and the wages demanded by clubs and players in the modern game, the top players will go to the clubs that are prepared to pay.
Moves for Adam Lallana and Emre Can have both stalled because of money disputes. Southampton want £30m for their captain, but FSG are only prepared to pay £25m. The hierarchy have tabled a final “take it or leave it” bid. Southampton are likely to leave it and wait for a club who is prepared to pay their asking price.
Can on the other hand wants more wages. Liverpool’s owners will probably wave that transfer out the window as well, despite £10m looking like a reasonable fee for the promising youngster.
Liverpool fans have already expressed their disappointment in FSG’s poor performance in the transfer market. Since taking the helm, Rodgers has bought in a 16 players for a total of £95,530,000, the most expensive of which have been Joe Allen (£15m) and Mahmoud Sakho (£17.5m). Of the 16, only two have truly impressed, Philippe Coutinho (£8.5m) and Daniel
Sturridge (£12m), neither of whom could get into their respective sides which is why their price tags were affordable.
To bulk up his squad last season Rodgers had to draft in players on loan. He has said he does not want to do that this time round, but may have to if he cannot land players on permanent contracts. And with FSG’s current transfer policy, signing quality players of note will be difficult. It seems as though Rodgers will have to use his current squad as bargaining chips to bring the transfer fee down, such as offering £16.2m and Suso for Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno.
Already it is looking like another disappointing transfer window for Liverpool fans!
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