Forget the Big Name Signings for Liverpool
As this memorable season for Liverpool comes to a close, thoughts begin to drift towards this summer’s transfer window. The press have been awash with transfer rumours and speculation for weeks and in turn, it’s fed the online shopping lists of fans with imaginative expectations of just what this summer holds in store for Liverpool.
Borussia Dortmund have some excellent players and naturally, there is the Jürgen Klopp connection, but that doesn’t mean we’ll sign any of them. Bayern Munich have already tied up the €35m signing of Mats Hummels, so if you discount the injured Ilkay Gündogan, it just leaves Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the wish list. Sadly, none of them are likely to be heading to Anfield this summer. If “But at Dortmund he had Hummels, Reus, Lewandowski, Gündogan, Götze and Aubameyang” is your logic, then you have to understand that all of those players were either brought through the ranks or not stars when he signed them. The likes of Roman Weidenfeller, Marcel Schmelzer, Neven Subotic, Lukas Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Shinji Kagawa, Sven Bender, Sokratis and Nuri Sahin can all be added to that list.
Simply put, Klopp is a manager that likes to promote from within and sign promising players that he can mould and improve with coaching. Buying the finished article is not his thing and in that respect, he is the antithesis of a Jose Mourinho type manager.
Now, having said that, if the opportunity presented itself to sign an established name for the right price, with the right circumstances, then I’m sure he would take it. This, I believe, is the potential of a deal for Mario Götze because as much as Götze is an established name, his progression has stalled since he departed Klopp’s Dortmund in 2013. Götze and Klopp know each other well, have a good relationship and importantly, trust and understand one another. So, despite name value, Götze is not the finished article and, with his contractual status, could well present the opportunity for him to work with Klopp once more and perhaps unlock that enormous potential he showed at Dortmund.
Aside from the unique opportunity that Götze could be, I would expect the majority of this summer’s acquisitions at Liverpool to be less than glamorous to the casual observer. Some of whom will invariably see a selection of British journalists take their pot-shots at those of us who do actually watch other leagues and may actually be familiar with the player in question. Thankfully, not all UK reporters are sanctimonious and narrow minded, with some even making the effort to research or embrace the knowledge of others.
Sadly, it is often those with the least awareness that make the most noise and can have an influence on the fans who do not have the time or inclination to watch other leagues and will trust their judgement. So, if you haven’t heard of a player or he is coming from a club you’ve never heard of or a league you’ve never watched, it doesn’t mean he is substandard. Klopp and his staff have a proven track record of improving and developing players and will have a good scouting network. Leicester City have been the perfect example of a club utilising scouting and coaching to find success. It is more viable for a club with the financial standing of Liverpool and a manager with the attributes of Jürgen Klopp to make stars, rather than buy them. Expect players that will improve the quality of the team and squad we already have, but players who are on the up, with something to prove, with the desire and hunger to succeed; also with the passion, attitude and enthusiasm to learn and improve under an iconic coach, to be a part of something. Or to put it another way, expect players looking to join Liverpool for all the right reasons and not just mercenaries on the hunt for a big contract.
So, if Liverpool don’t sign the FIFA16 team of the season or the random global superstars that the UK tabloids are familiar with, please don’t lose your mind. Hold your counsel, trust in the proven record of the man leading Liverpool in the early steps of a charge in the right direction.