Ben Morgan delves into Liverpool’s dealings in the transfer window this summer, and gives a roundup of the deals that went through and the deals that fell through, and which players departed Anfield.
It has been a rollercoaster for many Reds fans this summer. While the club has pulled off what look to be some clever deals, many fans have been left frustrated at the lack of spending by the club, and by how they have dealt with potential new arrivals parent clubs. Despite this unrest, the reds camp has gone back to a happy camp, with Jurgen Klopp’s team sitting in 2nd, registering 2 wins and a draw, including Sunday’s heavy metal, gergenpressing display which demolished Arsenal 4-0, behind league leaders and bitter rivals Manchester United.
On the arrivals that have come in they have impressed. The most impressive, as can be expected, is Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian international joined for a club record fee, thought to be around £39million and is living up to the billing. With 2 goals in his first 3 league games, he is showing an eye for goal and the pace he has added has given another dimensions in the reds attack now. His performance on Sunday was evident for this, especially for his goal. The pacey winger raced away from the Arsenal defence, running from his own half to the Arsenal box before calmly slotting past Petr Cech. It is only going to get better as well. The understanding between Firmino, Mane and Salah is frightening. They are perhaps the best attacking three in the Premier League, with the pace and diversity in their play. If the club can successfully keep hold of Phillipe Coutinho as well (Spanish transfer window closes at 11pm tonight), then the prospect of that front 3 with Coutinho behind, is one fans could be drooling over for some time. Another signing who has come in and impressed when he has played is Dominic Solanke. The Reds managed to pick him up at the end of his Chelsea contract, but will have to pay a compensation fee as to be decided at a tribunal. Whatever that fee will be though, however, it will look a bargain. The young striker looks composed with the ball at his feet, and also showed in preseason he has a real eye for goal. Having usurped Divock Origi, who joined Wolfsburg on loan for the year, in the pecking order, it is clear Jurgen Klopp rates the Young Lion very highly.
Andrew Robertson was another to come in, joining from Hull for a fee in the region of £8million. Again the Scottish international looks another shrewd signing, looking very confident down the left hand side. He has added further completion to the Left Back position, and this competition has also seen a dramatic return to form from Alberto Moreno, who chose to stay at the club and fight for his place rather than depart. Robertson is sure to get more game time his way though, with Klopp confirming he needs time to adapt into Liverpool’s system. Deadline day saw just the one player join the Reds. Despite reported interest and two bids for Thomas Lemar of Monaco, Klopp, went for an alternative, in the shape of Arsenal Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England international joined for a fee of around £35million, and penned a five year contract, rumoured to be around £120,000 a week, which is less then what was offered by Arsenal and also Chelsea, who ‘The Ox’ turned down in favour of Liverpool. Klopp said he has followed Chamberlain for years, after he impressed him back at his time at Dortmund, when they met Arsenal in the Champions League. The German is bound to love the Englishman’s versatility, being able to operate in a number of positions, which could prove key as Liverpool look to contend in all four competitions they find themselves in.
Perhaps one of the most important deals the club wrapped up, following a long, drawn out saga, was the confirmation of that Naby Keita will join from RB Leipzig. However the Reds will have to wait a year, as the reds secured him by paying his £48million buyout clause, which is active next year, and also a premium to secure him early. While this may annoy some fans, it is still a tremendous bit of business from the Reds. Keita was one of Klopp’s main targets, and he’ll be happy he has landed his man, and with Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in as well, we have an abundance of midfield options to choose from this season.
Mamadou Sakho departed Anfield, this time on a permanent basis, after the club agreed a fee worth £26million with Crystal Palace for the defender. Sakho was amongst the most passionate in the red shirt and many fans have spoken of how he will be missed at the club. The clubs longest serving player at the time, Lucas Leiva, also departed, as he headed to Lazio for a fee in the region of £5million. The Brazilian was highly thought of by many at the club, with his grit and determination propelling him to be a favourite amongst the Anfield faithful, Lucas was at the club for 10 years, making 247 appearances for the Reds. There were also two permanent deals away from Anfield with young reds Kevin Stewart and Andre Wisdom departing for Championship sides Hull City and Derby County respectively, while Ryan Fulton also departed for free at the end of his contract. Ryan Kent departed for Freiburg on loan, and there were a number of other Liverpool youngsters sent out on loan to get more first team football, including Sheyi Ojo, who joined Fulham for the season, and Allan Rodrigues, who joined Apollon Limassol.
What fell through?
Liverpool’s interest in Virgil Van Dijk of Southampton was well documented. The big Dutchman expressed his interest to want to join Liverpool, and even went as far as submitting a transfer request and voicing it with a statement online. Liverpool however then had to withdraw interest, due to an alleged illegal approach. The interest it seems still didn’t go away; neither did the players desire to join Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. There were links with the Dutchman right up until the window slammed shut, with the Saints closing the door on any potential deal. There were also rumours and whispers of a potential Thomas Lemar deal. Sky Sports reported that Liverpool had two bids, in the region of £55million and £65million turned down, with Monaco holding out for a fee closer to £90million.
Klopp affect and FSG:
One thing that cannot be underestimated anymore is the Klopp affect. It has been said before but is even more evident now, the prospect to play under Jurgen Klopp is a prospect many players want. It is clear to see that the Liverpool players love playing under Klopp, his energy and enthusiasm is infectious and evident in our play. Oxlade-Chamberlain turned down Arsenals new contract offer, and a Chelsea deal, to sign for Klopp, Lemar rejected Arsenal because he wanted to play for Klopp, Van Dijk tried to force a transfer from Southampton, because he wanted to play for Klopp. It is clear to see that with the German at the helm, and Champions League football at our disposal, we can start attracting the right sort of quality player again. Another thing that can be argued as well by many is the ‘FSG out’. But what cannot be argued is the funding they have provided Klopp’s Reds. Liverpool spent around £85million this summer and with the addition of Naby Keita that goes up to around £135million. If we secured the deals of Lemar and Van Dijk, are spending would of touched £300 million. The money is there, we just now need to learn how to maybe utilise it more, and learn from some of the mistakes this window.
Now though, all attention must turn away from this summer’s dealings, and focus on the objectives the club has. Klopp’s men will be expected to fight on all four fronts. With the club not having won a trophy since 2012, winning one this season is sure to be high on the agenda. Whilst some may still be slightly disappointed this has got to be forgotten now, and we must instead look forward to what promises to be a very exciting season for Liverpool FC.