We are about to enter the most dreaded part of the year, the summer transfer window. It truly is a “silly season” with constant daily speculation and rumors designed to drive me insane if I can’t somehow figure out how to mitigate time spent on social media. What I have come to realize is that my biggest issue with this time of year has nothing to do with the media and their seemingly unlimited pile of garbage rumors. They are simply doing their job trying to sell newspapers, or in most cases trying to inflate their website hits to drive advertising revenue. No, my problem is with your average supporter that tends to guide me over the edge this time of year. I’m reminded of that old phrase you joke about when trying to get out of a bad relationship: “It’s not me, it’s you.”
I want to help. For some of you, there’s simply no hope. You’re going to expect the impossible, whine when our rivals sign a big star, and spend countless hours flooding my social media newsfeed with comments that make most sane fans groan in unison. You know who you are, and this article isn’t for you. The goal of this article is to educate majority of fans that still have some hope of being saved. I have compiled a list of DO’s and DON’T’s that I hope will help you get through the summer with your sanity in check. Please enjoy, be like the dude, and “abide” by the following guidelines:
DON’T fall for “clickbait.” This is the biggest mistake new fans make when the transfer window opens. While there are legitimate news outlets out there trying to make an honest buck and be the first source with the hot scoop on a potential target, there are more fake news sources with bullshit baseless claims created by some schmuck in his parent’s basement typing away on an old Macintosh computer. A sure indication of “clickbait” is when the article is written about a list of potential targets. A dead giveaway is when the subtitle reads “You’ll never guess who #7 on the list is!!!!!!” Don’t bother clicking that link. It’s a waste of time. Most importantly don’t share it on social media, unless you want to get called out by your friends for your gullibility.
DO consider the source of the rumor. Most of the journalists writing these stories have a history with the club that comes with credentials. Other outlets tend to get a little liberal with what they print and these are the sources you need to watch out for. Most players won’t see a dime of the potential transfer fee between clubs, but they will get themselves a new contract that typically includes a signing bonus negotiated directly with the new club. And most agents will get their cut of that deal. Many times that rumor you read about a particular club being interested in a particular player is nothing more than that player’s agent trying to drum up interest in his client. Even if that player is seemingly happy under contract at the club, the agent can and will leak unsubstantiated rumors if he thinks it may lure in a bigger club to offer more money for his client. Because that will also put more money in his own pocket.
DON’T think you know the full story. We don’t know what is being discussed amongst the Transfer Committee members and Jürgen Klopp. When a high-profile player goes to a rival club, inevitably someone will inquire why Liverpool weren’t going after that player. How do you know that they weren’t? Just because you didn’t see a link to that player possibly going to Liverpool doesn’t mean that conversations weren’t had to see if something could be worked out. You just don’t know, and likely never will.
DON’T call any player “the (insert nationality here) (insert legendary player here).” Nothing makes me roll my eyes more than seeing a link to a prospect compared to another great player. A few years ago we were liked to Mohammed Salah and I read how he was considered “the Egyptian Messi.” Then we acquired Joe Allen, also dubbed “the Welsh Xavi.” Not only are these unfair comparisons which are unfair to these players, it’s “clickbait” and reeks of lazy journalism. Don’t fall for it.
DO remember Tomkin’s Law, which states the only 40% of all transfers a club makes will ultimately succeed. Paul Tomkins is one of the most respected statistical analysts in the sport and a huge Liverpool fan as well. He always completes a thorough analysis to support his conclusion, and trust me when I tell you that his numbers always make sense. For every Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino that we acquire, there’s an Alberto Moreno or an Iago Aspas. This point doesn’t mean we should be speculating as to which new players will succeed and which will fail. It’s important to note that many players take more than one season to peak with the club. Liverpool supporters complained that Lallana was a bust after his first year, but after his performance this season you’d be hard-pressed to find many fans that still feel that way about him. If we have learned anything this season it is that squad depth needs to improve. Competing on the European front will add to that concern. We can’t give up on players like Marko Grujic and Danny Ings, who could still come up good for the club.
DON’T forget about wages as a consideration. I’m not necessarily talking about the wages someone will require to sign with Liverpool, but also about the wages our current squad players are earning. Virgil van Dyk is a player commonly linked with a possible move to either Liverpool or Chelsea. Last year Liverpool set the bar with player wages when Philippe Coutinho signed a new deal worth about £150K per week. Last summer Joel Matip signed a 4-year deal worth a reported £100K per week while Dejan Lovren recently just inked a new deal in the same ballpark. Current sources indicate that Southampton are hoping to get around £50M for a transfer fee to acquire the talented 25-year old Dutch defender. While both Chelsea and Liverpool may be prepared to match that fee, you can’t forget that the player has some power to force a move to the specific club he wants. What if Chelsea decide that they need to splash the cash to fill the void of their departing captain and offer upwards of £150K per week wages? I wouldn’t put it past them. Would Liverpool then be prepared to match that offer? How does potentially affect the contracts recently signed by Matip and Lovren within the past twelve months? It’s not as simple as you think.
DON’T think that players will flock to Merseyside just because we now have Champions League football. The club has yet to prove that this is anything more than another anomaly with only our second appearance to the competition in eight years. It didn’t help Leicester City bring in a marquis signing, nor has it helped Tottenham much in the last two summer windows. Just because we beat out Arsenal by a single point doesn’t mean that we have permanently knocked them off their perch. If Champions League football is REALLY that important to a player, then there are other clubs he could join that have an easier path to that objective. Liverpool made a huge step to finish top four last season, but it means absolute fuck-all if we fail to do so again next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. Maybe then players will look at Liverpool Football Club and think to themselves, “there’s a place with passionate fans and great success. I want to be a part of that.”
DON’T worry about what other clubs are doing. Last summer Manchester United brought in some of the biggest names available in Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and their fan base went crazy over the new look of the club. Yet they still finished sixth place in the league. The point is that you simply can’t worry about other clubs, because you simply don’t know how the additions will affect their performance. Let them splash the cash, and then look forward to beating their ass twice next season.
DO exercise patience. It’s a long window. While some clubs may take care of their business earlier than Liverpool, it’s important not to rush. There aren’t any major international tournaments being held this summer that would preclude contract negotiations. Two summers ago Ian Ayre traveled to South America to secure Roberto Firmino’s signature, and I know that we are all glad that he did. But just because we haven’t found our new left back before the preseason tour kicks off doesn’t mean we won’t find one before the end of August. This becomes extremely difficult when you see our rivals acquiring new talent in June, but I urge you to remain silent and patient. And this brings me to my last one…
DO have faith in Klopp. No one was thrilled with the decision to bring Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum to the club last summer, but I think we all can agree that they turned out to be solid acquisitions. When Klopp joined Borussia Dortmund in May 2008, it took him two full seasons and five transfer windows before he assembled the squad that won the Bundesliga crown in 2011. He’s about to enter his fourth window now and he’s shown remarkable progress thus far. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. I think that he’s earned it.