I was looking to do this before Xmas to run through the money we have spent and what we have really got for our money. It wont make pretty reading and Robbie Savage has summarised this on the BBC Sport website. I include his link here http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30516598
I will try and delve a bit deeper as to our ethos and approach rather than just focusing on the amount spent and the players bought, although that is key. Despite the title of this post the blame cannot be laid solely at Brendan Rodgers door. Ian Ayre bears a huge amount of responsibility for the over inflated prices we pay and not being strong enough to walk away from deals.
For those not fully au fait with Ian Ayre and his role at the club here is brief summary. He was headhunted by Hicks and Gillett in March to become our Commercial Director in March 2007. He was responsible for the Standard Chartered sponsorship deal. At the time it was one of the most lucrative shirt deals for a football team. When Werner and Henry took over Chris Purslow, the last of the Commoli,Dalglish triumvirate stepped down and Ian Ayre appointed as Managing Director in October 2010. So he is responsible for helping negotiate our transfers.
Our overarching ethos on transfers is to sign young players, preferably U23, then develop them further. While that seems like a sound long-term policy it does leave us open to vagaries of youth and the inconsistency in form of players of that age. Additionally you may not make a return on the investment as they may not develop as expected but as long as you are not paying over the odds that can work.
That for me is where we are failing. We are paying far too much for unproven talent or to use Rodgers favourite phrase 'potential'. We have signed lots player for sums in the teens of millions yet when we sell an academy player of our own between 20-23 years old we seem to be happy with £1-4mill. Surely that isn't right? Either we are underselling our lot or not negotiating properly for the incomings. The evidence would suggest both.
This transfer policy seems at odd with our goal of getting back into the top 4 consistently and ultimately challenging for the League occasionally.
I do think we can win the League as long as Chelski,Man City and ManUre have the financial clout that they do. Arsenal are equally dangerous under the new Fair Play rules as they are well within the rules and have dropped a £40million player into the squad the last 2 seasons (Ozil and Sanchez).
We are attempting a 'Moneyball' scenario but unfortunately we are not playing by the same rules as American sports do where everyone is in the same boat. There is no Draft and only limited financial constraints on how to conduct business.
In total we have signed 24 players since Rodgers took over. Eight of them have already left and several are on loan.... Not a good sign that 1/3 arent good enough. The issue isnt so much that they don't make it, its the fact that most of them barely get on the bench and have rarely even got on as subs..... So why did we buy them??? Its not like they get a chance and dont perform. Its almost like we sign them blind and then are disappointed that they arent what Rodgers thinks they are.....
So the 1st wave of players under Rodgers came in the summer of 2012.
The 1st of those was Fabio Borini for £10.5mill, ex-Chelski academy player whom Rodgers had worked with before, in from Roma. after havingThere he scored an impressive 9 goals in 20 starts at the Stadio Olympico club. Of course he had also been on loan at Swansea under Rodgers and scored 6 goals in 12 starts in their promotion push to the Premier League.
Yet from the get go with this lad Rodgers hasn't really given him a chance. He totals 35 appearances and has only scored 3 goal for us in 2.5 years. Ironically his best spell was on loan at Sunderland last year where he scored 10 goals in keeping them up and reaching the Capital One Cup. Who can ever forget his winner against Chelsea!
So you would think he would feature this season. Instead with only a week of the window to go and no real replacement for Suarez, he is told he can leave the club. Thankfully he has decided to stay and fight but again he has basically been snubbed by Rodgers. After signing Balotelli he can hardly then play Borini in his stead when Sturridge got injured. I think that is exactly what he should have done. He likes playing on the shoulder, he runs in behind and is genuinely lively in the box. everytime he plays you can see he is over trying. As a transfer its a fail but that's down to the manager for me. He clearly doesn't fancy him despite having lumped on him in the 1st place.
Next Joe Allen from his previous club Swansea for the ridiculous sum of £15million. Allen and Leon Britton had pass completion stats comparable with Xavi and Iniesta in the high 90 percentile. But seriously they were doing in front of the back 4 not on the edge of the opponents 18 yard box. Hugely over priced and even when fit is nothing more than a bench warmer. 79 appearances and 3 goal from the Welsh hobbit ticcy-taccy expert isnt good enough. Will expect to see him moved on in the summer for a huge loss.
Joining these 2 'Major' signing was Oussama Assaidi for £3mill from Heerenveen, Samir Yesil for £1mill from Leverkusen and lastly Nuri Sahin on loan from Madrid who had him on loan from Dortmund. The last was deemed so poor he was sent back to Dortmund in the January window and bizarrely played in the Champions League final that year! Assaidi was moved on this summer. Yesil is still on our books but is generally injured and I cant see him threatening the 1st team ever... So 1st window a disaster really.
January 2013 and the exception that proves the rule with Rodgers and Ayre. Yes we signed some decent players who actually play football in the 1st team! Daniel Sturridge from Chelski for £12mill and Phillippe Coutinho for £8.5mill from Inter. The former we could have had as part of the Torres/Carroll deal which still irks and I believe it actually cost us £120mill to fix that mess! Coutinho came with reputation of being injury prone but he hit the ground running and is by far our most creative player. 2 big hits, well done!!!
Then we come to summer 2013 when Brendan Rodgers really started to put his stamp on the squad. In came Kolo Toure on a free, Moses and Cissokho from Chelski and Valencia respectively. Only Toure is really passable as a signing from those 3.
Actual money spent and some of this will surprise you as to how much we have paid.
