And it seems to get worse every year; the hysteria created by media and fans together just seems to escalate more and more, to the point of exhaustion. And then there’s Twitter…
We hate the transfer window, but we just can’t stay away from it.
They say the buck stops with the manager, which in modern football could be seen as a truth with certain modification. The way I see it the buck stops at the top end of the chain of responsibility, meaning the owners’ willingness to back their manager financially is partly what decides whether or not said manager can reach the outlined objectives.
Last summer was a bit of a damp squib in the end for Liverpool FC: too many leaving and too few joining; fans unhappy and a new manager left hanging – abandoned and let down by those who appointed him three months earlier. That was the general opinion at the time.
As the deadline now creeps closer I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s somehow happening again. Not because of unwillingness from the owners of the club; I have no reason to doubt them supporting the manager. I rather think it has something to do with the set of rules we have set for ourselves which affects our flexibility when operating in the transfer market.
As we know, the transfer market isn’t at all rational. Far from it, actually. It’s this weird sort of micro cosmos created by and feeding off irrationality, which doesn’t appear to suit everyone. Arsene Wenger has been accused of an unnecessary level of prudency in recent years, because he tries to act rational in this utterly irrational environment. Looking at it from the outside it seems as if he, or whoever decides these things at Arsenal, places a value on a player and refuses to go beyond this value – which I suppose is perfectly natural behaviour and way of thinking from a man with a degree in economics.
This is also the approach FSG seem to have adopted, after having learned a few valuable and expensive lessons during their first year as owners of Liverpool Football Club.
I’m sometimes left wondering how one places a value on a player, and particularly how it’s done at LFC. Do we go into a negotiation with a maximum value – or a ceiling if you will – on any given player, or are these things open for evaluation and reconsideration as the negotiation process goes along?
If it’s the former then I think we inevitably set ourselves up for some disappointments now and then, and it’s also what appears to have happened in the Willian deal. By all accounts it appears that Brendan Rodgers and the rest of the transfer committee acted swiftly once he became available, and all press reports point to Liverpool being the first club to the party. Yet still we ended up on the outside in the end, even though this looked like a deal we could have wrapped up had we been willing to bend a principle or two.
Granted it’s probably the transfer committee that sets this value – in my opinion FSG can’t claim to be the ones within the club most qualified to do so – meaning they are the ones who draw the line we won’t cross, and thus can’t really blame FSG for not being flexible enough to splash some extra millions when it’s suddenly necessary.
One dilemma here could of course be that the committee doesn’t want to set this ceiling too high, potentially leading to FSG not giving the green light for what in all honesty would be perfectly valid reasons. But then again, if there is this inherent aversion against what we consider to be overpaying for a player, can the club seriously claim that the actual ambition level matches the noises we hear about getting back into the Champions League and eventually challenge for the title again?
Could it be that it’s we, the fans, who need to be more patient and develop a more sober outlook regarding the time scale of the club’s progress; or do we have a valid point when we raise our concerns regarding lack of investment in the squad?