The “Marquee” Signing Conundrum

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As a Liverpool fan who uses Twitter as a medium to get most news about the club, life has not been great. The sheer agony amongst our fans over the lack of a big-money signing is astounding.

These are the same guys who were licking their lips at us having signed Jurgen Klopp in October, and given him a contract until 2022, at the beginning of this month. To put it simply then, they were excited about Klopp without knowing how he worked at all.

I say that because if you looked at the way Klopp went about his transfers at Dortmund, he was never the man to throw an empty cheque book at the player he wanted. Not once did Klopp spend more than £20m, with his most expensive purchase being Henrikh Mkhitaryan at £19.25m.

The -Marquee- Signing Conundrum

Klopp says, “They only think Manchester United have taken this player or Manchester City have taken this player and we have taken ‘what is the name?’ and that is it. This moment for us it is about creating and building a team for next year. We have to prove our thoughts about the team work.”

That is what Klopp’s Dortmund team was always about. Teamwork, building bonds, and a burning desire to fight for each other.

And that meant that Klopp often didn’t need the power of big money to sign the players that he needed.

Sample this: £3.3m for Robert Lewandowski. £3m for Mats Hummels. £3.7m for Ilkay Gundogan. £3m for Neven Subotic. Add to this, Shinji Kagawa and Lukasz Piszczek for free.  That was the core of Klopp’s Dortmund team. He spent less then £15m on these six players.

Klopp has always spoken about the need to “develop” players, and that being something that he enjoys. If anything, our first two pre-season games have shown that there is plenty of talent for Klopp to work with, as the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn and Ovie Ejaria have impressed hugely. Additionally, the likes of Cameron Brannagan, Kevin Stewart and Brad Smith are players Klopp saw a lot of, last season, and there is plenty of potential there as well.

Really, if there is an option within the squad that the manager feels he can work with, there should be no need to spend money to reinforce that position.

With our fans these days, there seems to be nothing that can please them. We did splash the money on Sadio Mane, but even that was ridiculed with people resorting to the Southampton argument, but as this piece says, he is a player that fits our system to the T.

The so-called “marquee” or big-name signing didn’t always work out for Klopp at Dortmund. After Mkhitaryan, his most expensive signing was Ciro Immobile for £13m and the Italian was an unqualified disaster at Dortmund. Even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who he bought for around £9.5m blew hot and cold far too much under Klopp, although the Gabonese International has proved his worth for Dortmund with a flying season under Thomas Tuchel.

What I see from that is a trend emerging. Klopp is far more comfortable working with potentially world-class players, polishing their talent, and giving them their space to flourish. When you spend large sums on a player, there is a lot of pressure from the fans to ensure that the player is a hit. Therefore, as a manager, you might end up over-working the player and that could affect the best of players.

Ultimately, in the transfer market, Klopp has a way in which he works – a structured method. It is a method that has worked for him in the past and brought him grand success. So, there should be no reason for him to change it.

Another argument that Liverpool Twitter seems to be loving is that FSG are not supporting Klopp enough, financially. For God’s sake, the man has just signed a contract which will see him work with these owners for six more years. Why would he do that if they didn’t support him enough?

The more I delve into some of the reactions on our transfers, the more hilarious it gets. All of us need to calm down, trust the manager, trust the methods that have brought him success and not whine at everything just because we have the opportunity and a medium to do so.

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  1. This maybe a well crafted article but the fact remains you feel your readers have no commonsense. It is like being promised a kiss or whatever after a date and you can´t make a silk purse out of a cow´s ear. I do not say Klopp is not talented but Moreno has reached his limit for “polishing”, Ings may have a lot of pace, but he is no world beater and not the best finisher. Gambling that Sturrige will survive a full season even though now he seems to have lost a yard of pace, is selfish and goes walkabout is no recommendation for the club´s “best striker”.Interestingly, putting a load of novices together at the same time is a bit irresponsible with no clear leader and only a few experienced players on board. The Southampton pair Lovern and Lallana especially have managed a salary above their performances on the pitch and it is only hoped that Couthino can put in a full season of performance instead of difting in and out of games. The leading other clubs show a level of performance over the season to justify their top tag, whilst we show sporadic levels of excellence. A sprinkle of quality to bring the youngsters along with a better defence which has not been fixed since Rodgers must be our target for 2017.

    • Totally missed the point man. You read an article where the main focus is “Trust Klopp. He knows more about running a team than you” and you feel the need to continue shouting the same nonsense the media writes about our players. Tell hazard that other top clubs never struggle with consistency. Enjoy watching 5 games this season again then becoming the biggest fan ever when it all pays off and liverpool wins something. But keep complaining. I’m sure you know more than Klopp does.

  2. The obsession with “names” is ridiculous. I don’t understand how “Zielinski” is considered a name player now all of a sudden just because the players linked us for a while and he went elsewhere while a player (Wijnaldum) that has FAR outperformed him on an individual basis for several years already would be an underwhelming signing, or somebody like Sane is worth £40m to fans after one breakout season, but Mane who has performed to the same level for several years is not worth £30m.

    If we had signed Wijnaldum and Mane directly after their seasons abroad, rather than after they’d proved that they could translate the same performance levels into the Premier League, then everybody would be happy.

  3. For most marquee signings the clubs are paying a premium based on what the player has done in the past, rather than what they can be expected to do moving forwards. Players have typically passed their peak already by the age of 27 in modern football, where they’ve already had ~10 years professional football with all the injuries that go along with it.

    I hope FSG and Klopp do continue with the model of signing promising 22-24 year olds that can give their best years to LFC before moving on, hopefully for a profit.

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