With Liverpool bucking their previous ‘money-ball’ trends this summer, the Reds’ transfer dealings could require a lot more patience.
Jürgen Klopp will return to Melwood this week to start his preparations for the 2017/18 Premier League season but by the time he gets there, it’s likely the Reds will have only secured one of his top targets for the summer.
Dominic Solanke remains very much one for the future and while Mohamed Salah’s £36.9m signing is an exciting, club record-breaking move, the feeling remains among many that the club are taking too long to get their business done.
This feeling stems back to comments made by Klopp at the tail end of last season, suggesting that the initial groundwork on much of the Reds transfer business was already done.
The German intimated as early as February this year that Liverpool were already “on the way,” in terms of their summer business before revealing in April that players the club were targeting had already exhibited better reactions than last year.
In May, the German remained optimistic, claiming the club’s perspective has changed and that he could “feel it in the talks” that the club was fast becoming a more enticing proposition for players.
While all this is well and good, the Reds have been targeting a different bracket this summer and these negotiations take time. Klopp however, would have already known this.
When Liverpool’s boss was quoted after the Middlesbrough victory as saying that the transfer groundwork was “pretty much done,” he didn’t mean signings were completed.
The ECHO reports that the German was far more likely to be referencing the behind-the-scenes work with the Anfield hierarchy having come to an agreement on “what areas of the squad needed strengthening, who they would pursue and how much they were willing to spend.”
With Liverpool now operating in the top brackets of footballers when it comes to their transfer dealings, getting agreements over the line can be a painstaking process. The Reds are willing to pay – we saw that with Mohamed Salah – but convincing clubs to sell their key assets is another problem entirely.
Klopp’s two current, high-profile targets are well-known to be Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keïta and while the high price tags both currently command are said to be of no issue to the Reds, convincing Southampton and Leipzig to part with the players is proving far more frustrating.
All managers want their business done early and while it would’ve been ideal for Klopp to have all of his signings joining him for the entirety of pre-season, he knows that won’t and can’t be the case.
This is not so much of an issue as many are making it out to be though.
Players of the quality of van Dijk and Keïta are more than capable of hitting the ground running and we saw last summer, despite not joining until the end of July, Gini Wijnaldum became a key part of Klopp’s Liverpool side very early in the campaign.
For now, we must be patient.
Klopp and the rest of the club’s hierarchy are working as fast and efficiently as they can and with the German seemingly already having worked his magic on the players he wants, it’s now down to those behind the scenes to convince clubs to sell.
Over to you, Michael Edwards.