A brief look at Twitter post Philippe Coutinho’s exit, and the rumour mill is in full swing – everyday it’s a different player, or a change in stance, or a supposed pending medical – and now there’s even the inclusion of a mystery man.
All of which is to be expected, though the worrying idea that none of the above actually come to fruition, is one that could be harmful to a season still full of promise.
I’m not suggesting that we can’t indefinitely cope for the rest of the season without Coutinho – but is ‘coping’ good enough, considering we are currently 3-points off second in the Premier League; in the last-16 of the Champions League and with the FA Cup still available.
We’ve been weakened, halfway through a good season, and during Jürgen Klopp’s longest unbeaten run at Liverpool, that’s not debatable, but that doesn’t have to signify the start of a deteriorating campaign – not if we take full advantage of the January transfer window.
And I’m well aware of the difficulties that are involved with recruiting top-quality players midway through the season – but as we’ve sold one of our key performers (whether down to creating a dampened atmosphere; breaking loyalties with Klopp or just purely down to money) – we have to follow suit and reinvest.
Splashing the cash (and doing what we’ve done once this window); annihilating our transfer record and putting the budget to one side, in order to benefit the squad and get our desired target – plus it could actually end up saving money in the future.
How many times have we seen a World Cup inflate a players true value – or introduce multiple interested club’s, making it harder to seal a deal, and/or pushing the price further out of reach.
AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim in today's press conference on Thomas Lemar: "You know how crazy the transfer window is… a club like Monaco cannot say no."
— Get French Football (@GFFN) January 11, 2018
For instance, Monaco’s Thomas Lemar (not that he’ll 100% end up a Liverpool player) but for arguments sake, if he did, the rumoured price is £90-million (which is already steep) – now imagine France win the World Cup, or even get to the semi-finals; with him playing out-of-his-skin. The price would be upwards of £120-million. It’s a risk.
Many are taking heed from the fact we’ve got a better win ratio without Coutinho in the side, but that doesn’t incorporate rotation value, creativity and game changing moments from the Brazilian.
You can’t extract that from a team and not expect a slight drop in midfield spark – though we have (a returning to fitness) Adam Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain to combat the the imbalance – whether that’s enough remains to be seen. Not forgetting both have a past history of picking up injuries, which would be disastrous.
Ideally we’d pay the money (however begrudgingly it may feel) and bring forward the Naby Keita deal which is around the £10-15-million mark – and has sent Twitter into jubilation at the thought of his arrival.
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 11, 2018
Not surprised either – he’s pure power; can dribble past players for fun, score acute goals, create chances, the lot. (Regardless of what Danny Murphy thinks).
Obviously he’d be cup-tied for the Champions League, but Naby would benefit from the chance to adapt to the Premier League and settle into his new environment – but more importantly; Keita ‘could’ be the difference between playing in Europe on a Tuesday/Wednesday night or playing on a Thursday next season. Think we’ll all be in agreement on which we’d prefer.
It would show a real state of intent to identify a world-class target, that suits our system to a tee, and just go and pay the figure required to force a deal (for the second time in a single window) – not just Keita, but show the world we aren’t the (Coutinho-less) wounded animal, they think we are – but in-fact on the hunt for success.
Go and reinforce what we’ve got; buy a goalkeeper or defensive midfielder or attacker (I actually don’t care), just make us believe we’re still on the rise.
Not just for the sentiment of the fans, but to help protect future/current scouted targets – if we fail to finish in the Champions League spots this season, it could potentially derail our Summer acquisitions.
Consistently playing in the Champions League is integral to attracting elite players in modern day football – and winning trophies is the way to prevent them from leaving.
You can moan and groan about past signings that have been lacklustre to say the least I.e. Andy Carroll for Fernando Torres; Rickie Lambert/Mario Balotelli for Luis Suarez or even Alberto Aquilani for Xabi Alonso – but you have to take confidence after looking at our recent signings: Mohamed Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andy Robertson all looking the part, and all very compatible with Klopp’s footballing philosophy.
Taking Klopp’s persistence and patience with the Virgil van Dijk situation; you’d imagine he’ll show the same approach in attempting to achieve whom ever is next on his hit-list.
Which is very admirable to think he’s willing to wait for the more suitable player, rather than buying for the sake of it, and creating more surplus players on the payroll.
I’m not suggesting he should ever change his stance on that front – however I do think the club should be doing everything in its power to go and tick a few more off the wish list to compensate our loss – and as soon as possible to reap the rewards of their investment.
I hate hindsight.
I hate regret.
I don’t want to feel that way about the January transfer window.
It hasn’t undermined the signature of Van Dijk, but losing Coutinho has taken the edge off slightly – and I think smashing our record transfer fee (again) would certainly prove to the doubters; we still mean business.
Up the Reds!