Liverpool FC : How Did the Reds and NESV Perform in the January Transfer Window?
With the January transfer window of 2011 now firmly closed, it has without a shadow of a doubt been the most active in the history of Liverpool Football Club.
Twice the club's record transfer fee was broken, but sadly they lost the previous record signing and Kop idol; Fernando Torres.
However, new owners New England Sport Ventures (NESV) have now gotten a good taster into how transfers are carried out in 'the beautiful game'. The hectic nature of dealings between clubs, negotiating of personal terms with players and medicals have given John Henry and his team at Anfield an insight into the intense nature of what goes into transferring a player, both in and out of the club.
But how would we as fans judge their performance in their first transfer window?
Of course Daniel Comolli and his team are the real people in the spot light, but ultimately it is the upper echelons of NESV, probably Henry himself, that will give the 'Yeh or Neh' to any transactions.
It is for sure, that NESV have certainly made their intentions clear and supporters of Liverpool cannot say that they did not deliver on promises made when it comes to player dealings.
They came in with a mantra of bringing top young world class talent into the football club and of not being afraid of digging deep into their pockets.
An this is exactly what they have done; in his first transfer window, Henry sanctioned the spending of £22.8m on one player, a then club record, and then again breaking the club record, the record for the transfer of an English player and recording the 9th largest transfer in footballing history.
Fans cannot say that the new owners have not lived up to their end of the bargain in terms of spending money.
However, there is the issue of losing one of the true stars and world class players of the team and to make matters worse to a Premiership rival.
How does this stand with the fans when NESV and Liverpool Football Club are judged on their performance in January 2011 transfer window?
IN: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez became Liverpool Football Club's record signing at £22.8m from Dutch giants Ajax, but only for a short period of time.
Nevertheless, Suarez comes to Anfield with a huge reputation as not only a phenomenal goal scorer but also a superb provider of opportunities for his team mates.
Skeptics will point out that a great scoring record in the Dutch league is no guarantee of success in the English Premier League and give plenty of examples. But the Uruguay international arrives with pedigree and more strings to his bow than simply goal scoring.
Suarez has the ability to play as the pivotal striker in the attack or as the second striker off a target man.
Besides his striking abilities, Suarez has a deft touch on the ball, great close ball control, dribbling abilities and fantastic vision for a pass. Liverpool may well have splashed the big bucks, but they are certainly getting their money's worth in Suarez.
Certainly NESV have lived up to their expectations in their capture of a young player that is undoubtedly one of the gems of the European game and has the potential to go on to become a true world class player.
No fingers can be pointed in the direction of John Henry, as he has certainly put NESV money where their mouth is and delivered exactly what he promised.
Furthermore, the skilful Uruguayan striker has been handed the iconic Liverpool No.7 shirt, previously worn so majestically by King Kenny Dalglish, ironically his new manager.
Certainly Suarez has a huge task to fill this shirt, but there is little doubt that if he displays a fraction of the talent and ability that he possesses, then he will become another great Liverpool No.7.
So, a big thumbs up in this transfer deal and I am sure Liverpool fans would agree that they are very pleased.
IN: Andy Carroll
NESV and Liverpool Football Club have smashed the club transfer record, making Andy Carroll the biggest transfer of an Englishman in history and registered the 9th largest transfer for a single player in history!
Carroll became the new Liverpool No.9 in the final hours of the January transfer window and with it brought in a new era in Liverpool Football Club's history.
Once again NESV and John Henry have put their hands deep into their pockets and delivered upon their promise of bringing in the cream of football's young talent.
£35m were dished out to Newcastle for their most prized of possessions. This represents a huge investment in the talents of a young, but some would say, largely unproven English striker.
Carroll's record for the Magpies was not remarkable but no less commendable, with 33 goals in 91 appearances. Granted that the imposing striker has only played 19 times in the Premier League but he has scored on eleven of those outings.
But it is not only this record that Liverpool have thought worth £35m, but rather the 22 year old's immense potential.
Carroll has pulled on the England shirt on one occasion in November 2010, having represented U19s and U21s scoring 6 goals on 13 appearances.
The sheer physical presence and aggressive nature of Carroll's approach to the game have already gotten Premier League defenses wary of him and will provide Kenny Dalglish with something that Liverpool have not had since the days of John Toshack.
A true target man, with speed, skill and a deft touch is what Carroll brings to the table. Liverpool have a real spearhead in their attack, with whom many are comparing to the legendary Alan Shearer.
Certainly, the signing of Carroll could be considered as a risk and an expensive one at that. But the English striker has the talent to become one of the most feared marksman in the Premier League.
If he can forge an understanding with Liverpool's other major new signing Luis Suarez, then the Reds will have a formidable attacking front line.
So, it is very much a thumbs up for the attacking endeavour of the new owners in their approval to smash records to bring Carroll to Liverpool and from what fans have seen to him so far, all the signs are great.
OUT: Fernando Torres
It was unimaginable for any Liverpool fan to ever imagine Fernando Torres leaving Liverpool Football Club.
But in an amazing turnaround of events, El Nino has left Anfield.
The shock of these events have not yet settled around the club. The man "whose armband said he was a Red" has deserted the shores of the Mersey for the muddy Thames.
