Imagine your average Liverpool fan heading into the weekend. Everyone's had a chance to countenance the figurative rodent in the fire swamp during the build up. Transfer expenditures, coaching staff rejig, the NB, the Great Christian Benteke Debate of 2015, Brendan Rodgers sitting on his hot seat, holding onto his last rope, etc. The bones of Liverpool story lines don't just gnaw themselves, you know.
Not for the first time, one of the things that has snuck up on us this summer is how this youth attrition business is no joke. In Brendan Rodgers' first season, players like Sebastian Coates, Martin Kelly, and Jonjo Shelvey seemed as sure a bet as any in recent memory to play a long term part in Red. Andre Wisdom was the young, academy-groomed defender getting put to the fire, with Jon Flanagan looking a poor fit for even the fringes of the first team. But three years is a long time.
Fast forward to this time last year? Well, surely, Raheem Sterling and Suso(ooooooooooo) were going to make Jordon Ibe sweat it out a bit before breaking into the first team picture. Fowler, Tiago Ilori hasn't even gotten the thing into gear and he's being usurped in hearts and minds by The Great New CB Hope That Is If His Eyes Aren't Real--Joe Gomez. Not to throw water on the well-stoked coals of Bromez fandom. We've certainly enjoyed dabbling in his arrival, and we hope to further rejoice in the brewing Joe mania.
But the turnover is tangible. As we watched Ryan Kent and Sheyi Ojo smoke their tires a bit in Swindon Town's parking lot, it was with a more detached, twinged sort of excitement for them. Do well! We love you! We are fans with families - please don't make us cry three years from now!
We see the staunch anti-emoji crowd out there, tutting. It's just a sport. This wasn't all that dramatic, and in the end we got Firmino. Which is absolutely true. Even the world's introduction to the unctuous Aidy Ward was just a caricature of how agents wade between players, and clubs, and fans every offseason.
Andre Wisdom signed for four years. It doesn't mean Liverpool will keep this natural leader, who is as stout as they come, as well drilled in the Liverpool Way as Jon Flanagan, and positionally flexible enough to compensate for a modest ceiling. Would Liverpool have been any worse off today had they kept the Ilori and Dejan dosh, and rolled with Wisdom as a more integrated part of the CB rotation the last three seasons? He was that highly rated coming out of the Academy by some--the move to FB was only supposed to be a couple cuts from the on deck circle.
Instead, the plan's just been to dangle him out there as a Jay Spearing-level asset. The fat of the academy lamb feeding the increasingly immodest market of youth prospect transfer targets. The first team market if one can find a Sterling level talent. You look at Southampton and their any deal, anytime style from the academy to the first team has been crucial to their re-establishment to the BPL. It's certainly a strategy with legs.
It'll also remain a thing that sits uneasy with us at times. Not only because of the irrational love we have as dastardly drunken Liverpool fans, but because it's completely natural to feel kinda grossed out when you're watching a (well compensated) human being treated as an asset.
Andre Wisdom can connect on a 10 yard slide tackle more accurately than we can press X as we cue up our third straight Netflix marathon, but that doesn't buy him time within the inexorable churn of global football.
No pity party for a guy who has peaked enough valleys to laugh off things like his Porsche in the mud, or over exposure of an eager inebriation. This is just acknowledgement for all of the Andre Wisdoms that walk during this saturated passing of the guard routine. Typically forgotten at a time when everybody wants to talk, like they have got something to say, but nothing comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish...
So, keep your Flanno jerseys tucked tight out there folks, and enjoy the uniqueness of the season at your door. Just don't say we didn't warn you when Tex gets sold for half a century, and Bobby Adekanye picks the #31 to play out the 2018-19 season as Liverpool's next Great Red Hype.
- Liverpool FC Transfer Rumours: Fabio Borini Eager to Seal Fiorentina Move
- Liverpool Defender Completes Long-Delayed Return to Spain
- Liverpool FC Transfer Rumours: Reds Target Illarramendi Told to Find a New Club
- The Liverpool Offside 2015-16 Season Preview, Part 4: Premier League vs. Europa League
- Detailed Infographic of Steven Gerrard's Liverpool Career