If you could sign anyone outside of the top four, who would it be?
Asking what player I’d like to sign from a team that isn’t in the top four is like asking what type of Tesco Value product I’d like. Sure I can have any one I’d like, but it’s not exactly appetising compared to the other stuff around. Things are pretty drab around the club right now with Gerrard leaving, Rodgers clinging onto the precipice and the owners who are doing God knows what. The lack of commitment to spend big money on big players means we’re more likely to sign players from lower Premier League sides than top European clubs.
I’ve thought about this and quite frankly I think most of the players at other teams in the Premier League are bums. Southampton has a few decent ones, Spurs have a couple and Everton has one and the rest? Not really, certainly nothing that excites me. Looking at our team you’d ideally want a significant upgrade on what we have and with that in mind, I’d take Hugo Lloris from Spurs. He’s an international keeper who has played at major tournaments with France and he’s probably one of the best keepers in the league. De Gea is better, Courtois is arguably better and that’s it. Mignolet has done well in the second half of the last season, which is to his credit considering he was dropped for Brad freakin’ Jones, but Lloris is the better player. He commands his area, his kicking is way better than Mignolet’s, although that isn’t hard, and he’s a terrific shot-stopper.
Something modern Liverpool never learns is that you make you squad better by making your first team better. You’d buy Lloris to be number one because he is better than what you have and Mignolet could take a seat. Unfortunately he’s that good that he’s been linked with United to replace the probably departing De Gea and PSG have also been sniffing around. This is no knock on Mignolet but if you can buy better, you do, and if we’re having free swings at players outside the top four, I’m getting the player who’s the best in their position.
As tempting as it is for numerous reasons to say Ross Barkley, I’m going to have to go with Harry Kane. While there is still the small risk that he could be a one season wonder, based solely on what he showed last season I’d take Kane because he’s exactly what we are lacking.
He scores all kinds of goals, he leads the line well and his work rate is incredible. Maybe statistics will prove otherwise (I haven’t checked), but based purely on what my eyes tell me, there were times last season when Kane’s work ethic made Dirk Kurt look like Victor Moses. We’ve missed that since Suarez left and while Kane obviously isn’t fit to lace the boots of Luis, if I could take one player outside of the top four sides then right now it’s Kane by a distance simply because we don’t have enough goals and he’d be the one most likely to provide them.
Given all that he brings to the table I’d even be willing to overlook how much I dislike his face and how greatly his hair offends me. Of course there’s not a chance in hell of it happening as why would he swap Spurs for us? They’ve finished above us five out of the last six seasons so painful as it is to admit, Anfield would be a step down for him. If the question was who would you take that you could realistically get then it wouldn’t be Kane (or indeed Barkley), so I’d probably say Nathaniel Clyne or Morgan Schneiderlin.
Answering this question is a bit like that odd game where someone gives you two horrible options to choose from and you are expected to pick the least worst. Would you spend the night with Dot Cotton or would you buy another mediocre player from a mid-table Premier League side? Apparently doing neither isn’t allowed because you’re spoiling the game.
Given the amount of money that has just been dropped into the Premier League coffers the teams have much less need to sell their players and as such the value of anything you buy goes out the window. But, if I have to take someone then it is probably going to be Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton.
The main focus of the summer should be to get goals into the team. That’s priority number one. The problem is that there isn’t really a wealth of good options for that that I can choose from here so sorting out the other, much smaller, issue of having a decent shield for the back four that is mobile, technically decent and of a level that can improve us is what I’d do. The fact that he’s played with some of last season’s signings and that he’s been coached to play in a team that presses are very much bonuses on top of just his basic range of abilities being ones we could do with.
Whether it would be in any way sensible to pay someone £30m for him is a totally different prospect though, and one that isn’t at all appetising. That £30m is probably going to put a lot more points on the board if you direct it towards someone that is offering the possibility of lots of goals. There are other lads in Europe that can probably do the same job as the most German sounding Frenchman ever, and for a fraction of the cost.
As we’ve seen recently, players that have a good record in this league can carry just as much risk of failure as players that have never set foot here, so you have to ask why you’d be paying double the price for them, if that’s the case?