Reviewing and Grading Liverpool's Transfer Business
There have been many teams active during the summer transfer window and one of them was Liverpool, who wanted to forget about the woes of last season and have a newer and fresher start to the season. They sealed their signings in quick fashion and have spent a good amount of money on those players. Of course, the club also sold or loaned out players, who were on the fringes or who weren't good enough last season.
In this article, I'll be making a review of the club's summer dealings and will provide my own opinion on how well the club did this summer, and if they hit the mark with their dealings or not.
In: Alexandre Doni (Free transfer from AS Roma)
Liverpool didn't make many improvements in this department, since they have one of the Premier League's, and one of the world's, most reliable and best keepers in Jose Reina. They also have a solid backup in Brad Jones, so they didn't need to do much in this department. The club, though, brought in Roma keeper Alexandre Doni on a free transfer to bolster their goalkeeping ranks and to provide a much more solid and experienced backup for Reina.
Doni had a poor season with Roma last season and isn't the most consistent of keepers, but I think he'll be alright as Reina's backup. Liverpool fans shouldn't have much to worry about as long as Doni stays as a backup.
Grade: B Liverpool didn't exert themselves in this department and I believe Doni is a capable backup for Reinanot the best, but capable.
In: Sebastian Coates (7 million pound deal from Nacional), Jose Enrique (5.5 million pound deal from Newcastle)
Out: Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Free transfer to Wolfsburg), Daniel Ayala (800,000 pound deal to Norwich), Paul Konchesky (To Leicester City for an undisclosed fee), Chris Mavinga (To Rennes for an undisclosed fee), Phillip Degen (released from the club)
Liverpool had to focus on the defensive side, due to the poor performances of their defence last season, especially in the full back position (Paul Konchesky and Glen Johnson before Martin Kelly took over from him). Therefore, Liverpool dipped in with two of the biggest bargains of the summer.
First, they offloaded fringe defender, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, on a free transfer to German side Wolfsburg. Then, after the end of the Copa America, Liverpool brought in one of its best performers and a very bright defensive talent in Uruguay's Sebastian Coates from Nacional for around 7 million pounds. I believe that he's a great signing for the Merseysiders and has a bright future ahead of him with the club.
Liverpool then made another bright signing in the form of Jose Enrique,who will fill in the left back position. This was a weakness and a problem for the team last season, due to Konchesky's shocking performances. Jose Enrique is reliable, solid, does well both defensively and attack wise, never stops running and is basically a good signing and a bargain at just around 5.5 million pounds.
The sale of Paul Konchesky is also a very positive one for the team, as he was a major flop and a major weakness at the left hand side for the team. It was great business from the club to sell the error-prone left back and to replace him with the reliable, more solid and consistent Jose Enrique.
Grade: B+ I think that the club did very well in bringing in two talented defenders on bargain fees and I think they'll strengthen the club's defence. I do believe, though, that the club should've gone for another defender as well. The reason is due to the decline in form for the ageing Jamier Carragher, Agger's fitness issues and Skrtel's inconsistency. It would've been for the better, if Liverpool went for another quality defender during the summer, in my opinion.
This was the position that the club focused on the most during the summer. Liverpool quickly sealed the signings of long-time target Charlie Adam from Blackpool for a modest 7 million pounds. As you all may know, Adam was one of the best players in the Premier League last season. He's a superb passer, set piece taker and is just a joy to watch. He hasn't had the best of starts, but I'm sure, once he gets settled in, that he'll prove to be an excellent signing for Liverpool.
The biggest signing the club made all summer was signing Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for around 20 million pounds. Henderson has always been rated by the critics as a future England international and has been compared to club legend Steven Gerrard. Despite this, I've had my doubts from the very beginning over this signing and believe that the 20 million pounds could've been better spent on a better talent (Marvin Martin, Shaqiri, Eriksen, Mata, etc). Henderson has talent and potential, but for someone who made just four assists in over 30 matches last season for Sunderland, 20 million pounds is over the top. Coupled with a very poor showing in the U-21 World Cup with England, Henderson is not worth 20 million pounds, or at least hasn't shown it yet. Liverpool would be hoping for better for him and to prove that he isn't a waste of money.
