Since the last day of the January transfer window, the club-record signing of Andy Carroll has attracted constant criticism.
This was not helped by the facile comparisons with Sergio Aguero – a Manchester City signing this summer for a similar fee (officially reported as just shy of £40m). Given Kun’s history and subsequent performances, many have called Carroll the worst signing in Liverpool history. Knee-jerkism prevailed; “how could Dalglish, Camolli and Henry spend so much on such a poor player”. “I thought they believed in Moneyball”. Et cetera. Ad nauseam.
First of all, how is it even possible to compare Aguero and Carroll? In terms of the fees, modern transfers are as much about timing as they are about gross expenditure. If Liverpool had tried to buy Suarez in the summer of 2010 he would have cost at least £15m more. He and Forlan were considered two of the best players on the planet after a very successful World Cup campaign. Fast forward 6 months and Suarez was banned for biting an opponent, was European cup-tied, looked unsettled and cost Liverpool far less. Was Suarez a worse player in January? If he was, let’s string the board up for not buying him sooner.
Almost in the opposite direction, Tottenham Hotspur were able to hold out on the last day of the summer 2008 window to gain a massive fee for Dimitar Berbatov. Again, that didn’t mean Berbatov was any worse (or any better) six months earlier or six months later.
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