Aspas £7.7mill from Celta Vigo (in Spanish 2nd Div at the time - WTF), Luis Alberto for £6.8mill from Sevilla and last but not least Tiago Illoro from Sporting Lisbon for £7mill! These 3 have again not sniffed the 1st team much and are so good they are all on season long loans at Sevilla, Malaga and Bordeaux respectively. That is £21.5mill spent on 3 guys who will probably get moved on in summer for a couple of mill each. Epic triple fail!
But wait there is more £18mill for Mamadou Sakho from PSG and £9mill for Simon Mingolet from Sunderland. Initially the latter looked a good move with 4 cleansheets and that pen save against Stoke on the opening day. From there is has been slowing downhill to a man who is a trembling wreck anytime the ball is within 30 yard of him or the goal. As for Sakho if that clown is good enough to play for France they wont win a thing ever. Plays with his head down and looks like a less composed Djimi Traore! How is that even possible??? 2 more epic fails. So that's £50mill wasted in that window.
Thankfully we didn't trade last Jan, that was the start of our juggernaut start to almost win the league.
So we get to the summer lose Suarez after yet another biting incident and you would think the priority is to sign a new top notch striker. All summer Lambert and Lallana were coming so those were done deals without the Suarez money. £4mill for Lambert and yes £25mill for Lallana!! I have no issue with signing these 2 but the price for Lallana is ridiculous. Fabregas only cost £5mill more!
Lambert has looked totally out of his depth. he hasn't recovered from missing pen on pre-season and has been usurped by Sterling and Borini in the striker pecking order. Lallana has been injured and has shown some signs of being useful but currently warming the bench. 1 fail 1 undecided....
The 3rd Saint to join us was Dejan Lovren for another £20mill! He looked great in the pre-season game against Dortmund and had an OK debut against So'ton but its really not worked for him. He and Sakho are suppose to be leaders and tighten the back 4 all I see is chaos. Only 6 months in but he looks like another fail.
Dont look await there are more horrors to come. Lazar Markovic for guess.... Yep £20mill from Benfica! He is 20 for crying in a bucket!!! Somewhere between £5-10mill is reasonable. Not £20 you are expecting the finished article for that amount. Not fair on the kid either, there are signs he might be a decent player in the last month but unless he goes on to be John Barnes or Steve McManaman he will be a fail!
Then we have young Alberto Moreno for £12mill from Sevilla. Again a bit pricey but we did need a left back, thing he is slowly getting there. Looks happier as a wing back than a fullback. Undecided so far.
Emre Can £10mill from Leverkusen again only 20 despite his size. Not really got a look in until the last month. looked to be carrying some timber when he arrived so probably fitness related. Player as the right centre back in our back 3 at the moment. Not bad there but ultimately think he will sit in front of the defence. Can pick a pass, physical presence and is actually quite quick and skillful. Undecided on this one.
Divock Origi for £12mill from Lille, immediately loaned back for the season. think he might be an absolute gem when he comes. Like Sterling but with more goals. Undecide,d as we haven't seen him but might be a hit.
Javier Manquillo on loan from Athletico Madrid. A totally strange one. We have Wisdom, Flanagan, Johnson and at the time Kelly as right backs. How many do we need? Wisdom is on loan, Kelly gone to Palace and Johnson and Flano injured. But he is not being used much so expect him to go back without troubling the starter in the summer.
I have saved the best until last. Mario Balotelli for £16mill from AC Milan. What were we thinking? He doesn't fit the way we play. Man City actually advised us not to waste our time and money signing him. But no this is the best we could do to replace Suarez????? Really???? Completely uninterested in playing football. No touch, no passing no effort no goals. Enner Valencia cost £8mill we could have bought Pelle and had change... Where is this famed 180 page dossier on players??? EPIC FAIL of unmentionable proportions. Why, because who the hell is going to take him off our hands???
Rodgers backed himself into a corner when he signed him. He immediately had to play him ahead of Lambert and Borini when Sturridge got injured and he hasn't scored a league goal. All he does is lose control of the ball or turn and instantly shoot no matter what the ridiculous angle is.
Rodgers criticised Spurs for spending £140mill last season by saying you should be winning the league if you spend that much in 1 go. How that has come back to haunt him. Of course if we have spent the money on 4-5 decent players instead of taking chances on 8 we might not be where we are.
Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers need to have their heads knocked together by the owners. We cant spend money like we have and not get into the CL and compete, its shocking. Ian Ayre goes on wild goose chases to Ukraine (last Jan). You see a player is available for £Xmill and when we sign them its always loads more!!! Mental, We need to adopt ManUre tactic. 'There is the offer if you dont want it we will spend it elsewhere.'
Hopefully we have enough with Sturridge back, Markovic and Can showing signs of getting to grips with whats needed. Serious thought needs to be given to our strategy in the summer. There is likely to be a fire sale at Dortmund as they sit bottom of the Bundesliga with the wheels coming off the Klippity Klop wagon. So there should be bargains. Marco Reus, Hummels, Bender etc... But will we get any or will we pay over the odds. I fear the latter again.
In short if Brendan Rodgers and Ian Ayre went into Poundland with a fiver they would come out with no change, only 1 item instead of 5 and the bag it was in would have a hole in it.....
Ah well thankfully the window is closed and we wont have worry about Danny Ings joining until the summer!
- I have been a Red since I was about 6 or 7. My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish and I have an autograph from him while he was still at Celtic. Thanks Gran! As such I gravitated towards the team he played for. So I have been Scottish-South African- Scoucer for about 30 years now! I am extremely passionate about our club, and have felt the need to start this blog in the face of the abject nature of our performaces under Benitez and the Hicks/Gillett ownership.