Melissa Reddy provides insight into Liverpool summer transfer plans
Liverpool’s recruitment was once a source of amusement for rivals. Not so anymore, with the Reds landing one masterstroke after another in the market as they built a squad capable of competing with the best.
The club now has a long-term vision of the kind of players they want and are prepared to be proactive about it rather than reactive. It culminated in a rather quiet January transfer window where for once, fans were lost for words as to how the squad can be improved.
Independent’s Melissa Reddy states that the Reds will not look to add to the squad for the sake of it and will seek value for the players they sign. She also goes on to state that the club will not rid themselves of the transfer strategy that has made them into the juggernaut they are today. (h/t Independent)
We take a look at some of the points discussed by Reddy in her article.
Necessity over Greed
Reddy believes that the Reds will not pay over the odds for a player that they do not seem essential. Can Liverpool afford them? Maybe. Will they sign players just because they can afford to do so? Possibly not.
It’s fair to say that there’s no reason for us to change what has been a winning formula, now that we have reached the pinnacle.
Reddy aptly puts it in her article that plausibility and cost are bigger determining factors. The simple fact remains that Liverpool do not need big players, especially not if the price is too high.
An incentive-based wage structure
It isn’t just the transfer fee that complicates signing players at a high value but also the wage structure. Liverpool follows an incentive-based wage structure where players are rewarded with healthy bonuses. The better you play, the more you earn. It’s a pretty elegant system that gives as it gets.
All the players in the Liverpool squad subscribe to the system rather than have the system be tweaked for them.
Noticing value rather than reputation
It doesn’t take a genius to scout players like Jadon Sancho or Kylian Mbappe, for example. However, Liverpool are rather getting the right players who suit the club as per the research conducted by Ian Graham and head of recruitment, Micheal Edwards.
The signings of Roberto Firmino for £29million, Sadio Mane for £34million, or Andrew Robertson for £8million were achieved because the club saw value in them that no one else didn’t. The same could be argued for the signings of Mohamed Salah, a Chelsea reject and Gini Wijnaldum – a player who got relegated with Newcastle.
Time has proven the recruitment team right and these players now form the core of a Liverpool squad poised for greatness.
Spend big when necessary
It is not to say that the club will not spend big when necessary. The signings of Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk involved big fees for their respective positions at the time. Both the players were seen as transformative signings who could elevate the club to the next level, which is exactly what they have done.
The club aren’t averse to turning adversity into an opportunity as evidenced by the sale of Coutinho. Not only did Liverpool get to keep him for half a year, but they also ended up getting top dollar for the player.
Tie down players for the long-term
Liverpool’s priority in the summer will be to reward Alisson and Van Dijk with long-term contracts. The remaining ensemble of the Liverpool rearguard -Joe Gomez, Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have already signed long-term contracts with the club.
Assembling a high-level defence isn’t cheap and players with the qualities of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are worth their weight in gold. Liverpool already have the tools they need and it makes sense to keep and develop them rather than alter the squad in a big way.
Promote development rather than spend unwisely
It is no secret that Liverpool rely on their full-backs in the way they play. The lack of a specialist backup for either Robertson or Alexander-Arnold is a weakness in the squad.
The club, however, have decided to go about it smartly. Reddy in her article has touched upon this topic by elaborating on Liverpool’s interest in Dortmund left-back Raphael Guerreiro.
Reddy goes on to confirm that the Reds were indeed in the market for a backup left-back last summer. They had considered Guerreiro who would have cost the club £17million, with a salary in the region of £60,000-a-week.
The club, however, thought that Robertson would only be displaced in the event of an injury and the money was ill-spent on a player with no realistic chances of displacing the Scotsman.
Instead, the club chose to deputize James Milner as Robertson’s backup while promoting the young Yasser Larouci. The similar logic can be applied at the other flank, with Neco Williams emerging as a promising deputy for Alexander-Arnold.
In doing so, the club once again showed the ability to make the best use of their resources than give in to a problem.
Liverpool will continue the approach in the summer. Decisions will be taken with respect to the likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones. Liverpool also have a host of talent out on loan such as Marco Grujic at Hertha Berlin, Harry Wilson at Bournemouth and Rhian Brewster at Swansea.
Character as much as skill
Liverpool also profiles the character of the players they scout. The team have widely earnt the name ‘mentality giants‘ for their ability to maintain their heads even in the most testing of circumstances, such as the situation when the team entered the second leg of the Champions League sem-final against Barcelona with a 3-goal deficit.
The Reds scout for players who they believe can weather the storm. The likes of Fabinho and Robertson spent months on the sidelines, acclimatizing themselves to the team. Rather than sulk and throw their toys out of the pram, they instead improved themselves into worthy regulars.
The right attitude is as important, if not more to succeed at Anfield, something Mamadou Sakho found to his detriment.
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Reddy states that Liverpool are unlikely to significantly dip into the market unless something comes up. They are helped by the fact that the club require no major restructuring at the moment.
From being rejected by the likes of Willian to having become favourites to land Sancho, the Reds have come a long way in the last few years. The recruitment team, however, choose to remain grounded and instead let their results speak for them.
There will come a time when Liverpool will need to rebuild another winning squad. With Edwards and Klopp at the helm, Liverpool fans will not lose any sleep on the club’s ability to do so.