Liverpool FC: Grading Brendan Rodgers' Performance During the Transfer Season
Liverpool’s transfer expenditure for the summer totals up to a modest figure.
This outlines a totally different stance—as opposed to the one under Kenny Dalglish a year ago—adopted by the Merseyside club, as new man at helm Brendan Rodgers looks to curb financial losses from ill-advised transfer dealings.
Comparatively, Chelsea FC spent a record sum to land Eden Hazard alone. Together with Marko Marin and speculated targets Oscar, Willian and Hulk to name a few, Abramovich is well on course to stun us all with a record setting transfer expenditure bill.
Even Arsene Wenger—a man who redefined the term ‘Smart Buy’—chose to spend a lump sum for the acquisition of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.
In other words, Rodgers has opted to fly under the radar rather than going out of his way to make explosive signings to benefit a team that is looking to recover from its mid-table dilemmas.
Since Rodgers’ only acquisition to date has been that of Borini, grading his transfer performance on that would mean sacrificing a bit of logic.
But it gains a whole lot of meaning if speculation based deals and the ones that Rodgers lost out on are included.
Click on over the next few slides to see if Rodgers’ transfer performance has been up to the mark.
Deals That Don’t Affect
Fabio Aurelio leaving the club on a free transfer at the end of his contract was never going to affect the grades of Brendan Rodgers.
Although an official statement only came through following Rodgers’ installation as manager, Kuyt assuring supporters that Rodgers and/or his appointment at the club having zero impact with his decision helps clear it up.
Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole
In the immediate aftermath of Rodgers’ appointment, few mouths remained shut as speculations mounted over the futures of Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole.
Both Aquilani and Cole were unwanted at Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish.
Cole spent the entire last season on loan at French club Lille while Aquilani spent his over at AC Milan.
However, Rodgers seems to have settled on retaining the players for the new season.
Perhaps Cole’s acquaintanceship with Rodgers during their time at Chelsea saved his fledgling career at Anfield.
Aquilani’s case is a bit different.
AC Milan’s failure to tie him down to a new deal for as low a fee as quoted in the clause in his contract revealed the extent of financial difficulties—a fact supplemented by the recent clear out involving Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva—that the Milanese giants are facing.
Perhaps Aquilani had made up his mind to try his luck at Anfield.
Or Rodgers had to make up for losing out on this next candidate…
Losing Gylfi Sigurdsson to Tottenham wasn’t so much a big deal as when it came to light that Gylfi and Liverpool had parted ways over wage issues.
Clearly, Liverpool had no debt issues to concern themselves over petty wages. After all, if they could finance packages such as the one handed to Andy Carroll and Joe Cole, they couldn’t have offered depressingly low wages to Sigurdsson.
But, Rodgers explaining his stance on this issue led to a bit of confusion among supporters.
They didn’t know whether to laud a man who was speaking sense about understanding the words ‘value for money’ or to criticize him for losing out to a club that has a wager limit set at £70,000.
Rodgers, however, did well to come out of the situation, though he now has to look for another quality addition to his midfield. Wait… that’s why we have Aquilani!
Fabio Borini’s addition to Liverpool undoubtedly breathes a fresh air into the system.
At just 21 years old, the Italian forward represents good business for LFC.
Plus, the player will need little time to acclimatise to Brendan Rodgers after having played under him in different levels at Chelsea FC and during his short loan spell at Swansea.
Liverpool most certainly needed a massive improvement to their striking options and Borini does weigh up as one with a ton of potential.
All these factors taken under consideration together with the relatively cheap fee makes this an A-grade performance from Rodgers.
But, Borini fulfilling his potential and blossoming into an A+ rated striker in the future is down to him. Expect a hardworking individual from this boy as he understands that training is more important at this time than a vacation...unlike the player featured in the next slide.
The Andy Carroll saga just refuses to die down.
Carroll, who switched clubs over 18 months ago, still seems to be a thorn in the development process at Liverpool.
The appointment of Rodgers was, in itself, a reason for the speculations over the future of the tall England forward at the club.
Having impressed in his short stint on field during England’s Euro campaign, Carroll was hoping to impress the new boss and convince him to give him playing time.
However, Rodgers isn’t too intent on keeping the club’s record buy, as his playing style would offer nothing to the style of pass and move football that he wants at the club.
But, what gives Rodgers the poor grade are his mixed signals regarding the future of the striker at the club.
Confusing signals amounting to nothing has managed to put off even potential suitors for Carroll.
Failure to come clean on whether or not he wants Carroll out of the club has resulted in increased and unwanted media speculation over a player who had impressed most people with his performance against Sweden in the Euros.
If indeed, as the media speculates, Rodgers decides against retaining the £35 million purchase, then he should make it clear if it’s a loan deal or a permanent deal that he is looking into.
But, signs point towards permanent riddance of Carroll—else even FSG wouldn’t have jumped the gun on this candidate in their website…
FSG did establish a whole new meaning to the phrase “jumping the gun”—or the couch if you’re in Cruise mode—when they “revealed” on their website that Dempsey has signed for Liverpool.
They then went into cruise control mode a little over five hours later when they recognised the mistake of an over excited employee.
But that’s not to say Dempsey hasn’t courted any interest from the Merseysiders.
If we are to take the media speculations as a means to go by then, yes, Dempsey has had attention from the Reds.
Yet, in this case, the figure courted in media circles—near £10 million—is something of a prohibitive figure to spend on a player who has less than a year to run on his contract and isn’t as established as say, Robin van Persie.
A player who Rodgers would want to create an instant impact upon his arrival, Dempsey is also getting a bit older and, at 29 he doesn’t represent a long term investment.
Now on to somebody else who didn’t represent long term investment but is now on his way out…
Letting Maxi go was perhaps best for both parties concerned.
Clearly, the man was longing for some game time and he wasn’t about to get any under Rodgers.
Unlike Dalglish, Rodgers did the right thing by letting him join his boyhood club, thus paving the way for youngsters to make an impact on the squad.
Now is the time for players like Sterling to create an impression on the manager and guarantee themselves some kind of first team action when the season gets underway mid-August.
Maxi’s departure also leaves the door open for another addition if Rodgers deems it necessary.
Overall Grade: B+
Clearly, spending like Real Madrid of yesteryears and PSG and Chelsea of today alone will not ensure that a club has had a perfect transfer window.
Madrid found it out through Kaka, while Liverpool and Chelsea had their own demons in Carroll and Torres.
Going by the result, we can assume that Rodgers is having an above average transfer season by his own terms.
The grading system used is a 9-point scale where F is a 0 and an A+ implies a full score.
The overall grade value is a weighted average of the sum total of the grades for individual transfer deals.