Kirkby, Harvey Elliott and Liverpool's New Transfer Strategy
Jurgen Klopp wants a ‘team full of Scousers’. His proclamation, made during the press-conference before July’s win at Brighton, gives a hint towards Liverpool’s future transfer strategy. The club will make less big-name signings, and instead develop a host of talent through their new Kirkby facility. It is a process that will make the club more coherent and sustainable.
The new training ground at Kirkby nears completion. It is a £50 million behemoth, with facilities to match any in world football. Klopp will base the first-team, the reserves and the academy within the complex. Therefore, a clear link between the present and the future emerges. Liverpool’s next stars will be developed, not bought. The homegrown approach is ambitious, but potentially yields tantalising results. For example, Pep Guardiola followed this blueprint with his 2011 Barcelona side. Los Cules boasted eight players produced by their La Masia academy, as they waltzed to Champions League success.
Players coached by a club from their youth obtain their education within a desired tactical framework. Consequently, the 2011 Barcelona team dispatched their signature Tiki-Taka style effortlessly. It was second nature to the players. This is Klopp’s goal. Ideally he could draw upon a wealth of young players that could step into the first team, versed in his tactical approach, and ready to contribute.
This system means that Liverpool must cherry-pick domestic talent. Youth players must be hard-working and gifted in order to make the transition, from youth to senior player. It is a process that has already begun, with the signing Harvey Elliot last summer. Elliot turned down other teams, such as Real Madrid. He believed that at Liverpool he would receive more first team opportunities. His talent is prodigal, and he has already made seven first-team appearances at 17.
Deal’s similar to the one that brought Harvey Elliot to the club will be the most important signings that the club will make in the coming years. This is because the club needs to demonstrate that young players will receive first-team opportunities. Therefore, the project will appeal to highly-touted wonder-kids.
These moves and facilities will make Liverpool FC a more sustained competitive force. Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05 underwent similar processes, under Klopp’s tenure. As a result, the two German clubs consistently compete at a higher level than before Klopp. The German manager aims to emulate the system at Dortmund, which produced Christian Pulisic, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze during his tenure.
It is a system which enables Dortmund to continually compete, since Klopp’s departure in 2015. For example, Die Borussen’s £8 million purchase of Jadon Sancho is the perfect example as to how the process works. Scouted, signed and developed due to his raw natural ability, he is currently close to an £108 million move to Manchester United. Dortmund then either reinvest the money into the first team, or keep hold of their World-Class players to create a, self-sustained, formidable footballing force.
Sancho is just one example within a squad which boasts Erling Haland, Giovanni Reyna and Jude Bellingham. These players are all under the age of 21. They ensure multiple seasons of impending success and investment, due to their potential development.
Liverpool’s Kirkby academy is the blueprint for future successes. The coaches will embroider youth players with the philosophic fabric of Liverpool FC. Transfers will select the brightest prospects in the country to contribute to the process, which was seen with the signing of Harvey Elliot. The result of this shift makes the club more self-sufficient, whilst ultimately remaining competitive. Jurgen’s ‘team full of scousers’ may happen yet.