How I stopped expecting and love what I didn't know
How I gave up and started coming up with drinking games
Mr. Tomkins has a fantastic article about what will come this summer, and what the future holds for Liverpool. Inside this article he elaborates on what he expects to happen in the summer transfer window. I think he's not far off. Inside the article is this gem:
Going back to Bob Paisley, the legendary manager bought 20 players who played league football for the Reds. Of those 20, eighteen were 24 or under. The other two were 25 and 26. It also happens that Paisley broke the British transfer record for his oldest signing: 26-year-old Kenny Dalglish. (Note: 26, not 29.) We used to think it was wise when he said "let your players lose their legs on someone else’s pitch", and sell them at 29 or 30. Has that really changed?
Paisley also spent fairly big money by the standards of the day on Graeme Souness, Alan Kennedy and Mark Lawrenson: all 24. Phil Neal, Bruce Grobbelaar and Terry McDermott were 23. Alan Hansen was 22. Steve Nicol and Jim Beglin were 21 (as was Kevin Sheedy, who went on to be some player at Everton). Joey Jones was 20. Ian Rush and Ronnie Whelan were still in their teens.
You could argue that these were simply superbly scouted players where age was irrelevant; but is it merely a coincidence that the average age of Paisley’s signings was a mere 22.3, and that the average age of those who went on to play over 300 games for the Reds was a virtually identical 22.5? (Those ten ultra-successful signings, with an average age of just 22.5, each played an average of 464 games for the Reds.)
He goes on to talk about how buying "here and now" something that I said we needed to do not 2 hours ago brought us this:
Liverpool’s biggest "here and now" buys, aged 24 or older and bought to go into the first team since 1993 are: Paul Ince, Robbie Keane, Fernando Morientes, Didi Hamann, Sami Hyypia, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson, Jari Litmanen, Dirk Kuyt, Steve Finnan, Raul Meireles, Stephane Henchoz, Yossi Benayoun, Harry Kewell, Stan Collymore, Dejan Lovren, Abel Xavier, Simon Mignolet, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Nick Barmby, Vladimir Smicer, Andrea Dossena, Jean-Michel Ferri, Alberto Aquilani, Peter Crouch, Bolo Zenden, Markus Babbel, Craig Bellamy (27 in 2007), Luis Garcia, Albert Riera, Mario Balotelli, Stewart Downing, Adam Lallana, Neil Ruddock, Julian Dicks, Nigel Clough, Jason McAteer and John Scales. Some may have only been bought for a place on the bench, but I’m pretty sure most were signed with strengthening the XI in mind.
A few signings that certainly did reasonably Meireles, Bellamy, Crouch, Finnan, Garcia, Glen Johnson (before his legs gave out). Some that I rated highly, Kuyt, Hyppia, some that might still come good: Lallana, Lovren, and even Balotelli. Some that did not, Keane, Aquilani. Some that we'll just leave alone and not flog the perished equine.
Needless to say, this does give me some pause about pushing the 'buy here and now'. I do think it has some merit, but maybe not as much as previously indicated. Not that Memphis Depay or any other younger, high end player wouldn't serve a good purpose at Liverpool, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that buying here and now is not always going to be a done and dusted deal. I'd love to hear some thoughts.
At the end of the day, I think it is a well tempered piece about how the Liverpool have functioned successfully in the past, and potentially can do so in the future