Given every ones assertion at Anfield that the club’s development is a long term project it would seem pointless to conduct an end of year review, it seems rather redundant anyway given that the football seasons ends in May and not December!
However, December brings to an end a chapter in the new “adventure” that BR and owners are taking us on. Rightly or wrongly I detect an expectation with this coming transfer window. The expectation is that the wrongs of the last five or six months will be corrected. The wrongs principally refer to the bungled transfer “dealings” of the last window when we happily waved Andy Carroll off to West Ham on loan without first securing a replacement.
Looking back over the season so far and think it is fair to say that we have extremely lucky not to have paid for this more severely. The injury to Fabio Borini was perhaps the start of the “I told you so” stories from those who said our failure to secure someone such as Clint Dempsey would leave us short up front. Yet, and God bless him many times, Luis Suarez has been a brick and held up his end of the pitch with little injury or suspension. This can’t go on, January 2013 is here now, time to give Luis some help and arrest the decline in terms of attacking options and our conduct in the transfer market?
In fairness the club hasn’t messed around. Daniel Sturridge is now a red signed on Wednesday and presumably, if reports of injuries are untrue, ready to go against Mansfield in the FA Cup this weekend. Of course it would be ridiculous to assume that Sturridge is the answer to all our problems in this part of the pitch, there are still some legitimate doubts about his quality and his attitude, it is as much a period of judgment for him as it is for us. Nonetheless it is a timely acquisition with also dovetails nicely with other developments on the pitch. Has anyone noticed that since Lucas returned Steven Gerrard’s, star has risen? Moving further up the pitch has seen him start to exert more of influence on games for example the number of assists, mainly to Luis Suarez, from him have increased. Is it any coincidence that Suarez and Gerrard have been scoring more regularly, seven goals collectively in the last four games? There is the issue of how we will accommodate Sturridge however, he is a welcome additional option, hopefully giving it to Luis every time and hoping that his trickery will prevail is a thing of the past?
Will Strurridge be the only acquisition this window? Thomas Ince, from Blackpool, at the age of twenty will surely be one for the future and perhaps his signing is indicative of our lack of acumen in the transfer market more so than the oft stated purchases of Downing, Carroll and Henderson. Remember we developed Ince gave him a few run outs as a substitute and farmed him out to Blackpool and now we are having to pay a reported £6m (or more?) to rectify our lack of judgment and patience?
It would be a surprise dif we signed anyone other that Sturridge and Ince however I suppose we shouldn’t rule out the possibility? Reinforcements in midfield are needed and perhaps a bit more experience in defence? There have also been worrying reports concerning Jose Reina’s future. For an extra signing to happen then surely someone would have to leave. Joe Cole appears favourite to go in the light of his reported talks with West Ham – can we also rule QPR given BR inadvertently, when talking about Suarez the other night, saying he was “on the phone to Harry” I’m assuming this is Redknapp and not the guy in One Direction, I’m so down with the kids man!
Cole’s move might not offset the purchase of Sturridge or Ince however the removal of his hefty salary form the wage bill will no doubt be welcomed by the owners? For the same reason perhaps one cannot totally rule out moves for Stuart Downing and Jordan Henderson notwithstanding their lack of form since they joined us? However, if someone comes calling then I’m sure we would be looking at making a loss on both deals. BR has, at different times, spoken about how each of these players is improving. Although his interpretation of “improvement” is a matter of debate he may want to give them more time to do just that with a view to reassessment in the summer?
Although it is nice to see Fenway doing their bit for the career development of young managers I guess is reassessment is what many fans will be doing with BR. The leeway BR and the owners have been given up until now will, after the window has closed, be in shorter supply. I think there is something good in there however,and I know it’s silly to sum it up inone sentence, the intent, and evidence of progress, on and off the pitch, needs to be clearer for longer. Sadly honeymoon periods, for all BR’s and the owners protestations of improvement over a number of years, don’t last that long?