Nothing quite grinds Liverpool fans’ gears like the words “Outstanding” or “Character”. However, that doesn’t stop Brendan Rodgers from using them at every opportunity presented to him. The reason why those phrases get fans backs up against the wall is because they’re simply not true. We are not outstanding, haven’t been all season. We certainly don’t show character when the chips are down or when we’ve played a high-pressure game; we’ve bottled it and that’s putting it politely. This season has been far from great, and I can’t help but wonder:
“Is it because our manager favours Premier League proven players as a top priority when targeting transfers?”
Now being a Liverpool fan I detest this “Premier League Proven” phrase more than any other. It’s certainly done its rounds on Twitter by the fan base. If recent history has taught us anything we should steer clear from such a label. Just look at Downing, Adam, Carroll and more recently Lallana and Lovren, you could even throw Balotelli into the mix of flopped Premier League proven players. I look at those players and shudder at how woeful we’ve been in the transfer market. I find it impossible that any manager be it Dalglish or Rodgers would genuinely believe that these said players are the solution and saviour of this great football club. As far as I’m concerned Premier League Proven means mediocre, limited technical ability and massively overpriced players because they’re either home grown players or because they’re settled in England. These said proven players that we have bought come from mid-table teams too, so how do they add depth and value to Liverpool Football Club? If I can see it, the average fan can see it, why can’t our manager see it?
Now, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I personally believe Rodgers doesn’t believe in the hype of “Premier League Proven” talent. It’s more the case of playing the hand that he’s been dealt with. The hand being, he doesn’t have the pull over European players because he’s not a big name in European Football. He knows deep down he can never attract players from other leagues and without a Director of Football (someone he refuses to work with) it makes recruiting even more difficult.
He’s tried, and god loves a trier. We only have to rewind back to last summer. Suarez was on his way out and Brendan wanted Sanchez as his immediate replacement. Wanting and getting, are of course two very different things, we all know what happened, Sanchez shunned Brendan and opted to go to Arsenal. Lets be honest, Brendan would never have dreamt of going for the former Barca man after his first season in charge of Liverpool. He wouldn’t have the confidence after his modest 7th place finish in the league. However, last summer was a different story, the confidence was high as he’d overachieved and he decided to treat himself to a luxury player as he thought he had the goods to persuade the Chilean to make the move to Anfield.
It’s the football equivalent of getting a big promotion at work and you decide to treat yourself with a new power suit to go with your new found high status within your industry. So you walk into Dolce and Gabbana. pick the on-season trend garment, try it on, it fits like a glove and it looks good. You take it to the cash register and during the transaction your credit card is declined. Your custom isn’t good enough for the top end stores so you have to face reality and go back to shopping in High Street stores. You impulsively pay similar money to buy an Adam Lallana, the football equivalent of a Next suit, and then you have to pretend that you’re happy with your low quality item but you have to save face in public to hide the embarrassment.
Thanks to the stats from Squawka.com we can see the difference in buying from a High Street store like Next or designer house like Dolce and Gabbana. The stats clearly show that Sanchez has totally out-performed Lallana in the Premier League this season. Note, Sanchez arrived from La Liga after an impressive World Cup showing and had never played in the Premier League before. This is one example of how the “Premier League Proven” status is an urban myth and Liverpool should look to foreign shores to bolster their squad.
The same principles apply to football, and certainly Brendan Rodgers. Last summer he had the world at his feet, his stock had raised, he thought he’d turned from a nobody into a somebody over the course of the season, and he was bold enough to bid for Alexis Sanchez. However the rejection has probably left a psychological scar on Rodgers and he feels safe bidding for players in the Premier League as he has more of a chance of signing them. Whilst deep down he would like to sign the high-end players the sad reality is that he can’t make it past the doorman, aka the agent, and he’s likely not going to ever make it past the first hurdle if he insists on working on his own without a Director Of Football watching over him. It’s a frustrating time for Liverpool fans as we all know too well how these so called “Premier League Proven” players don’t perform at our great club and our manager who has tricked himself into believing that these said targets will help us progress. Whichever way you look at it, it’s going to be a long transfer window, so fasten your seat-belts because if Brendan has his way he’ll be hitting the charity shops and be bringing back the likes of Ings and Milner.