Last summer, off the back of lifting their 6th European Cup, there was the expectation that Liverpool would strengthen from a position of strength. Hello Big Name Singings, right? Not exactly.
Instead, they signed 16-year-old Harvey Elliott and veteran goalkeeper Adrian.
This summer, off the back of lifting their 19th league title, there was the expectation that Liverpool would strengthen from a position of strength.
So far, there have only been crickets and tumbleweeds this summer. And then after months of silence, Melissa Reddy broke the news on Tuesday night that Liverpool were in for Norwich City’s Jamal Lewis, among other potential fullback options. There is still a difference in the valuations between the two clubs, but it’s the first indication that Liverpool will sign anyone this summer.
This is all to say that this is exactly in keeping with FSG’s transfer policy under Jurgen Klopp. While it might frustrate fans to see bigger and flashier signings going to rivals, it’s hard to argue with the results.
They spend big when they have to, and spend smartly when possible.
When Liverpool signed Georginio Wijnaldum from a relegated Newcastle, there wasn’t much excitement. Same with Andy Robertson from a relegated Hull City. Both are now nailed-on starters in Klopp’s best XI.
FSG picked up James Milner and Joel Matip on free transfers. Both players are integral to the squad.
They spent around £100 million total on the front three. None were world superstars when they signed. Indeed, Mohamed Salah was considered a “Premier League flop.” Now either Salah or Sadio Mané would command a fee well in excess of £100 million. And Bobby Firmino? He’s just invaluable.
And when there were glaring holes in midfield, centerback, and goalkeeper, FSG splashed the cash for Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, and Alisson Becker.
Liverpool currently have one of, if not the best, squads in the world. It’s difficult to improve this team. And how much should FSG spend for potentially marginal gains (if they are gains at all)?
Moreover, the uncertainty of the current COVID-19 crisis only makes the signing of Big Name Players all the more risky. Clubs are more reluctant to sell—Norwich telling Liverpool to come back with a much bigger offer is evidence of that—and it’s difficult to know what makes good “value for money” in the current marketplace.
Eventually this squad will need a refresh. Hopefully we’ll buy intelligently enough between now and the drop-offs of the current in-their-prime players to not have to completely rebuild. But even in that worst case scenario, FSG have shown that they have one of the best track records out there, and I trust them to make the right decisions.
Bring us all your bargain bin players. And the occasional Van Dijk.