Liverpool are reportedly wary of following a poor transfer example set by Barcelona. It’s one that could see all-change at Anfield before long.
This comes from the Independent’s Melissa Reddy in a transfer report for Sky Sports. Liverpool apparently have a long-term policy that will dictate how they do business over the next few years.
“[Liverpool] don’t want a situation where they squad has aged together,” said Reddy. “Yes, development is important, but they don’t want to find themselves in the same situation Barcelona are in, for example.
“Where you’re leaving yourself with your whole spine to replace. Where there’s nothing coming through – no advancement.
“So getting that balance right, of having those players who have been so pivotal to their silverware haul, while also thinking of the future. That’s very, very big for them.”
What RTK has to say
We have this down as one of the biggest problems facing Liverpool over the next few years. It’s not so much that there are many players to replace but how many are the same age.
Players will start to decline a bit around 29/30 and that’s when Liverpool need to think about replacements. Here are the players who will be at least 29 this time next year:
Virgil van Dijk
So immediately we can see seven of Liverpool’s starters for the 2019 Champions League final. The Reds simply cannot afford to replace all of them at once.
For one, you have to force some players out. That seems unreasonably harsh and risky but not half as risky as letting them all continue together. If no one leaves, Liverpool will end up having to replace everyone at once. That’s just asking for trouble.
Not every signing is a success, after all, let alone a success immediately. Take Fabinho and Naby Keita for example. Both arrived in the same summer but neither played well, to begin with.
Jurgen Klopp didn’t even use Fabinho in a 4-3-3 until March, while we’re still waiting for Keita to fulfil his potential. Now imagine if Liverpool didn’t sign them to bulk up the squad but to replace Henderson and Wijnaldum immediately.
The team wouldn’t have worked properly. Fortunately, the pieces were in place for Fabinho, in particular, to develop into an elite player. Liverpool had a functional side with elite players, meaning they could afford to wait.
That saves money, too. You can bring in younger players with potential if you replace gradually and still have a strong side as they develop. The two alternatives don’t work as well.
You could replace all your stars at once with young players but your team will be far worse as the players aren’t as good. You’re also hoping that all the youngsters develop well and work together – but there’s no guarantee.
Alternatively, you sign ready-made stars. That’s the Barcelona example. Yes, they’re great players but they’re hugely expensive. You can likely only sign one per year and they might not even work out, leaving you with a fortunate lost and a team that’s still ageing.
Barcelona are still the best example of a poor transfer strategy and Liverpool can’t let the same happen to them. They’ve still got a similar spine to 2011 as they haven’t replaced the right players and now they pay the price. The Reds need to take action if they’re to stay on top.