What We Learned from Liverpool's 2014 Summer Transfer Window
It may be transfer deadline day today, but as managing director Ian Ayre indicated to the Daily Post at the Champions League draw last week, Liverpool’s business for this window is “pretty much finalised.”
If you were to include Belgium forward Divock Origi—who was signed from Lille and immediately loaned back to the French club—in both the “Ins” and “Outs” columns, then the Reds brought in nine players this summer whilst shipping out 11, both on permanent and loan deals.
Some transfers were higher profile than others, but what have they taught us about the Reds’ season ahead?
Here’s the lowdown:
Ian Ayre Has Got Some Credibility Back
Once just the Harley Davidson riding, freewheeling MD featured in the Being: Liverpool documentary series—well, okay, he is still that—Ian Ayre has got credibility back amongst Reds supporters for the quick and successful way that he wrapped up a number of the club’s deals this summer.
Effectively learning on the job ever since Fenway Sports Group decided to promote him to managing director in 2011, Ayre didn’t get everything right, but he was quick and decisive on a number of Liverpool’s key deals, with none of the dithering which has cost the Reds on several transfer targets in the past.
'Football-Related Activity' Doesn’t Include a Transfer
For all of their additions, this is still likely to be remembered as the transfer window in which Liverpool lost Luis Suarez.
The fact that they lost him to a club which would end the window with a transfer ban and when the Uruguayan can’t play until the end of October might ultimately be overlooked, but this was the summer when we learned just what did and didn’t constitute “football-related activity.”
After biting Giorgio Chiellini, Suarez might not have been allowed to enter a football stadium, train with his team-mates or play with them, but he could certainly switch clubs for anything in between £65 million and £75 million.
London Is a More Desirable Place Than Merseyside If You’re Alexis Sanchez
“That was one where geography dictated where he wanted to go,” Brendan Rodgers told the Daily Mail. He was talking about Alexis Sanchez.
For the Chilean and his Spanish girlfriend Laia Grassi, the delights of the English capital outweighed the Albert Dock and Three Graces in the eyes of the Liverpool manager, and that’s perfectly fine.
The bright lights and glamour of London are something that Liverpool always have to compete with when they are battling for signings. Presumably Alexis isn’t a Beatles fan either?
The Old Guard Are Drifting Away
Before this window, the two longest-serving Liverpool players who had arrived at Anfield via other clubs were Pepe Reina (signed in 2005) and Daniel Agger (early 2006). Both have gone now.
Where Reina is concerned, that was hardly a surprise of course, and while Agger’s return to Brondby may not have been foreseen by many, it has now left Lucas Leiva as the longest-serving “outsider” still at the club.
Indeed, of the current squad only Lucas, Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel ever played for Liverpool under Rafael Benitez, who left the Reds in 2010.
As a sign of how much things have changed at Anfield in the past four years, that is a fairly good one.
Brendan Rodgers Loves a Challenge
There will be those who breathed a sigh of relief when Luis Suarez emptied his locker at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground for the final time, but then the key was given to Mario Balotelli.
Brendan Rodgers seemingly loves to have a madcap character around the place as it keeps everyone on their toes, and the arrival of Balotelli keeps alive that manic spirit which took Liverpool so far last season.
The aim will of course be to see less “Mad Mario” headlines and more that are praising of the Italian’s performances, and while he might not be of Suarez’s quality (who is?) he at least fills that “interesting character” void that was vacant for a few weeks.
Liverpool’s Scouts Had Season Tickets at St. Mary’s Last Season
In the great Southampton sell-off, Liverpool made sure they were at the front of the queue.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren made their way from the south coast to Anfield, and while that fact alone was enough for plenty of tweets and memes, you can see just why the Reds brought in all three players for their qualities alone.
Whether they’ll be a success remains to be seen, but the trio’s move from one club to another is surely going be a unique sight and will remain unmatched for years to come.
Well, Southampton will hope not anyway.