The other big signing the club made was the signing of Aston Villa winger and England international, Stewart Downing, for around 18 million pounds. Downing was voted by the Villa fans as the Player of the Season and was the club's most consistent performer, with a highlight; his excellent performance against rivals Manchester United at Villa Park, where he ran their defence ragged. Downing has had a good start, in my opinion, to life at Liverpool. I really didn't agree with the huge fee that the club paid for him, but he could well end up to be a good signing for the club.
Now for the departures. The biggest and best piece of transfer business the club did during the summer was offloading the walking disaster that is Christian Poulsen. Poulsen has been well criticised by the fans during his short time at Anfield and many are delighted that he's gone and that they won't have to see his poor passing and tackling, week in and week out.
Both Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani, have also left the club on loan. Cole because of his poor performances last season after so much was expected from such a gifted player. So, I think that his departure on loan suits both parties and was for the best. The same goes for Aquilani, despite his excellent form in pre-season and for Juventus last season. Aquilani was never happy at Liverpool and always wanted to go back to Italy and has been doing well with AC Milan. If you want me to be honest, though, I'd rather have kept Aquilani then buy Henderson. Considering the way he performed in pre-season and when he's at his best, Aquilani is a top midfielder. If it wasn't for his injuries, he would've been considered one of the best in his position, at least in Europe.
The biggest departure was one of the most dramatic of the summer transfer window, which concluded in the last few minutes of Deadline Day. The transfer of Raul Meireles to Chelsea was a transfer that caught many by surprise. Meireles was one of Liverpool's best players last season and one of their most consistent. He quickly became a fan favorite among the Liverpool faithful with his constant running and reliability. His transfer angered and shocked many fans, and, in my opinion, he will be missed.
Grade: B- Despite the big signings and the money spent on midfield players, I am still not thoroughly convinced by Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam's performances so far. I believe that the club, with the money they have, could've bought better midfielders. Selling one of their best players and their best midfielder last season, in Raul Meireles, is also a blow for the team. Downing has done alright thus far, but still hasn't fully settled to the squad. It's still too early to write them off and hopefully they can prove themselves, meet the expectations put on them, and help the club gain at least a Champions League spot.
In: Craig Bellamy (Free signing from Manchester City)
Out: David Ngog (Signed for Bolton for around 4 million pounds), Milan Jovanovic (To Anderlecht for an undisclosed fee), Nabil El Zhar (Free transfer to Rennes)
This was another position, or department, that the club didn't pay much attention to because of the signings of Andy Caroll and Luis Suarez during the winter transfer window last season. The only two pieces of business they did was signing former player, Craig Bellamy, from Manchester City on a free transfer and offloading the talented, but inconsistent, David Ngog to Bolton.
The signing of Bellamy could be an excellent and shrewd piece of business by the club. He's a very gifted player and he's one of the most dangerous players in the league when at his best. He's widely known for his "bad boy" antics, but he can be immense for any club he plays for and I'm a huge fan of his. He has pace, excellent movement, good direction and power. He is also very tough, with good leadership skills. He can be one of the best buys of the summer if he's focused on performing and not getting into any bust-ups, etc.
I believe that the sale of Ngog suits both parties, as Liverpool offloaded a relatively fringe player who has never fully endeared himself to the Liverpool faithful, while Ngog can finally get some regular football action under the excellent tutelage of Owen Coyle at Bolton.
Liverpool also did well to offload another flop in Milan Jovanovic. Jovanovic never settled in at Anfield and never displayed the form he had when he impressed in Belgium with Standard de Liege.
Grade: B I believe Liverpool did alright in bringing in Craig Bellamy and offloading David Ngog and Milan Jovanovic, and if Bellamy can perform to his ability then he'll be a masterstroke of a signing.
Liverpool secured several acquisitions and spent good money to show and prove their intent in getting the club back to where they belong—a top challenger for the Premier League and a relevant contender in the Champions League. They some very good signings and sales this summer and were one of the busiest English clubs in the transfer window.
However, despite their spending, I believe they could've done much better in the market, especially in the midfield department.
This is just my opinion and thought, and I want to know what you think.