Liverpool fans will be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu over the Summer 2015 transfer window. Last summer, Liverpool fans were hoping to sign a fullback or two, a proper defensive midfielder to deputize Lucas, reinforcements in the attacking area, and maybe some competition between the sticks for Simon Mignolet. This summer, the Wants and Needs list looked incredibly familiar despite the volume of reinforcing done only a year ago, and like last year, Liverpool were faced with letting a want away player go for a sizable sum of cash.
Also like last summer, Liverpool did their business often and did it early in the window, leaving deadline day drama to arch rivals Manchester United and their failed attempt to sell David de Gea to real Madrid. Ian Ayre clocked considerable miles on his motorcycle in May and June, getting not one but six deals done by the time the transfer window opened on July 1. Aside from a final signing in late July, Liverpool were otherwise quiet in the window despite any and all connections to random players across the continent.
Who’s In (£69,900,000 + Danny Ings tribunal fee)
Joe Gomez (£3,500,000)
James Milner (Free)
Danny Ings (Tribunal TBC)
Ádám Bogdán (Free)
Roberto Firmino (£21,300,000)
Nathaniel Clyne (£12,000,000)
Christian Benteke (£32,500,000)
Allan Rodrigues de Souza (£500,000)
Taiwo Awoniyi (£400,000)
Despite shoring up the defense last summer with Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren, Liverpool brought in two more defenders. Nathaniel Clyne has been a bright spot so far at right back this season and looks to be in a good position to beat the Southampton Curse™ that has plagued Liverpool’s past signings from the Saints. Joe Gomez, an eighteen year-old centre back meant for big things a few seasons from now, has managed to do a job at left back and become the preferred choice ahead of Moreno. Adam Bogdan was brought on board to challenge — or “challenge” — Simon Mignolet, because everyone loves a 6’5″ ginger Hungarian.
Liverpool’s midfield saw the arrival of the team’s two most exciting and not-exciting-but-secretly-exciting signings in Roberto Firmino and James Milner. Convinced by his compatriot Philippe Coutinho to make the move to Merseyside, Firmino was fresh off an excellent season in the Bundesliga and will hopefully add some dynamism to a lacklustre Liverpool attack. James Milner, on the other hand, was very much a known quantity upon arrival. Jokes about his boring nature preceded the man, but already he’s proven to be a solid performer and a bit of a delight.
The club’s most controverisal signing came in the form of Belgian striker Christian Benteke. Despite concerns that Benteke was the striker Rodgers wanted but not the one Liverpool needed, plans forged ahead with the club’s owners backing their manager to the hilt and forking out Aston Villa’s full valuation of the player in a mildly convoluted payment structure. Concerns remain that Liverpool is not yet giving Benteke the service he needs to succeed at Liverpool, but it’s early days yet.
Who’s Out (£52,600,000)
Brad Jones (Released)
Glen Johnson (Released)
Steven Gerrard (Released)
Sebastián Coates (£4,000,000)
Iago Aspas (£4,400,000)
Javier Manquillo (Loan Cancelled)
Raheem Sterling (£35,200,000)
Rickie Lambert (£3,000,000)
Fabio Borini (£8,000,000)
Andre Wisdom (Loan: Norwich)
Danny Ward (Loan: Aberdeen)
Harry Wilson (Loan: Crewe)
Joe Maguire (Loan: Leyton Orient)
Jordan Williams (Loan: Swindon)
Kevin Stewart (Loan: Swindon)
Lawrence Vigouroux (Loan: Swindon)
Lazar Markovic (Loan: Fenerbahce)
Lloyd Jones (Loan: Blackpool)
Luis Alberto (Loan: Deportivo de La Coruna)
Mario Balotelli (Loan: AC Milan)
Ryan McLaughlin (Loan: Aberdeen)
Samed Yesil (Loan: Luzern)
Sergi Canos Brentfords (Loan: Brentford)
Sheyi Ojo (Loan: Wolves)
Taiwo Awoniyi (Loan: FSV Frankfurt)
Tiago Ilori (Loan: Aston Villa)
Brad Jones, Glen Johnson, and the great Steven Gerrard all found themselves out of contract at the end of the season, and all three moved on to greener pastures at Bradford City, Stoke City, and LA Galaxy respectively. Liverpool also unceremoniously terminated poor Javier Manquillo’s two year loan deal and sent the youngster packing back to Spain.
Players who had not found any joy in Liverpool’s squad over the past year or two also found new homes. Fringe players like Iago Aspas, Sebastian Coates, and Fabio Borini (!!!) found themselves securing moves to clubs they’d already played at previously. Rickie Lambert’s Liverpool fairy tale did not work out as had been written in the stars, and the striker moved on to West Brom in hopes of getting more playing time.
Liverpool’s biggest departure was, of course, young Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for the princely sum of £44m (£35.2m after Queens Park Rangers took their cut). Liverpool are, of course, no strangers to summer transfer dramas, and Sterling’s departure could be described as “rocky” at best. A handful of players went out on loan to a variety of clubs around England and the rest of Europe, most notable of whom was Mario Balotelli’s return to AC Milan.
So, What’s the Verdict? (Net Spend: £17,300,000 + Danny Ings tribunal fee)
Hindsight is 20/20, and last summer’s sucessful-but-maybe-not-actually transfer window puts a bit of a damper on this summer’s dealings. This summer’s window has been good by many measures — deals were done early, Liverpool got the players they went after, Ian Ayre had pretty straightforward negotiations to contend with — but the fear of getting too optimistic is very, very real.
Sterling’s departure still hurts a bit, especially with heir apparent Jordon Ibe failing to impress early on this season. For what feels like the umpteenth time, Lucas Leiva’s future remains murky as exclusion from the side looked like he was done at Liverpool, despite later being pulled out of the shop window. Jose Enrique remains a Red despite the club’s attempts to ship him off to beautiful West Brom or Sunderland or anywhere that would take him.
Financially, Liverpool came in under or at budget, depending on what the club ends up paying for Danny Ings as determined by a tribunal. Brendan Rodgers was rumoured to have £30m to spend, and with Ings expected to fetch at least £6m but upwards of £12m, Liverpool will have a total net spend of somewhere between £23-29m.
There’s lots to be cautiously optimistic about, and some stuff to be disappointed by, depending on what your own wishlist of players in and players out looked like. Suffice it to say Liverpool once again failed to sign Marco Reus, so certainly this will never be a perfect window.