The arguments have been raging over the last few weeks regarding our signings and the lack of a Marquee player. I have to started to wonder what the term actually means, is it:
- A player who everybody wants (not possible, dissension among the masses is rife regardless).
- An expensive signing? (if this is the case then were Benteke and Lovren not marquee?)
- Beating a host of clubs to a player (how do we compete with top clubs when we have spent 6 out of 7 seasons out of champions league)
The term remains a bafflement as I see the social media rage, Marquee is entirely subjective to the individual and as we have seen not everyone will agree. If it was down to a pure value then would everybody not have been happy when Benteke signed last season for 32.5 million or even this season when Mane joined? Instead we have had folk raging against the size of the fees on these players and how we have been massively overpaying through the years on dross. Ok, so if that is the case is this summer not an exercise in careful management of finances and a manager buying the players he feels he needs? Apparently not, fans crying that this shows a lack of ambition whilst the likes of City, Utd and even Chelsea buy all the world’s best at bargain prices that an entire fan-base is joyous about and yet we cannot or will not compete – FSG Out is the shout.
The consistent pendulum swing of fan views is rife. If you are accepting of what the manager has done so far then you are accepting mediocrity and have no clue what being a Liverpool fan is all about. If you are impatient for the club to show some ambition and point to the net spend then you are a negative who isn’t trusting of the manager and its ownership. I do not want to delve too deeply into the owner’s backing as that is a whole other story but the reality of the situation is that the truth lies somewhere between the pendulum swings. Similarly the sheer amount of ITK’s peppering our twitter lines with cryptic tidbits that we gobble up is quite incredible – especially considering how much the club has tightened up on the leakage of information in the last two years. Previously, our dirty laundry wasn’t so much as being aired in public but rather aired, photographed, photo-shopped and shown in an exhibit so that the world could take joy in the failures gone by. The fact that this is no longer the case creates its own issues. Fans had become used to the information that some people were able to gain and share and whilst folk moaned about the airing of said linen it gave people a glimpse of what lay behind the door of our beloved club. This is now not the case but it is still used as a stick with which to beat the club. There is a prevailing attitude amongst some fans that if no information is leaked, LFC must not be doing anything and the club and its owners are cheating us fans. This is far from the truth.
The Hector v Ben Chilwell is a prime example of this trend. Hector is a German international, who had a good solid Euro 2016 and was supposedly available for transfer for the not insignificant fee of 18 million pounds (give or take). Surely Klopp, being a German himself must be after him rather than an inexperienced English lad he cannot possibly know anything about. Except he does know a great deal about him through the vast network of scouts we employ and the fact he was on loan at a club a very good friend and previous employee is now in charge of. Yet as that pendulum swung I was told adamantly via social media that there was no way Klopp would prefer Chilwell and that the club are screwing him for not getting him the player he wants in Hector. Who knows what the truth is, but I would expect that Klopp who has just signed a new 6 year deal and with a not too inconsiderable pot of cash available would be able to at least put up a fight for a player of that calibre if he deemed him a necessary purchase. Only that did not happen and the player who had been whored out around Europe by his agent and club all of a sudden signed a new contract rather than join Liverpool, Spurs or even Barcelona. Now call me cynical but the whole situation smacks of an agent using a light interest in a player to get his client a nice pay rise in a club he is comfortable at, safe in the knowledge that another good season will see them be able to move on next summer anyway.
When Klopp first signed for the club he was lauded and indeed desired because he has a proven track record in finding players slightly away from the norm and therefore away from one of the criteria listed above for a Marquee signing. Whilst many of the players he signed were not unknowns as such, they were players that were not in the top tier in terms of reputation and therefore not tracked by the real big boys. The signings of Hummels, Gundogan, Reus, Kagawa and Abamuyang where not considered at the time to be top level players yet all have since been touted for huge fees and in some cases been sold for a large profit (not that we want to become a selling club). These were the types of signings I had been told he was capable of and in his first window he is doing something similar (on the face of it at least). Matip signed for free and without great fanfare yet already an experienced player at age 24 and considered good enough to be named alongside Hummels in the Bundesliga team of the season. Karius cost just 4.5 million, Grujic 5.1 and Mane a whopping 30+ (Marquee?). Yet, be in no doubt, they are all Klopp’s choices and match his player blueprints:, physically impressive, off the beaten path and from leagues he knows well. Players he believes will deliver his philosophy and style of play in the premier league.
Klopp himself has made a number of comments and remarks on the situation and a couple of things have become relatively clear, the first one being is that without European football certain players won’t join us, that is obvious. The second point is that not everyone will know or will agree with the signings he makes and that is the crux of the matter, for everyone who likes Sadio Mane there is someone else wanting a player like Gotze (No European football) and whilst it may be frustrating at times that the manager does not buy the players that YOU want, we have to understand that he is buying the players he can given the circumstances and that these are players he absolutely wants.
Now I won’t be condescending and give everyone the “back the manager” quote. All I can say is that as a fan, I will be backing the manager and the club going into this season wholeheartedly. I will reserve my right to question certain decisions and at times he will get it wrong. However, I won’t be screaming from the hills when he does get something wrong nor will I be claiming a league victory is certain if we win the first games of the season. Right now I believe in his approach and that he will get it right. I actually quite like the signings he has made and fully believe that if we can make top 4, which is absolutely possible, that the bigger signings (not necessarily the ones YOU want) will join us.
At the end of the day it is a journey to enjoy.
Written by Si Dixon