How Liverpool must react to Raheem Sterling’s Man City move
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers needs to sign a big-name player to give the club a lift after the flurry of transfer activity at Man United
While Raheem Sterling’s transfer to Manchester City may have provided further proof that Liverpool are transforming into a selling club, Brendan Rodgers can counter such claims with a big-name signing before the end of the summer transfer window.
The Reds did brilliantly to secure their £49m asking price for the want-away England international on Tuesday evening, but it is a sobering move for Liverpool fans, despite the acceptable fee, after having lost key players in consecutive summers.
Indeed, it is a recurring theme over the past six years following the departures of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres (January 2011) and Luis Suarez to clubs more-equipped to challenge for silverware.
While Torres’s £50m move to Chelsea came as a blow, it was softened by the swift acquisition Suarez, which proved a transfer market masterstroke.
Suarez was signed by Kenny Dalglish but it was his successor who reaped the real benefits of the deal as Suarez proved the catalyst behind their whirlwind push for a first Premier League title with 31 goals in 33 games in 2014.
But after he conceded defeat in his attempts to orchestrate a move to Arsenal in 2013, Liverpool couldn’t resist Barcelona’s £75m offer last summer.
While it was an acceptable valuation for the PFA player of the year, it still left the Reds without their most-influential performer. Rodgers’s failure to replace Suarez with a player of similar talent proved a near-fatal mistake.
The Reds spent more than £110m on new signings, but most were bought on the basis of their potential, which failed to flourish under the watchful eye of an increasingly-expectant Anfield support.
Rodgers has snapped up six new signings this summer. The new recruits include established players like James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne, who should all be ready to slot into the first-team.
The Liverpool boss deserves praise for his shrewd and sensible transfer activity ahead of Sterling’s widely-predicted sale.
But Reds fans still crave a big-name signing, highlighted by the number of mentions Borussia Dortmund forward Marcos Reus gets under any random post on the club’s Instagram page.
Just up the M45, Manchester United have been rejuvenated in recent days following a flurry of arrivals at the city’s airport.
In particular, Bastian Schweinsteiger has set the imaginations of the club’s fans alight as the Red Devils looked to have finally recruited a worthy successor for Roy Keane in the heart of their midfield.
The World Cup winner’s signing highlights the priceless impact that a big-name recruit can have on-and-off the pitch – the German will undoubtedly turn Louis van Gaal’s side into title contenders and shoe-ins for a top-four finish.
While Rodgers survived an end-of-season meeting with Liverpool’s owners albeit some reportedly enforced backroom changes earlier this summer, splurging more cash on an exciting European player after last summer’s transfer woes could be viewed as a gamble.
But with Arsenal, Manchester City and United all strengthening their squads ahead of the new season in a bid to catch champions Chelsea, Rodgers needs to roll the dice and invest Sterling’s £49m fee in a big name to nudge his Liverpool side into contention for the Champions League places and give the club a much-needed morale boost.