It’s November 1st, which means that the January transfer window – that beacon of hope for many supporters – is now just two months away. Those clubs who didn’t quite manage to provide solutions to their on-field troubles in the summer, or didn’t even know they had problems to solve will be awaiting the chance to right those wrongs with baited breath. As the window draws ever closer the papers will fill with rumour and the internet will be awash with supposition and fabrication. The reason for this is obvious – we love a good transfer rumour – we all dream that a star player will join our club and entirely turn around its fortunes. We’ll read some of the rumours with a giddy hopeful air and huff and puff at others as we lament that player x just couldn’t cut it at club y.
Fans spend the period of time between August and January analysing their team – its strengths and its weaknesses. The natural evolution of this is that they step into a kind of faux-managerial role, where having assessed the squad’s strength in depth, they target certain areas for improvement and scour the globe (and youtube) for players that could improve the squad.
To take an example: Liverpool is a club not without its problems (although they have had two decent results on the trot). Mostly, however, they’ve had a torrid start to the season and have been lacking in a number of departments. As far as I can tell, Liverpool could do with better support for Torres upfront, a defensive midfielder and probably another defender. Of course, the clamour for new signings has already begun in earnest and rightfully so. A lot of players simply aren’t performing to a standard befitting Liverpool FC and must be moved on to make room for new signings that can improve the squad and help Liverpool challenge for trophies.
Now Liverpool are no strangers to making transfers. Some of them in recent years have been a success (Torres) and some of them haven’t been (Babel). Unfortunately, the players they’re left with this season haven’t really been doing the job. Is further transfer activity really what’s needed at the club, or is there a need for a change in ethos?
Having been acquired by the NESV, it looks as though a new Arsenalesque ethos is slowly going to bleed into the club. It would be foolish to not grant any importance to transfers. They’re needed to keep the proceedings fresh, to bring in new talent and to ship out unneeded players. But it is transfers in combination with a good ethos that will start to see a change in fortune for Liverpool and other clubs. Nobody wants to see their clubs spending wildly and bringing in players who either aren’t good enough or aren’t needed. I’m afraid to say that this may have happened in the past at Liverpool and it may have been exacerbated by the fans need for signings.
What’s important is not how many people are brought in, but who and how they brought in. Do they really want to play for this football club? Does the club need a player of this type? Despite Arsenal’s failings in recent years, I think a lot of football clubs have a lot to learn from Wenger’s dealings in the transfer market.
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