In whose world was Willian worth £30M? Apart from Daniel Levy and Jose Mourinho.
This is a guy who made only 41 appearances in the Brazilian league for Corinthians before moving to obscure Ukranian League, playing over 6 years for Shakhtar Donetsk. Admittedly he won league titles and cups with them but what level of quality was he playing against every week. He recently moved to Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, a slight step up in terms of quality, but has only played 11 games for them. He is 25 years old, yet has only played 2 games at full international level, in 2 friendlies against the mighty Gabon and Egypt.
Compare this against players who have been sold for similar amounts this year. Mario Gotze is only 21 years old and has played in a top class league for a top class side. He already has 22 international caps for almost as good a quality international team. Like Willian, Gotze is not a striker but his goals to game ratio is far superior to the Brazilian’s, 1 in 4 for Dortmund compared to Willian’s 1 in 7 for Shakhtar.
Bringing players to the Premier League from overseas is always a risk. The game has changed somewhat so the chances of them not settling or not suiting the style of the Premier League is less than it was 10 years ago. In Willian’s case however it is surely the step up in class that is a risk. Quite simply, apart from games in the Champions League he has simply never faced the kind of opponents he would do every week in England. On You Tube he looks fantastic obviously but there is no evidence whatsoever that he is worth anything like the value that Anzhi paid for him 6 months ago. With oil billionaire wealth their judgement on getting value for money from players is questionable.
Willian could turn out to be a great player and worth the money but if you were running a business would you risk a huge part of your budget on what is an unproven asset that might or might not be worth it. We cannot ignore the fact that FSG own a multi-million pound business in Liverpool Football Club. Matthew Sproston on another website has already spoken of the lack of importance of this so called “Marquee signing” that we keep hearing about. Quite honestly a “marquee signing” just means you are being ripped off.
Over the past few months Liverpool have shown that it is perfectly possible to buy good players for under £15M. A player at that value for a club like Liverpool does not represent a major gamble. If it doesn’t work out he can be sold at a reasonable price, even if not a profit. We cannot continue to make the kind of losses that we suffered on Carroll and Downing. FSG are absolutely correct in having a limit on the amount they will pay for a player.
This limit is hard to define. What is the value of a player? A football player must be the only business asset in the world whose value is completely arbitrary. It is often determined by what someone thinks or what someone else has paid or what the media feel he is worth. Every other business asset is based on definitive information; Production value, size, cost saving etc.
A good manager will be able to create a good team from players who cost less than £15M. There are not that many players that command the kind of ridiculous fee that Spurs wanted to pay, and Chelsea did for Willian. Good scouting and a manager who gets the best out of a player is far more important. Surely at Liverpool we have the perfect example of a success like that in Coutinho.
We should be delighted that FSG appear to have learned their lesson and are not succumbing to this foolhardy way of running a business. Fans who moan about the way they are running our club and get impatient about not getting in the Champions League soon enough or challenging for the title should remember 2 things:
1) What a complete and utter financial mess our previous owners got us into. We almost went out of business and personally I would rather see slow but encouraging progress over the next 5 years than risking millions being spent incorrectly.
2) Leeds United