Stubborn Liverpool appear to have lost out on the signing of attacking midfielder Willian, with London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea now seemingly in a battle to secure the highly-rated Brazilian’s signature.
Brendan Rodgers confirmed that club owners Fenway Sports Group were unwilling to sanction the potential £30m deal – meaning that, following the interest in Clint Dempsey prior to the last campaign, this is the second successive summer in which the Anfield outfit have pulled out of a move which they believe has not offered value for money.
Some supporters will undoubtedly be disappointed to miss out on a quality player who has the potential to take Liverpool to the next level and secure Champions League football for the Merseysiders, however, as John Henry and his associates have previously learnt, spending big money does not always guarantee good performances or results.
FSG were stung by the unsuccessful signings of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing for a combined fee of approximately £55m during the Kenny Dalglish era. Both have moved on to West Ham United this summer for less than half of the amount Liverpool paid. The Reds do not want to be in a similar situation again anytime soon.
Spending more than £30m on Willian would have excited many fans, but with a huge price tag comes huge pressure – not only on the player to perform, but also on the team to finish in the top four. Risks are taken in football, but if Liverpool had signed the Brazilian and still failed to qualify for the Champions League, then it could have set the club back many more years.
Furthermore, the club proved in January that significant sums do not have to be spent in order to secure quality footballers. Philippe Coutinho, who arrived for less than £10m from Inter, and England international Daniel Sturridge are already fans’ favourites, despite their relatively low transfer fees. It may be the case that thorough scouting and financial sensibility – both in terms of wages and transfer fees – could actually favour rather than hinder Liverpool’s quest to reach the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Rodgers has been rocked by the news that Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates could be ruled out for much of the season through injury. Coates has not featured much under the former Swansea boss, however there may have been an intention to sell him and use the money gained to replace him. Instead, Liverpool could now be forced into signing another centre-back and may even have to keep Martin Skrtel – another player who does not appear to be in Rodgers’ long-term plans.
The Reds have been linked with Greek starlet Kyriakos Papadopoulos throughout the summer and the injury to Coates could potentially speed up a move for the Schalke defender. Sporting Lisbon’s Tiago Ilori is reportedly another option.
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