In this summer transfer window, Liverpool have added Thiago Alcantara in midfield, as well as much-needed depth with the signings of Diogo Jota as cover for Sadio Mane and Konstantinos Tsimikas as cover for Andy Robertson.
Michael Edwards is one of the best sporting directors in modern football, but it was going to be tough to sign players who could improve this squad. This window was always going to be about increasing depth, something Edwards did with panache.
This transfer window has seen over 17 players join or leave the Reds either on loan or permanently. The aim of this window was clear: buy players to plug gaps. Liverpool added depth to the squad with the incoming players and retained a couple of assets who went out on loan last season. This might have been because of the gruelling schedule of the COVID-19-affected 2020-21 season where the games will be coming thick and fast.
At the start of the window, it was made quite clear that in spite of winning loads of prize money as Premier League champions, it was going to be tough to spend it due to the pandemic hampering the club’s revenue across the back end of last season and the start of this one. Whenever matches are played at an empty Anfield, the cub loses income.
Despite that, and contrary to fans’ belief, Liverpool managed to make some smart deals. They added quality depth with a net spend as low as $AUD87.5 million. Compared to others, that amount was peanuts.
Let’s take a look at the players who joined Liverpool on permanent deals while also studying who left on loan, who left permanently and those whose contracts have run out.
Thiago Alcantara: Arguably the best in the world in his position, he brings plenty of experience and creativity to a midfield that is industrious and hardworking. He joined the Reds from German side Bayern Munich for only $AUD45 million, a steal for a player of his calibre. The fee will be paid in equal instalments across his contract period. We can give this signing a clean and clear 9/10.
Diogo Jota: A player with Premier League experience, who boasts statistical similarities to Sadio Mane. He joins Liverpool from Wolverhampton for $AUD74 million upfront and $7 million in add-ons. He has the ability to play anywhere across the front three and has shown glimpses of his capabilities. He has already registered a league goal against Arsenal. 8/10.
Konstantinos Tsimikas: This was one position which needed to be plugged with utmost urgency. Tsimikas joins the champions for $22 million from Greek side Olympiacos. Given the lack of quality depth in this position and the fact that Tsimikas has shown his quality, we can give this signing a clean 7/10. Finally, we have someone to keep Andy Robertson on his toes.
Thiago Alcantara. (Photo by Matt Dunham – Pool/Getty Images)
Dejan Lovren: This departure was disappointing. Lovren was one of the most entertaining characters in the changing room. He left Merseyside for Zenit St Petersburg in order to get playing minutes under his belt. Lovren heads over to Russian Premier League side Zenit Saint Petersburg for about $19.5 million. The amount that Liverpool recouped through his sale – around $AUD19.5 million – was decent given that he has entered the last leg of his playing career.
Rhian Brewster: This took many by surprise. Brewster was expected to be the next big thing at Liverpool. However, there were rumours that he demanded more playing time which Jurgen Klopp could not promise, and so he made the move to Sheffield United for $AUD42 million. The situation is a win-win for Liverpool, as they have a sell-on clause and a buy-back option in his sale agreement.
Ovie Ejaria: Ejaria showed great promise, but things did not work out for him and Liverpool decided to sell him to Reading for $AUD5.5 million. This way Ejaria gets regular football while the Reds pocket some money.
Free agent departures
Adam Lallana: Lallana joined Brighton in a deal which suits him well. Given his injury record, he might have to train with a little less intensity than his time at Liverpool which could see him get a few minutes under the belt.
Nathaniel Clyne: The last couple of seasons were tough on Clyne. His injuries, coupled with the wonderful coming of age of Trent Alexander-Arnold, saw him fall down the pecking order. I wish him great luck for whatever the future holds.
Players out on loan
Sheyi Ojo moves to Cardiff City on a season-long loan
Taiwo Awonyini heads to Union Berlin on a season-long loan
Loris Karius is also off to Union Berlin on a season-long loan. Many would argue if he was still at the club, he might have started above Adrian in the Villa game.
Klopp has one major worry regarding his entire squad. He is left with 18 international players in the senior squad. Rules stipulate that there can only be 17 players registered.
This means either Xherdan Shaqiri or Marko Grujic will have to leave to a lower league side on loan or play the season with the under-23 side. Both of them were rumoured to leave on deadline day, and Shaqiri has now tested positive for COVID-19.
Given Klopp has added Thiago, Jota and Tsimikas for a net spend of only $AUD87 million, this window has been brilliant. What makes the transfer business even better is the structure of the deals for Thiago and Jota – Liverpool are paying just a total of $16 million for them over the first year of their contracts.
I rate this window a resounding 8/10 for Liverpool. We could have looked at offloading a couple of more fringe players and added one centre back to make the squad even more dangerous in the pursuit of another title.
How do you rate Liverpool’s summer transfer activity?
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