The Fans View

Transfer window shuts on Liverpool: A review

When the summer transfer window slammed shut at 5pm sharp on the 1st of September, there was a tinge of disappointment, a sense of regret amongst us fans.

It has been a long few months of on-off speculation surrounding our potential new signings, leaving the fans excited, to say the very least. Most of us, if not all, were optimistic for the future. After a strong title assault the previous season, this summer has been heralded as a stepping stone for us to land the title the following season.

On paper, many names were thrown into the hat, with those discussions centering mainly on David Silva and David Villa, to even Franck Ribery. Media sources quoted us as having a decent budget to spend on after Rafa’s new contract, and we were all hyped and eager to see a signing that would rock Anfield. Even up until transfer deadline day, we had players like Niko Kranjcar, David Trezeguet, and even Julio Baptista tossed into the frame. All these names vanished into thin air at 5pm. It wasn’t to be.

Most importantly, it was the departure of Xabi Alonso that left us with a big gap to fill in the middle of the park. He is Liverpool’s pass master and was hailed for his long range passing, as well as his foresight and ability to read the game well before his opponents. He has had 5 good seasons with us, was often influential in the team’s setup and was the best at spreading play out wide. Xabi linked up with Masch very well, Masch breaks up the play and Xabi waves his wand to start a counter attack, and this defensive midfield partnership was one that blossomed throughout the years which made Javier and Alonso complement each other so well.


Rafa wasted no time in the market and went in for Alberto Aquilani. Aquilani was spotted by Arsenal and Chelsea from a young age, and he becomes our third Italian signing. He is hailed as a gem back in Italy and has earned rave reviews on the way he plays football. A creative player with energy, driving back and forth, he could be our box-to-box midfielder, filling in a different role compared to Xabi. Even though he hasn’t laid his boots on a blade of Anfield grass just yet, I have high hopes that he is able to fulfil his potential, as Rafa rarely gets it wrong with big name signings. It’s not clear if he has the passing Xabi possesses but in terms of all-rounded team play, I feel he is able to provide us with a different dimension in the middle of the park.

Another outgoing player was Spanish compatriot Alvaro Arbeloa. Arbeloa had been a fine servant for the club for a couple of seasons now, from his memorable debut against Barcelona when he kept Lionel Messi quiet, Arbeloa has cemented his status as Mr. Consistency. He was one of our reliable unsung heroes and could be counted on to put in a good shift week in, week out.

Glen Johnson was bought to replace the outgoing Arby and wasted no time making that rightback spot his own (helped no doubt by the fact that Philip Degen is arguably Liverpool’s very own sick-boy. Doubts were raised at the fee of 17 million pounds, but 4 games in and he has 2 goals to his name and won a penalty on the opening day against Spurs. Right now, 17 million looks like decent business; he offers us a fresh option when he goes forward and has often been the spark down that flank. Another English player to add in our ranks, Glen looks like a vast improvement compared to Arby. There are doubts though on his defensive abilities but I’ve no doubt that he will turn out to be a terrific signing for the Reds.

Towards the end of the summer window, there arose a need for a new centre defender as cover due to Agger’s surgery and Kyrgiakos was signed from AEK Athens. He will play 4th choice centre-back and has experience in both the Scottish and Greek leagues, winning titles in the process. His maturity and guidance will also act as a learning curve for the youngsters such as Kelly and Ayala looking to break into the first team.

Other signings included Chris Mavinga and Aaron King, although it is certain they will play no part in the first team this season but instead be blooded in the reserves for the future.

On to spending and in 2009 so far our transfers have shown that we have profited £14 million. The yanks still have a long way to go in providing us with the necessary funds to compete on all fronts. They haven’t been supportive at all since their arrival, all talk but no action. Our inability to spend on other players and scouring the bargain basement for backups just shows what incapable owners they are.

This summer has been a letdown for me personally, linked to all but nothing concrete in the end. Players like Niko Kranjcar we have failed to sign as well, despite costing a miserly £2.5 million. It is disappointing because there was a need on strengthening of the squad especially up front and on the wings, however instead we are just replacing quality with quality and leaving the other positions of the team unchanged.

I am certain our new signings will do us proud but in order to strengthen our title push we have got to be spending more. Looking on the bright side, I have to go on and say that Rafa has done his best in the market with a non-existent budget.

We just have to make do with what we have and build from here. The scouts continue to work but their efforts will go to waste if H&G don’t sanction the players’ move. Right now, we should take our minds off transfers and focus on the season.

15 comments on
Transfer window shuts on Liverpool: A review

  1. yanks pls sell the club go back to america buy a soccer team you guys dont understand football. I would have rather seen us start this season with exactly the same team that ended last season. Our team should improve over the summer not go backwards. The league should have been ours this season after such a good season last time but thats not going to happen now.

