Liverpool overspent on several of their transfer targets according to the latest calculations, but in the summer of 2014, such lavish spending was both inevitable and necessary.
CIES Football Observatory released a tool that lets people calculate the actual transfer value of a particular player based on several parameters, and Metro unleashed that tool on the top Premier League clubs. According to their conclusions, the Reds grossly overpaid for a number of players:
Liverpool also paid more than they should have done for several of their summer acquisitions, including Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Alberto Moreno and Divock Origi.
And while the quartet, who cost £20m, £23m, £12m and £10m respectively, helped the Reds shell out a mammoth £116.8m in total, they also undercharged Barcelona for Luis Suarez.
The two clubs are currently reporting differing fees for the controversial Uruguayan, but according to the CIES Football Observatory, the Reds could have squeezed an additional £9.4m out of the Catalan club.
However, it hasn’t been all bad news for the Anfield spreadsheet, with Liverpool saving an impressive £13m on new arrival Mario Balotelli from AC Milan, whose true value is said to be £29m.
Liverpool were far from the only club guilty of overspending, according to Metro, and fans will be quick to dispute the value of the tool. But any neutral observer only needs to take one look at some of the new arrivals to come to the same conclusion.
Dejan Lovren is an experienced centre-back with upside, but he's not (yet) an elite defender. Adam Lallana likely saw his stock soar due to the fact that he's English, while Alberto Moreno is equally talented but inexperienced. As for Divock Origi: His transfer fee is based on potential, as the youngster has hardly produced in the past.
The tool isn't suggesting the Reds made bad purchases—all it does is point out that on face value, Brendan Rodgers overpaid. And that's fine.
Liverpool overpaid, but so did virtually everybody else. The summer of 2014 saw multiple transfer records get shattered, and the likes of Angel Di Maria, James Rodriguez and David Luiz moved for the kind of transfer fees that could be described as "ridiculous."
Transfer fees are higher than they've ever been, and as a result, clubs are forced to overpay in order to bring in real talent. Unlike several other clubs, Liverpool were smart in how they spent their money.
Centre-back, midfield and full-back were clear areas of need. It doesn't matter how much money you spend—as a top club, you need to fill those needs with talent as soon as you can. The Reds did so, adding three players who will immediately make the team better and who have the potential to become class players for years to come.
Origi has the potential to be a star forward at some point down the road. A £10 million investment is always a risk, but if the Belgian international pans out, he'll easily triple his value.
Did the Reds overspend in 2014?
Rodgers was forced to spend in 2014, but he did so wisely. He targeted young players with tremendous upside, instead of breaking the bank for a veteran world-class player who would only help them immediately.
Lovren, Lallana, Moreno and Origi all have one thing in common—if they continue their progress as expected, their value will only increase. Even if the Reds overpaid on the players they are getting now, those players will likely exceed their initial price tag in a few years' time.
In today's Premier League, clubs have to spend to get better. The Reds did just that, and while they may have spent too much from an economic perspective, they invested their money wisely and will be reaping the rewards for years to come.