Liverpool don’t like to make panic buys. That has been clear in recent seasons, and was an approach again on display this summer when Aurélien Tchouaméni chose Real Madrid and Dortmund was unwilling to sell Jude Bellingham and they decided to stick with what they already had for the 2022-23 season.
Then, with injuries piling up, they began to look to sign a midfielder. As deadline day approached, though, it appeared nobody they wanted moving down their lists from Tchouaméni and Bellingham was plausibly available. Once again, it looked like they would stick with what they had, despite the injuries.
Then, against Newcastle on Wednesday evening, captain Jordan Henderson suffered a hamstring injury of uncertain severity that will require scans. With the transfer deadline just 24 hours away, they had no option. According to journalists with ties to the club, after midnight last night they moved for Arthur Melo.
The once promising midfielder has struggled massively since joining Juventus in 2020, and his move there was facilitated by Barcelona believing they had upgraded to Frenkie de Jong—a player that Melo, at his best, could usefully be compared to. Attempts to use him in a deeper role as a six at Juventus failed miserably.
Now 26, Melo hasn’t looked the player he was meant to be for at least a few seasons. And even the player he was meant to be wasn’t enough for Barcelona not to try to sign an upgrade. The player he was meant to be was also never Thiago, the player many Barcelona fans wanted him to be when he joined in 2018.
Still, there’s a useful player in there, somewhere. As far as panic signings go, it’s not hard to see the logic—though many will argue, perhaps with some justification, the club should have continued to prioritize midfield after Tchouaméni and Bellingham came off the table, perhaps avoiding getting to the point of panic.