By Chris Rowland.
After the ‘How Did They Do?’ series, the Symposium is back. This week, we decided to pick up on a question a question asked by one of the Symposium panellists, Martin McLaughlin (Martin McL), in his post on May 21 – ‘Is there now a growing confidence that we can put faith in the “committee” to spend wisely?’
First, let’s explain who’s on our transfer committee, apart from the manager himself:
Dave Fallows, Head of Recruitment
Fallows, along with chief scout Barry Hunter, joined Liverpool from Manchester City in September 2012. Fallows’ role at City involved assigning scouts, filtering reports, preparing recommendations and presentations on the club’s targets, and compiling a database of scouted players – pretty much what he now does at Liverpool.
Although not actually part of it, it might be reasonable to suppose that Barry Hunter also has some input into the committee.
Michael Edwards, Head of Performance and Analysis
Edwards was appointed at the club by Damien Comolli, having worked alongside the Frenchman at Tottenham where he was head of performance analysis. His role with Liverpool changed when Fallows and Hunter, and thus the committee structure, were put in place last year.
Ian Ayre. Whose job it is to negotiate the deals.
Tom Werner, though not on the committee as such, would ultimately be responsible for signing the cheques, thus not uninvolved.
Here’s what our panel thinks:
Martin McLaughlin: I’m going to say cautiously yes. I can’t remember the last time we had two high impact buys in quick succession. Especially for what was very a reasonable combined price. It was probably Mascherano and Torres and both cost much more handsome fees.
However, a 100% success rate is unsustainable. In reality what we need is a single world class addition to emerge, be it Mkhitaryan (who I selfishly hope will sign as I have finally learnt how to spell his name), Luis Alberto or whoever else appears likely to turn up being poked by Dr Iqbal at Melwood.
The likes of Aspas need only be upgrades of the likes of Shelvey and Suso, not Downing and Henderson, to help in the push for 4th place and beyond.
I like that we are after players I have heard little of. I like that we are cheerily picking the Iberian market for young talent around 18-20. I also like that the fees so far are in that prime bracket of not too cheap to be a punt on quality, not too expensive to be a rip off that could cost us dearly if it doesn’t work out.
Bob Pearce: Even a ‘poor’ January window would have compared favourably with the previous summer. But based on the ‘return on investment’ under the new recruitment regime, I feel a growing confidence in future ‘investment’ decisions.
The ideal is that a player improves the team immediately. Both Sturridge and Coutinho quickly made a visible difference. They were a ‘good fit’, ‘looked the part’, and ‘filled the shirt’. Consistently.
Evidence of successful recruitment was not just in their individual statistics. Their contributions brought out more in others. Put simply, you can’t get your goals without assists, and your passes aren’t assists until they’re scored. It felt like confidence grew within the team.
These were two very good players (still below their peak) from big clubs where they were not getting games due to the size of ‘names’ and numbers in those squads. For all the modern day player-power reasons, I am happy to not be signing ‘big names’. Based on January’s limited track record, a ‘never-heard-of-him’ player being signed currently tells me someone is doing their homework. How many had heard of Alonso, Hyppia, Reina, etc? As Bob Paisley might have put it, ‘Let them become big names on our pitch’.
It is a similar confidence to when I see the ‘HBO’ logo on a TV programme I’ve never heard of. I had no idea about ‘The Wire’ or ‘The Newsroom’ either, but they were first class. It feels like a standard is being set and we will now see if it is maintained.
Dave Cronin: One swallow does not a summer make and I need more than one decent transfer window to convince me this “transfer committee” is going to reverse our recent trend of buying and selling/loaning badly.
I’m not sure why some people credit our January dealings to the “committee” yet put the ‘blame’ for the summer dealings solely on Rodgers. I suspect the reality is less clear cut than that. It seems logical and likely that Rodgers was behind the failed attempts to land Sigurdsson and Dempsey and the signings of Allen and Borini as well as the banishment of Carroll but who instigated the moves for Sahin and Assaidi? Who had Sturridge lined up for a summer move only for Rodgers to allegedly jettison it? It seems there were other influences involved in the summer.
Of the players we have been credibly linked with, I like the profile and positions we seem to be targeting and I’m pleased that we seem to be scouting across Europe rather than predominantly in the North East of England. I believe there is better value to be had from purchasing abroad and we possibly have a larger cachet on the continent given the large pool of players who will be attracted to a move to the Premiership with a historic big name like LFC, whereas Premiership players of the calibre we want may not see us as a big enough step up at this point.
If this summer goes well, I’ll start to have a bit of faith but until then I’m reserving judgement.
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