Expensive Failed Signings
Certain names linger through the football ages, as players that hold the promise to reach elite levels, yet gradually drift away into obscurity. Some become social media GIF’s, whereas others will move from club to club, before falling into some form of punditry. When considering recent Liverpool assets that have formally graced the Anfield turf, I would pick out Lazar Marković, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, and Naby Keïta, as the prime examples of expensive additions that failed to fulfil the promise their abilities deserved. Despite both Ox and Naby having enjoyed some key and pivotal moments (whilst at Liverpool), both these former Klopp signings ultimately failed to deliver what was originally expected. All three ex-Reds gradually faded into the LFC background (during their respective stays) before leaving at the end of their contracts. Over £100m was invested in these three signings (including wages), which was never close to being recouped. Now, there is a new bright young hope which has just started his own Liverpool journey, one who will be watched keenly by a plethora of sports writers, just itching to condemn the controversial midfielder.
Gravenberch’s Early Impressions
Diogo Jota on Ryan Gravenberch:
"Obviously I've not been in and just had a couple of sessions with him, but you can see already the quality he brings [and] has on his feet. He will help us going forward."
We'll see our new Dutchman in action very soon 😍 pic.twitter.com/aU9qcTWCuE
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) September 15, 2023
It does appear that this £40m acquisition of Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich has already made a solid impression on both his manager and teammates. Regardless of these early indications, the true value of the man will only emerge over an extended period, starting with a full debut in this Thursday’s Europa League encounter with LASK.
Deployment Dilemma: Where Will Ryan Fit?
As part of the travelling party to Austria, it is expected that the new number 38 will take up a prominent role in the starting eleven, as the weaker opposition points to heavy rotation from the weekend. After a short cameo appearance against Wolves at the weekend, the coaching staff can now focus in on the long-term plan for the 6ft 3inch Dutchman. Whether it be in a midfield double pivot, outside right or left, second striker, or somewhere in between, his pathway will start to become clearer in the next batch of games.
From Ajax Prodigy to Bayern’s Benchwarmer
After rising to Amsterdam prominence in the 2020/21 season, the whole scouting world was then put on alert to the next big thing in European football. The following year was a season of inconsistency, yet that did not stop Bayern Munich from recruiting the emerging talent for around €20m. Clearly enough had been seen to warrant the outlay, which they have since been able to double.
Klopp’s New Project: Extracting the Best from Ryan
The solitary year that was spent under the Bayern umbrella, was with Julian Nagelsmann, a next-generation coach who can sometimes worry too much about how to change the fundamentals of the game, instead of working with that which is within. Eventually, the former RB Leipzig coach was shown the exit door and Thomas Tuchel was brought in as his replacement. Any notion of a new start for Gravenberch (under new leadership) was soon dismissed, which allowed Jürgen Klopp to finally sign the young man he had long desired. It can sometimes be worrying when a manager becomes infatuated with another team’s player, much like Aurélien Tchouaméni or Jude Bellingham; however, it could drive our German manager to extract the very best from his new project addition, something we would all love to see.
A New Beginning at Anfield for Gravenberch
Can Gravenberch Break into The First Team Proper…?
This is the key reason that the 11-cap International was so excited to join this Anfield regeneration. There is already a clear desire to jump-start his career and given that he does not turn 22-years-of age until the end of this campaign, time is most definitely on his side. The AXA training ground could be the perfect setting to enable ultimate success.
National Team Controversy: A Bold Decision by Ryan
With his national team captain, Virgil van Dijk, giving overwatch alongside his compatriot, Cody Gakpo, you can be sure that the required support is already in place. A recent decision was even made by the player to stay on Merseyside, during the recent international break. This choice was made instead of joining his under-21 colleagues after dropping down from the senior set-up. The opting out has since angered Michael Reiziger, who is the current manager of that Holland under-21 squad. Despite being a feasible moment for Reisinger to fully bed into a new country and home (after leaving Germany), only negative words have since arisen from his national bosses; however, I am impressed by the player’s desire to settle into his new surroundings.
The Pathway to Redemption Starts at Liverpool
I recall Daniel Sturridge once failing to make a real impact at either Manchester City or Chelsea before arriving at Liverpool to become one of the most established operators in the Premier League. If the stars align for our latest project player, then it could represent another pathway to redemption, one that starts this coming Thursday.