  2. liverpool just has a first 11 our bench isnt good enuff 4 a world class team with 5 champions league’s with ppl like ngog voronin even kelly, spearing dossena its nt good enuff ngog voronin cnt replace torres

  3. Add to that the fact we have to pay £1M to the banks every 9 days.

    As much as there are quality players in the transfer window, we can’t sign them for a reason – the yanks don’t want to release the funds!

    And therefore I point my finger at the Yanks, one of our most important summer transfer windows in our history but we have got nothing in our coffers.

    The need for strength in depth is important, it doesn’t breed confidence having the likes of Babel, Ngog and Voronin on the bench. It’s more of a gamble.

    But we don’t have the money.

  4. I agree Charles Ong but you cannot include Keane in the arguement.
    We paid £19M for him and only got £14M back.
    Plus there was a signing on fee reported to be £1M and £80K per week in wages.

    This amounts to £22M with £14M back and also consider a potential payoff because Keane did not look to leave.

    Therefore you should not be adding the the £14M to make your statement but putting a minus -£8M.

    I believe the deals done for Mascherano, Torres and the likes of Johnston are been paid by instalments and this is whats killing us now.
    The installments are eating into what little we have.

  5. Some very sensible and accurate comments from all on this subject with cul cul spot on.
    Lets hope Aquilani is up to our scouts and rafas expectations or we will struggle to stay as one of the top 4.
    One thing is for sure we will all still be here when they have all come and gone inc. Rafa. When he goes so will his signings where will we be then?
    Who will we replace him with? This has to be given some serious thought as it could happen soon- very soon?Our american owners could re assure us with a comment or 2???

  6. Get your point about where you are coming from CulCul, but I’m sure Rafa has his reasons for not signing them. Will they fit the team? Will they be happy sulking on the bench?

    Although they may be on a cheap but they’re still top players – and I highly doubt they’ll be satisfied warming the bench. In fact, if you look at our budget this season, it’s fair to say the yanks haven’t given us money at all.

    Glen Johnson £17 M
    Chris Mavinga £1 M
    Alberto Aquilani £18 M
    Sotiris Kyrgiakos £1.5 M

    Total = £37.5M

    Robbie Keane £14 M
    Jack Hobbs £0.5 M
    Sebastian Leto £3M
    Paul Anderson £0.5M
    Alvaro Arbeloa £3.5M
    Xabi Alonso £30M

    Total = £51.5 Million

    Net transfer spending 2009 = -£14 MILLION

    Clearly we have profited more than we spent. This summer has seen the Yanks laughing to the banks and if we continue on like this, how are we going to keep up with the others with a practically non existent budget? Shouldn’t we, at the very least, have the excess 14 million to spend?

    The yanks have not thought about our needs to strengthen this summer, I’m afraid.

    I’m sure with the necessary funds Rafa will be signing players to add depth but fact is that the Yanks are not taking the money out. We have to dig deep and to even replace Xabi and Arby is definitely commendable, with a negative budget.

    Reportedly, Rafa is furious with the yanks and rightly so. For me, I thought we could go for players like Kranjcar, Trezeguet, and even Baptista as speculated. None of that happened because the owners were not willing to give the money.

  7. Just a copy of my thoughts after the Biolton game and before the transfer window closed.

    I think Liverpool have a major problem throughout the squad. Too many average players for starters.
    I have a major problem with Rafa going forward and the way the club/team has developed, i will list my three primary reasons below and open them up for debate.

    1) The depth of talent we have up front at Liverpool is laughable. Expect for Torres we have no quality forward/stricker. Rafa has signed badly in this area over the years and wasted a vast amount of money. To expand.
    Neil Mellor is on a par with any forward in the present Liverpool panel except for Torres. He was sold for peanuts and since then Rafa has signed Ngog, Vorinen, Babel & Crouch as replacements. These players cost appprox £20M without signing on fees and together are/were earning approx £150K between them. This is an additional £7.5M in wages per annum. Neil Mellor would have jumped at £20K per week and would have been better backup than at least three of the four above.
    Net result £20M plus signing on fees plus £15M (2 years wages) = £35M or David Villa and Neil Mellor as third choice stricker with Nemeth etc waiting in the wings for a chance.

    2) For years Rafa has ignored the academy players until he got full control. Why was this, were these players not good enough because he was not in control? For years Liverpool developed the best players in the land without the direct control of the first team manager. 2 youth FA cup winning sides and no regular first team player except for Insua. Danny Guthrie was also sold for peanuts when you see players like Cathermole been sold for £10M plus. His replacement player was Lucus for another £8M plus signing on fee plus wages of £20K per week.
    If Rafa was on top of things at the academy he would have known about the progress Insua was making and saved £8M on Dossena plus a signing on fee plus £30/£40k in wages each week.
    This £16M (Dossena & Lucas transfer fee) plus the signing on fee & wages £2.5M (£50k per week/1 year) = £18.5M or Gareth Barry with Guthrie in reserve.

    3) Rafa has been in charge for 5 seasons and now only 5 Liverpool players would be gaurenteed a start in any of the follwing teams, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurs.
    These 5 players are Reina, Johnston, Mascherano, Gerrard & Torres. After spending £100M plus (net tranfer spend) this is not good enough. Too many average players have been signed.

