In his latest column, Sam Drury assesses the transfer market and the fans’ reaction to potential ins and outs.
Will Liverpool fans concentrate on the matches ahead or focus primarily on rumoured targets?
As I logged on to twitter midway through last week I was already dreading what I would find. It was exactly as I expected. Anger, panic, despair and confusion filled the tweets on my timeline. It wasn’t a pretty sight. What had occurred to cause stir such emotions in so many people? A terrorist attack? The ongoing events in Egypt and Syria?
No. The reason for this hysteria was that one football club thought they were signing a football player but now a different football club had decided they wanted the player too and the player appeared set to join the second club.
As it is the footballer in question, Willian, has now completed a move to a third club in Chelsea but the reaction of many Liverpool fans when the former Shakhtar Donetsk winger appeared set to snub the Reds for Tottenham was incredible.
The thing is, it is no longer a surprise. As the summer has gone on Liverpool supporters, indeed football fans in general, have become increasingly agitated by the lack of transfer activity from their club. When news broke then that Liverpool were ‘confident’ of signing a top quality player for a fee of around £30m there was delirium amongst some groups of fans. Forget the fact that the first game of the season was just hours away at this point – this is what they were really excited about.
The subsequent 1-0 win over Stoke and the dramatic events in the final minutes distracted these types for a while but soon the talk was back to Willian. The Brazilian would be fantastic; he would take Liverpool to the next level. With him Champions League qualification would be well within reach, who knows, with a bit of luck we might be in with a shout of the title.
Of course, Willian is a top player who would have been a good addition to the Liverpool starting XI and, with him in the side; the chances challenging for and even gaining a Champions League place would have been improved. However, to read some of the tweets from Reds across the globe, you would think that with the Anzhi midfielder a top four finish was guaranteed and, when it became apparent that he wasn’t heading to Merseyside, without him the devastation suggested a year battling relegation would follow.
For days after the talk of medicals being booked, a refusal to pay an extra £5m and unrealistic wage demands, there was little mention of the away match at Villa Park on Saturday tea time. The fact we buy players so they can compete in actual matches almost gets lost in amongst the clamour for new signings.
The situation is such that you could imagine a scenario in which despite having brought in a new of top players to improve the areas of the team that required attention early on in a summer, some fans would still be frustrated by August that there had been no new signings for a few weeks. The feeling is one that during the transfer window, there must be transfers.
This summer Liverpool have struggled to bring in big name players with the guaranteed quality to improve the first team, that much is evident, and a certain amount of frustration from fans is understandable. What isn’t is the hysteria and over-reaction online, certainly not to the extent that it overshadows what has been a very good start to the season for the Reds.
The win over Notts County came at a cost and will surely force Liverpool’s hand in the transfer market and could help to appease some irate supporters – although it is unlikely the reported loan signing of Victor Moses would sooth too many people.
Whatever the outcome of these last few days of the transfer window, I for one cannot wait for September 3rd and a break from the endless transfer speculation. Before then though, Liverpool head into arguably their biggest home game of the season on Sunday on the back of three straight wins. Perhaps rather than explode about losing out a player or the lack of incoming transfers, Reds fans should look ahead to a game that, should they win, could see Brendan Rodgers’ side top the table by the time the likes of me start moaning about the international break on September 4th.