Last week Brendan Rodgers said he needed a “minimum” of three forwards when the transfer window closes. Last night he was left with just two after Liverpool failed to agree a fee to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham.
The American international was identified as one of Rodgers’ main targets early in the summer and the player himself was very keen on a move to Anfield – so much so he went on strike at Fulham in an attempt to force a move.
On Friday lunchtime Rodgers said “There’s no doubt we need to add goals to the team.”
The Liverpool boss did everything he could to create the room for more options in attack – shifting out Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing and Andy Carroll in the final 36 hours of the window. And with the wage bill reduced by £20m for the year, the manager could rightly have expected to get his man. This was shown by his demeanour on Friday afternoon as he looked relaxed and confident that he would get in the “one or two” players he had said he wanted.
The Telegraph report that Rodgers “spent transfer deadline day trying to convince his hierarchy of the need to secure the American international”.
The report continues;
Fenway Sports Group were unwilling to meet the price – understood to be £1 million above that quoted to other clubs – and now Rodgers faces the improbable task of leading Liverpool back into the Champions League with Luis Suárez as the only experienced striker at the club.
Dempsey of course later signed for Tottenham for £6m. FSG were not prepared to pay for an experienced player who the manager wanted and who finished last season with more goals than the combined total of all Liverpool’s remaining strikers.
This despite chairman Tom Werner saying just four months ago “I would say we certainly have the resources to compete with anybody in football.”
And a club statement upon Rodgers arrival that stated “There will be no requirement to sell players this summer in order to fund new purchases.”
Whether it was Dempsey or any other player, what FSG said and what they did are in complete contrast with another. They failed to back the manager in what he wanted and required – despite the massive cutting of costs and squad size.
FSG’s reasons for not spending on Dempsey are reported to be the player’s age and the time length of his current contract (12 months), but those are irrelevant when you consider there was a clear need to sign another forward. A very clear need.
Last season Liverpool had a chronic lack of goals, scoring less than relegated Blackburn, yet they now have less forwards than a year ago.
A ‘long term vision’ is the term used to discuss FSG’s leadership but that is completely pointless if by then we are so far behind our rivals. We need some short term vision to accompany the overall long term one, otherwise we will take several steps back before moving forward.
A long term strategy is all well and good, but there is a need for some short term success too. How else can we get closer to our rivals?
The window is closed, all we can do now is hope the failure to cough up more for another striker when entering four competitions, doesn’t come back to haunt us.
Oh, and we best hope that Suarez and Borini don’t get injured, banned or tired because they’re going to be needed in every game.