But Liverpool fans, bitterly disappointed as they are, must thank Torres for all his goals and leave him to go.
There are volumes that one could write as a Liverpool fan, and it is gut wrenching to think of Torres in any other shirt than that of Liverpool.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish quite possibly summed up the situation a short time prior to the transfer of Torres when asked about it. It is these words that are quoted here as consolation to all us Liverpool fans. King Kenny put it better than anyone else.
"Movement is part and parcel of football. I wouldn't be here if there were no transfers. I started off at Celtic. There are many people who've started off at clubs and moved on. And certainly if Kevin (Keegan) hadn't gone I wouldn't have come here."
"Throughout the history of football people have moved on. But the most important thing that we all must remember is that this football club is much more important and bigger than anybody."
"I don't think we've done too badly. Rushie went in 87/88 and there was a train of thought after that that we had the greatest ever Liverpool team and one of the most attractive to watch."
"Rushie enjoyed Italy that much he came back a year later!"
"There are players who have gone but there are an awful lot of players who've come in and been fantastic for this football club"
"The most important people at Liverpool Football Club are the people who want to be here."
There is nothing more to be said on the Torres issue, in his most articulate manner, Dalglish said it all.
OUT: Ryan Babel
Ryan Babel arrived at Liverpool in 2007 for £11.5m on the wave of huge expectations. Babel was the new Thierry Henry and Liverpool had bagged a bargain.
Well not all things come out as they are expected to, and Babel became an enigma.
The flying Dutchman, never lived up the hype. Unforetunately, he was not able to hold down a steady place in the starting line up on either the wing or as a striker.
Maybe he was never given the opportunity in his preferred central striking role to really show his potential. His managers never really seemed to be completely convinced by him and therefore never really trusted him in this role.
Blessed with blistering pace and a thunderous shot, that Liverpool fans saw on occasions, Babel found himself forced out on to the flanks. But again, even in this role, he was not convincing.
Inconsistency dogged his stay at Anfield and Babel just could not seem to find a place for himself in the first team.
With all this in mind and his international career doing down the drain along with several run ins with dubious interactions on various social network sites, Babel was always likely to be moving on at some stage in the near future.
Liverpool would have done better to have cashed in on an offer for his services from Birmingham City for £8m a year ago and even deterred interest from the same club last summer.
But they held on to a player whose performances were faltering and whose value, in turn, was also dwindling.
NESV cannot be blamed for holding on to Babel too long, but must be given credit for cutting the losses of the club for a player who clearly had little future at Anfield and whose re-sale value was going south.
In this transfer window, Liverpool sold the Dutchman to German club Hoffenhiem for a sum of around £6m, this represents a loss of around £5m. Not great business but maybe as much as Liverpool were ever going to get for Babel.
So credit where it is due to NESV for having the sense to sell a player now, whose value was on the slide.
Loan Deals and Other Deals
Liverpool Football Club have also been wheeling and dealing on other deals and loan arrangements, the following is a summary these deals.
Liverpool signed Yusef Mersin, a promising 16 year old Tukish goalkeeper from Millwall for an undisclosed fee at the beginning of the transfer window. The youngster has played for his country at Under 17 level and is highly thought of by his former club.
Loan Deals In
Conor Thomas from Coventry City
Loan Deals Out
Liverpool have loaned out a number of youngsters to other clubs in order that these young players can get valuable first team experience.
Nathan Eccleston to Charlton Athletic
Stephen Darby to Notts County
David Amoo to Milton Keynes Dons
Victor Palsson to Hiberian
Paul Konchesky to Nottingham Forest.
That final one will be something that most Liverpool fans will welcome more than any other. Konchesky has not been loaned out to get first team experience but due to him just not making the grade at Anfield.
NESV, John Henry and Liverpool Football Club have made the transfer window of January 2011 the most memorable in the club's history.
Twice, in quick succession, the club's record transfer fee was broken, first to bring in Luis Suarez for £22.8m then to acquire Andy Carroll for a record breaking £35m!
The sad point was the sale of Fernando Torres, for a record transfer fee in the English Premier League.
Some will say that NESV really did not dig that deep into their pockets are their net spending was only around £7.5m. However, they could have taken the money from the Torres sale and kept it for the summer or even worse simply pocketed it as profit.
But they were true to their word; they re-invested in the playing squad. And if this is the sign of the manner in which they will run Liverpool Football Club, then the future is most certainly very bright.
The beginning of 2011, is quite possibly the beginning of a new era for the club. New players, a new owners, new manager and new approach.
Liverpool fans must look to the future and absorb the word of manager Kenny Dalglish.
The future is bright, new and exciting. The squad has been through a shake up and has come out stronger. There is a mood of excitement and optimism in the halls of Anfield. These are exciting times to be a Liverpool supporter and that could not have been said only six months ago.
As for whether NESV and John Henry's performance in their first transfer window? Well if this is what they do in the January transfer window, roll on the summer.
Once again, to quote Dalglish in his appraisal;
"The owners have been absolutely fantastic in their support during the transfer window,''
"Our reassurance for the supporters out there is that they are really determined to get the club moving forward.
"It's not a PR exercise either, it's a real determination from [the owners] to step forward and move Liverpool Football Club forwards and upwards.''
Well done to the management of Liverpool Football Club.