    I think that the above three examples shows that a bad transfer policy can have a negative effect on the development of a team. Like Arsenal & Man Utd we should be giving our younger players the chance to develop. The money saved can then be used to strenghten key positions and sign a better quality player each time.
    I can fully understand Rafa’s frustration in not been able to sign the players he wants but if you were Rick Parry (for example) and considered the above which excludes signing on fees & agents commissions; at some stage one would say enough is enough. I think this is what has happened at Liverpool and personnally i am delighted. Every premier league club is in serious financial trouble and massive debt so i think we cannot afford to spend £60M plus every summer and must go back to basics to start developing our younger players.

    I hope this view starts a good honest debate.
    P.S dont get me started on the Robbie Keane thing.

  8. I believe we need a big name forward and classy winger together with a few better quality squad players then what we currently have.Still very bitter about how Michael Owen left us but i’d rather have him for free then Voronin who never looks like scoring.

    From the reserves Pacheco deserves a chance so i hope he gets a run in the CIS cup because if he’s good enough then it’s all that matters.The owners arn’t going anywhere probably for the next five years at least so no point discussing this issue because Moores and Parry sold the club out!It’s as simple as that!

    My concern with Aquilani is that he’s injury prone otherwise looks like a good buy but different to Alonso in style.Just hope he spends more time on the field then the treatment room.

  9. I don’t feel too qualified to provide CulCul a response to his comment, but he does provide a decent point; however I am sure that Rafa had his reasons for not selecting those names. Ideas?

    Anyway, I just wanted to write in to say, well-written article, it sums up my thoughts on the last month perfectly. Regarding Johnson, I’m loving his game at the moment; he’s fast becoming one of my favorite players. I do have to agree with you about his defensive game, though. AND we’re still pathetically weak defending against set pieces!

    Aquilani, well, I guess we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see how it goes. But he’s young, and full of potential in the EPL, so I’m optimistic about seeing dividends.

    As for Kyrgiakos, well, we need all the defensive strength we can get at the moment, and at least he’s good in the air and is physically tough.

  10. Cul cul, i can see where you are coming from. You forgot Sol Campbell in that list though. All the panic about injuries and no support etc… Campbell is getting on but he would have done for cover I think.

  11. I disagree with the above article and the critism towards G&H. Please look back at my last post under the Bolton match review and consider the transfer policy i have discussed.
    I dont believe big money signings were needed and there were plenty of bargains around this summer which would have added experience and depth to the squad.
    Here are some of my thoughts?

    Damien Duff (Fulham) £4 Million
    Richard Dunne (Aston Villa) £6 Million
    Michael Owen (Man Utd) Free Transfer
    Barry Ferguson (Birmingham City) £1 Million
    Sean Davies (Bolton wanderers) Free Transfer
    Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea) Compensation
    Gabriel Obertan (Man Utd) £3 Million
    Kyle Naughton (Spurs) £2.5m rising to £5m
    Niko Kranjcar (Spurs) £2.5m
    James McCarthy (Wigan Ath) £1.2m
    Kevin Doyle (Wolves) £6.5m
    Martins (Hertha Berlin) £8 Million

    £20 Million would have got us 5 to 7 decent squad players when we include the 2 free transfers.
    Image Owen, Davies, Kranjcar, Duff & Martins on top of the players we got? £14.5 Million would have kanded the lot and added some depth to the squad. All experienced and proven in the EPL

  12. I am just dissapointed because many big names moved around this summer, and we only had our hand in a couple transfers. The article that you published a weeks ago outlining the joke of the Liverpool transfer budget sums it all up. We did have the money to stregthen, not just replace. aquilani and johnson will do great things, but with rafa stating that our big players need to step up, one can only ask the question of why quality additions were not brought in to add to our attacking

  13. We got rid of two clowns and replaced them with older clowns from abroad ? that is Parry’s legacy and what we have to put up with !.

    American businessmen are only interested in gross point capita and marketing value of assets obtained , they don’t care one bit about the culture the tradition or the fans at all. I was extremely suspicious as to wether they would deliver on there promised 20 mil transfer kitty and now it seems i was rite to as am sure many of you were too .
    Truth is they never were and after more lost promises i would find it hard to believe anything that comes out of there mouths again.

    Now all we can do is keep our faith in Rafa and the lads to do a job in this league , and we can, weve just got to get behind the team, forget these limitations for now and push on .
    Last season was no fluke, we finally achieved somewhere close to the level we were hoping for for 20 yrs, just short of perfection and we can do it again …

  14. Crisp and concrete details of what was going on in lfc.

    Rafa did his best and what we need is the same support from our fans like the past and hard work from our players.

    Hope to see Aquilani on the fields soon!

  15. I think the point most people are missing is that Gerrard will drop into Alonso’s position and Aquilani will play off Torres. Gerrard and Masch in the middle will be better than Alonso-Masch for sure

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