Big summer Ahead
Usually when you talk about Liverpool in the transfer market it is filled with accolades. Signing players under the radar, getting players in that were not exactly unknown but then pulling off master strokes. Luis Diaz was bought for €40million but already his value has soared to almost twice that. Diogo Jota was similar in that his price tag was doubled but he was hiding in plain sight in the Premier League. I’d even suggest that Ibrahima Konate has increased in value this season.
But this transfer window has brought up the uglier side of dealing with players and agents. Usually the discussion is tied around who is coming into Anfield rather than stars that wish to leave, or are contemplating leaving. This is relatively new to Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp – and it is worrying for them.
World Class Players
Fact of the matter is World Class players do not grow on trees. They are a huge asset and when you possess one you need to guard that player with all at your disposal. Cast your mind back to when Arsenal were Champions League royalty. It seems a long cast i agree. Players were always progressing with one eye on the exit and they were powerless to stop their top brass from leaving. Fabregas, Henry, Overmars and Nasri all left for greener pastures. Usually with the lure of Spanish waters.
Running down contracts is a dangerous game for clubs and they should have paid heed to the Arsenal model of allowing players enter their final year of contract without nailing them down. Liverpool signed Mo Salah and Sadio Mane when they were shall we say “Pre World Class”. But there is not a shadow of a doubt that their success was built on their work rate and determination, sprinkled with many world class moments.
Importance of Selling
When Liverpool were last in this position with Phillipe Coutinho they pulled off as remarkable piece of transfer history. Losing your talisman is never a nice feeling and usually not good for business. But when you manage to bring in two players in Virgil Van Dijk and Alison Becker for the same money spent looking back now seems even more incredible than it seemed then.
Take a look at how Spurs spent the Gareth Bale money. Soldado, Chadli, Capoue, Chiriches, Lamela and Paulinho were misfits and only Christian Eriksen was a success. But at least they got to spend the cash afterwards. Owners could easily just hoard the money and tighten purse strings. The point is though it is hugely important to replace the stars you have with new upcoming talent. Sit still in the work of football and you quickly become forgotten.
Liverpool do not sign world Class Players
I’ve had this argument many times regarding Liverpool’s transfer activity. Bare in mind i am not going back as far as Kenny Dalglish and Peter Beardsley days. But let me throw some name out that i would consider to be good players when they arrived but were truly world class when leaving Anfield. Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres and Xavi Alonso. Liverpool do not sign world class – they make them!
This is why it is a worrying window for the reds. Look at the lengths PSG went to for Kylian Mbappe to resign. They’ve done everything except maybe put him on the board of management. But it highlights the need to keep your very best. Pull out all the stops and make the deal happen. Obviously not everyone can afford the PSG way of doing things but it still shows the importance of retaining your crown jewels.
If Liverpool hold onto Mo Salah for one more year he will leave on a free transfer and that leaves no money to replace the Egyptian King. Sadio Mane might go to Bayern for €40million this summer but replacing Mane will be a whole other issue. Bayern are shrewd in the transfer market and struck with a year to go on his contract. Any other time would have seen the figure closer to €100million.
Sign on the line or move on
I am not condoning selling both Sadio Mane and Mo Salah. If we are to believe the media right now it seems Mane wants a new challenge and there is around €40Million to secure his services. Whereas Salah would command a far greater fee to take him now. To lose Mane would be a blow as this is the personality that Liverpool have mirrored on the field for five years. Mane never shirks responsibility and when Salah and Firminio were ever fluffing their lines Mane was ready to step up.
To lose Salah on a free transfer next season would in my opinion be detrimental to Liverpool and everything they have achieved so far. It would damage everything they hope to achieve in the coming season. Make no mistake about it his goals are too important to any tram that chases down Manchester city year after year to lose. Liverpool have the unenviable task of replacing what cannot be replaced without PSG type money. He needs to sign or be sold.
1 Year Left never ends well
I’m racking my brain and to try think of a few cases where a player ran down their contract only to resign. Mbappe is the only one i can think of that had a World Class profile but decided to stay. Usually when a player cannot come to an agreement with their club the writing is on the wall. This year it seems to be a few high profile players entering that timeframe making all the noise with even legend Robert Lewandowski wanting out of Bayern.
Only a fly on the wall at Liverpool can tell why this has happened. Does Klopp agree? Will it be resolved? This time last year fans favourite Gini Wijnaldum was shown the door in similar circumstances with wages being the main reason along with age profile. It seems almost naïve that Liverpool find themselves in this mess only 12 months on.
It is stick or twist time for Liverpool. If Mane wants to go, or maybe if they need to break up the front three then this is the window to do it. But we could be looking back at this next season thinking how have they managed to allow two legends of the club depart within such a short time when they had so much more to give. This is as risky as it gets in football.
Obviously i am second guessing the up until now infallible Liverpool transfer committee. A dangerous game at the best of times. But could the club turn this into the transfer window that allows them to gain rather than lose out?
A dream scenario would be to move on Mane for €40 million to Bayern and sign a replacement. Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota to me are both more comfortable on the left side of the attack and Mane was only recently used as a no10 since the turn of the year. The arrival of Darwin Nunez would be a massive signing for Liverpool if they have the money to secure it.
Dare we go one further and suggest the club also secure the services of Salah on a 3-4 year contract. Improved wages and the clubs top earner should be enough to secure his best years in a red shirt. This could just be another one of those times we doubt the clubs hierarchy only to be blown away by their foresight. But we will wait to see how this one turns out. One thing is for sure it will be an interesting few months ahead.