From disillusioned to optimistic, the signings of Roberto Fimino and Nathaniel Clyne have given us positivity ahead of the new season, writes Craig Hannan.
It’s Monday and we’re monitoring. It’s Tuesday and we’re tweeting reports from “Sky sources”. My word it’s Wednesday and Ian Ayre is sinking celebratory cervezas in South America because he’s sealed the deal to sign Bobby Firmino.
Suddenly the doom and gloom lifts and positivity seeps through as John Henry and the lads hand Hoffenheim £29 Million big ones, all the way from Boston. Brazilian International? Tick.
Superlative stats in abundance. Check. ‘No look’ volley into a basketball hoop. Boxed.
Had we all seen the player play? Probably not but his name ending in ‘o’ surely means he’s a cert to succeed! There’s an innocence to the excitement of a signing who we’ve never seen play but it’s an embodiment of exactly the type of transfer we feared may be unattainable without the lure of the European cup. No acceptance of fifth as ‘par for the course’ here, lads.
This is not an article delving into his attributes – how he’s scored 23 and assisted 21 goals in 66 games for Hoffenheim or that he boasts more successful tackles and dribbles than any attacking midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues last year.
This is a piece written by someone previously a little bereft of belief and disillusioned with the majority of our transfer activity to date, but now refuelled with optimism for the first time in months as we attract one of Europe’s most exciting talents.
Firmino is described by Dunga as ‘smelling of goals’ as our transfer committee are remembering 2013/14 actually happened and how – goals. High octane counters and defending from the front. Pressing, pressing, pressing. And more goals.
It’s much debated on what a ‘sensible’ signing truly entails for Liverpool but in signing a player who is stylistically similar to the likes of Suarez and last summer’s number one target Alexi Sanchez, the club have surely delivered. Some could even argue, one year late. Can we return to the senseless, attacking and ultimately fun football once more please?
Fume over the Mhkitaryans, Willians and Depays should now subside and if only one positive presents itself following this transfer, it’s that I’ve not read tweets over the past week of why we’ve not heard from Rodgers (whilst on holiday), no over-analysis of why he’s returning to work so late and no snide retweets of him enjoying time off – for now anyway.
We can now all look forward to Stoke and names like Firmino inspire our players who let’s face it looked wounded and beaten in the aftermath of a failed title assault. It satisfies their ambition and suddenly Raheem takes notice. I’m not claiming Firmino himself to be a catalyst to success in the league but there’s a reinvigoration process and that begins with the Brazilian.
And why stop there? With Clyne to sign too, let’s continue the aggressive approach and disregard our previous failures in transfer negotiations. This can be a signal of intent to potential targets up top and our current playing staff – we’re Liverpool, this is what we’re doing now, come and play for us. Look further than Benteke and make a statement, go balls out – get taken seriously.
Roberto Firmino is a strong attempt by FSG to placate the pessimists with their much craved ‘marquee’ signing and suddenly averts their attention from the pressure put on Rodgers. When fans have nothing to tweet about they overanalyse and scrutinise the smallest of details and while not all can be totally appeased, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne consolidate most in reminding us that a new season is upon us, with a new start, new positivity and potentially more fun. And if last season taught us anything it’s to never underestimate the value of fun.