Summer So Far: Liverpool
Liverpool have had a constructive summer so far, with Brendan Rodgers managing to get in some exciting talent, without losing too much.
The transfers have so far balanced each-other out with c. £22m being spent, and Carroll and Shelvey heading out for £21m. That should mean there is still cash in the bank to spend, and means that they are certainly not in any rush to ship out Luis Suarez.
Andy Carroll has never been a Brendan Rodgers type of player, so it makes sense, both for the manager and the footballer, to move on. He is much better suited to Sam Allardyce’s more direct version of the Beautiful Game, and may well end up being a bargain at £15m – especially if he manages to re-find the form of his earlier newcastle days. Liverpool also manage to get his £70k a week wages off the books, and received close to £3m for his loan spell last season, so the deal isn’t quite as bad as it looks for the side that spent £35 million on him.
In his place, Liverpool have signed two pacy, young, attacking winger-cum-strikers, who are much more in the Suarez mould, and certainly more likely to pass and move to the Liverpool groove. Aspas has set records for his current club, whilst Luis Alberto played well for Spain in the U21 championships, and alongside Sturridge, Coutinho, Borini and Yesil could be an important part of LFC’s future forward line.
Should Suarez move on you would expect Rodgers to find another forward, but with Sterling and Suso also more than capable of leading from the front he could be forgiven if he spends the money elsewhere…
Jonjo Shelvey never quite managed to break into the first team, and with his imminent departure you can start to see that BR is putting his trust in Henderson, Lucas and Gerrard to marshall the centre of the pitch. With all 3 potentially starting each game, Liverpool will need extra cover. What they need (as Manchester United do to) is a box-to-box midfielder who is as good at tacking as he is at passing. These players are few and far between, but it would be fantastic if they maneged to find the ‘next Xabi-Alonso’.
With no Champions League (or even Europa League) football this midfielder is likely to be an unpolished gem, but he will have a season or two to learn his trade before he is playing against the big boys week-in, week-out.
There was talk of Mkhitaryan, but it looks like he’ll be heading to Dortmund to replace Gotze. :/
Kolo Toure has been brought in on a free, and hopefully Liverpool aren’t paying too much on a weekly-basis! He was on a small fortune at City, but may have made enough to decide to take a role that means he’ll get more first team football, won’t have to move homes, and still gets a cool £50,000 a week. He will be a good addition to the backline, and was one of the best defenders in the league back in the day.
With Carragher retiring and Seb Coates failing to catch the eye, you’d have thought Liverpool eed another quality centre back to really push Agger, Skrtel and Toure to the max. Johnson and Enrique are sound on the flanks, and have Flanaghan as back-up. They might need another.
Simon Mignolet was one of the busiest and best keepers in the league last season, and at 25 he will be able to play on for the Reds for at least another 10 seasons (subject to form!) This is a smart transfer that allows the club to let Pepe Reina join the club of his childhood dreams, Barcelona, and should also make them a nice proift. They are basically trading a 31-year old keeper who has had a shaky season (or two) for a 25 year old who is at the top of his game, and destined to get better.
Gulacsi has been moved on, but with Jones and the other youth-team goalkeepers, you’d expect Liverpool to have enough strength in depth, especially given that they only play once a week…
A solid start to the summer transfer season by BR. I expect him to bring in another few quality 23-25 year olds as the summer goes on, but even without them the team looks pretty youthfully exuberant and exciting.
Who did I miss? Send me your thoughts / recommendations – tell me on twitter – @ftbllr