Imagine the scene.
It’s the first day of pre-season. There’s damp in the air at Melwood but Brendan and the staff are in good spirits.
Brendan was late for once, he had spent a good hour in front of the mirror looking at his new red training top.
‘Tight fitting’ he murmured. ‘Nice!’
Still admiring himself, he was interrupted by a knock at the door. The new secretary entered the room.
‘Hello Mr Rodgers, they’re ready for you’. She looked embarrassed and nervous, but the manager gave her a wink and a smile. This seemed to calm the girl, but her cheeks puffed bright red.
The smiling, blushing secretary closed the door and the boss took one last look in the mirror ‘The old Irish charm… Never fails… I’m the boss’.
Arriving on the training field, he saw the boys all lined up. Emre Can was adjusting his hair, whilst Jose Enrique was taking selfies with a reluctant groundsman.
‘Don’t put it on twitter Jose, me wife will give me grief saying all I do is ponce around all day’
‘Ok my friend, I love you. I respect you. We buddies.’ said Jose forgetting to mention he had already posted the picture.
‘Good morning lads’ the soft, but authoritative tone of the manager seemed to capture the imagination. He puffed out his toned chest a bit and his face became serious.
‘I’d like to introduce you to Ashley Cole, he’s come for a wee look around OK, just be nice. He’s won the Champions League, the Premier League and 7 FA cups. A true legend. We want to give him a warm welcome, so he’ll be shadowing Jose OK.’
Enrique seemed enthused and immediately ran across to Cole.
‘Hello my friend, I Jose, I a left back, what do you do?’
A stern looking Cole replied ‘left back mate’
‘JAJAJAJAJAJAJA’ Jose replied ‘Funny man, funny man. We take selfie ok?’
Cole thought carefully for a moment, and smiled. ‘I’ve got another idea mate, just turn around and run, as fast as you can’
Jose ponders this carefully ‘Ok, so I run, and just keep running?’
‘Yes mate’ Cole replies, the smile on his face noticeably more menacing than before.
‘Eeeeeasay peeeeasay as you English say’ replied Jose who was now as excited as he’d been in years. ‘This is living’ he thought. New friends, new games, more selfies. At that moment, life couldn’t get any better.
Jose turned around and ran as fast as he could. Meanwhile Cole reached into his bag and pulled out a modified super soaker 5000. The modification being it didn’t fire water!
‘Ok now Jose mate, take a selfie whilst running’ Cole shouted as he lined up the weapon. There was a soft breeze in the air; ‘better aim slightly left’ he thought. He pumped up the super soaker… Up and down, up and down, maybe once more, just for good measure. He took aim and shouted ‘Jose… Mate… SMILE’.
Enrique turned around, phone at the ready, smiling from ear to ear.. Only to see the horror before his eyes. Alas, it was running into the goalpost that saved him. The phone, full of selfies, was sadly, beyond repair.
The rest, as they say, is history.
If you managed to get through that whilst being slightly perplexed, then good, that’s the point. You see for all the links that happen in a transfer window, you have to weigh up how likely, or indeed how realistic they may be.
Ashely Cole, positives; a winner, good at what he does. Negatives. Age, wages, attitude and tendency to shoot team mates with air rifles.
You see transfers, they have to make sense at a basic level. Why not Ashley Cole? Did I mention he shoots people with air rifles?
Much of what Liverpool achieved last season was down to the fact that the players, for the first time in a number of years, played together, as one.
Yes the team was built around Suarez. Everything was done to get the best out of one of the world’s best strikers. And the team knew it. But they were unified around that cause.
Ashley Cole, the prospect of signing in his day, a world class operator down the left could have been attractive. But realistic? A Liverpool signing, another man released from one of the top English clubs so we can save him from the scrapheap?
Transfers have to make sense at a basic level. But as much as the name needs to make sense, so does the person. Our scouting team go into enormous amounts of detail when signing a player. There’s a story of one of our chief scouts, whilst at another club, effectively spying on a player before he was recommended to Manchester City.
What bars did he go to? Did he look after himself in the off season? Did he have a mistress? Who was she? Was he close to family? What type of person was he? It’s not just the name you sign during a window. It’s a multi-million pound transaction that needs to make sense both in terms of football, the person and everything that goes with him.
It’s very easy for us to sit in our chairs and watch lots of football, which I do and say ‘well, he’s just shite’. Indeed, I do it regularly. But remember something whilst you’re at it. You’re not in the job for a reason. Maybe bad luck, maybe you came to it all too late in life. But you’re not a scout.
Have an opinion of course, but professionals, especially the one’s Liverpool have, do know a thing or two about recruitment. They will make mistakes, but don’t we all? Remember when we all waned to sign Huntelaar? The club chose Sturridge instead. I also recall it worked out rather well.
Brendan Rodgers knows that he can ill afford to regress this season. He knows the challenge ahead. The challenge for Liverpool is to now do the best with the money that’s become available. With Sanchez already saying no, life just got that little bit more difficult. Indeed, Arsenal have benefited from our world class player leaving. And that makes the pain that little bit harder to take.
Don’t worry though, we have two months to fix this. Nows the time just to pray that we do. At least we wont be signing Andy Carroll, and we wont be signing people who have a history of shooting people with air rifles.