by Dave Usher for ESPN
When Liverpool's pursuit of FC Basel's Mohamed Salah ended in all too predictable fashion with the winger signing for rivals Chelsea, I was more upset about missing out on another target than the loss of the player himself. When the transfer window slammed shut with managing director Ian Ayre flying back from the Ukraine without Yevhen Konoplyanka… well, that just rubbed salt into the open wound. Whatever the reasons for Liverpool's failure to add to the squad, they've come out of this window looking amateurish at best and incompetent at worst.
The recriminations of who is to blame for this latest shambles can wait for another day. Right now, I'm trying to work out the thought process that led to Liverpool prioritising the addition of a wide attacker when there appeared to be much more pressing areas of the team in need of reinforcing.
The vast majority of Kopites would say a midfielder should have been Liverpool's overwhelming priority in this transfer window, possibly followed by a full-back. A top class winger was needed, of course -- you can never have too many of those -- but that would have come a distant third for many fans and could even be seen as being something of a luxury signing at this moment in time.
Missing out on Salah probably isn't going to have a huge impact on Liverpool's push for the top four, but it was nonetheless irritating to see another target choose to go elsewhere. The Reds appeared to dither and allow a rival club to come in and get a deal done by offering more money than Liverpool were prepared to pay.
Had Salah been a powerful, dominant central midfielder, the response to missing out on him would have been vastly different. Some LFC supporters might even argue that the loss of Salah was a blessing in disguise if it meant funds not used on the Egyptian were put towards bringing in that much-needed midfielder.
That was a view I shared, so what I found somewhat surprising was that the next player Liverpool moved for was also a winger, Dnipro's Ukraine international Konoplyanka. Missing out on him hurt a lot more than Salah for several reasons, not least because most people seem to think he's a much better player.
It's been reported by the Liverpool Echo that the deal did not happen because the Dnipro president apparently refused to sign the paperwork even after a buyout clause had been met and a medical passed. Surely, if it were that simple, Ayre would have bundled the player onto the back of his Harley Davidson, told the Dnipro owner to "eat my dust" and raced back to Merseyside and let UEFA deal with it. That seems a little far-fetched to me but, irrespective of why it didn't happen, the fact is it didn't -- and Brendan Rodgers yet again cut a frustrated figure as a transfer window closed.
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