Liverpool balls: Shankly and the transfer committee bought winners, Brendan Rodgers picked the dross
Much has been written about Liverpool FC’s Transfer Committee. The group that signed Luis Suarez also signed Mario Balotelli. They don’t always get it right. But can it be an excuse for Brendan Rodgers’ failure at Anfield?
Guardian, July 2014: “Liverpool transfer failings suggest Luis Suárez won’t be adequately replaced”
…many of the targets identified by Rodgers and “the team” have proven to be high-level talents – the only problem is that they’ve done so at other clubs. Liverpool wanted Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but he joined Borussia Dortmund, they also wanted Willian and Mohamed Salah, but they joined Chelsea, while a move last summer for Diego Costa, who has just joined the Stamford Bridge club from Atlético Madrid on the back of finishing as top scorer for the La Liga champions, also came to nothing.
The committee is good at talent spotting, then. They also wanted Alexis Sanchez, but he rejected Liverpool and chose Arsenal.
Daily Mail, July 2014: “Liverpool buying big to replace Luis Suarez would go against the club’s principles and Brendan Rodgers’ instinct”
So where would you start? You have been thrust into the role of Liverpool manager and your first task is to fill the void created by Luis Suarez’s departure to Barcelona… How about Karim Benzema, then? …He would cost in the region of £50m and demand huge wages but money isn’t an object for you, so why not? If Benzema isn’t for you, what about Marco Reus from Borussia Dortmund? Yours for £45m. When he recovers from the ankle ligament damage that cost him a place in Germany’s World Cup winning-squad, there is no doubt he deserves a place in European football’s ‘A’ list.
Others would have to be considered. Why not Radamel Falcao, a striker who deserves to be playing in front of a bigger, more passionate crowd than Monaco’s? Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Germain, maybe? Angel Di Maria, or even Mario Balotelli?
Were Liverpool to land any of the aforementioned players, the news would be huge, the fee would be massive but, more than anything, the deal would represent a shift in a policy that goes back to the days of Bill Shankly. Liverpool, in the main, do not raid big clubs to sign big names – they identify talent and turn them into stars.
The committee is upholding Liverpool traditions.
Indy, October 2014: “Brendan Rodgers is being let down by the Liverpool ‘transfer committee’ – only two of 23 players signed since 2012 have been successes”
The ‘transfer committee’, an idea of Fenway Sports Group, includes chief executive, Ian Ayre, Michael Edwards, the head of analysis and the head of recruitment, Dave Fallows. Rodgers has final say on signings…
Rodgers has seen 23 new players arrive either permanently or on loan at Anfield in his spell in charge and, at a quick count, only two of those have proved themselves to be truly successful under the Northern Irishman.
Those two are Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho…
They are top players. But did Rodgers want them?
Liverpool Echo: October 2015: “Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool FC transfer committee: a source of constant friction”
Rodgers was the driving force behind signing the likes of Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Danny Ings, James Milner and Christian Benteke, while the other members of the committee championed the suitability of players such as Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Sakho, Emre Can, Moreno, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino
No. The committee picked the two winners.
Daily Mirror, October 2015:
So Liverpool ‘s mysterious transfer committee has finally suffered its first casualty.
Although it says it all about FSG’s strategy that one of the six members has only gone because they have sacked Brendan Rodgers.
The committee was responsible for turning FSG’s misguided ‘Moneyball’ theory into practice in the transfer market.
Headed by the FSG’s powerful president Mike Gordon, who sacked Rodgers by trans-Atlantic phone call yesterday, it now comprises chief executive Ian Ayre, director of scouting Dave Fallows, chief scout Barry Hunter and director of performance ‘stats guy’ Michael Edwards.
Their brief is to find undervalued talent, preferably young or Bosman signings, for the coach to nurture.
But Rodgers wanted Sakho, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, right. The Echo told us he did.
He didn’t want Mamadou Sakho or Iago Aspas or Luis Alberto.
Such are the facts.