Given the financial realities of football in the wake of the pandemic, 2021 was always going to be a tentative transfer summer, with many of the continent’s big clubs racking up free transfers and ridding themselves of aging stars rather than splurging on galacticos and breaking transfer records.
Manchester City, of course, have no such restraints — being little more than the sportswashing arm of a human rights-abusing petro-state, immune to genuine repercussions for their blatant financial doping — and after Pep Guradiola’s crocodile tears regarding the market earlier this summer, have dispensed with the charades entirely and simply splashed £100m on a player who had a phenomenal 2,000 Premier League minutes last year.
Now, Jack Grealish has developed into a tremendous footballer, and if he can stay healthy, will probably improve City somewhat, but what this transfer represents for Liverpool has less to do with the marginal improvement of a direct rival, and more to do with the trickle-down effect of the Blues’ big splash.
Aston Villa, who have already spent well this summer, bringing in Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey, immediately went out and signed Danny Ings from Southampton for £30m, earning Liverpool £2m in the process, as a result of a sell-on clause negotiated during Ings’ departure back in 2018.
This, in turn, leaves Southampton with a hole in their squad and a solid chunk of change to fill said hole. Liverpool, on their end, have mid-table talent for sale at reasonable prices, and will be more than happy to oblige Southampton, or other English clubs who suddenly find themselves with thin squads and thick pockets, should they come calling.
Should Harry Kane make his much-anticipated move north as well, there will be even more money in circulation, and the probability of Liverpool finding homes for their fringe players increases. This, of course, strengthens the Reds’ financial position as they themselves look to improve their squad, either this summer or, depending on what the league table looks like when the time comes, in the January window.
Other clubs spending big may not be particularly exciting for Reds fans, but if it helps the club engineer moves for the likes of Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino, it may very well be worth as much to Liverpool as it is to anyone else.