While I’ve wrote in the past about the benefits of a director of football, it’s too tempting not to have a look into a different style that one team in England has gone with for quite a while, Liverpool’s “transfer committee”.
To summarise what we have been told, a group of higher-ups at the Anfield club write up a shortlist of who they will look to obtain. According to their former manager Brendan Rodgers, this is paraphrasing, if they did not get their top target, they would get one of their 20 or so names on that list.
They would tend to prioritise young players, aiming at 24 or younger, with the view that they could add value to them and if needed, sell them for a profit. Obviously there would be exceptions and the option to veto but every single transfer came through a similar kind of process.
Before getting into the negatives, there are certainly some positives. Both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho were signed after the scheme was implemented in 2012 and the likes of Emre Can, along with Roberto Firmino, are showing enough promise that the system may be worth it.
However, there have been some poor mistakes. Even Rodgers admitted that the Mario Balotelli experiment was a huge risk as he didn’t fit their system but the board saw it as someone they could potentially make a huge profit on.
There’s a number of signings they have made that just never worked out. Iago Aspas looked, and still does back at Celta Vigo, that he would fit perfectly but since he was probably just another name on a shortlist, he never saw the time on the field to adjust and therefore was doomed to fail.
You can argue that Rodgers still got what he wanted in most cases, as highlighted by the signings of Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, but neither lit the world alight. None of them have quite adjusted to the level required at a club of that size and it makes it seem like it’s too much of a scattered approach to signing players.
The worry begins when you hear that Rodgers felt that he had Alexis Sanchez in the bag. That somehow did not happen, it would have been perfect for the club and in the end, they brought in nowhere near the same quality he thought they had sealed early. That killed the momentum they had from the previous season and the team still hasn’t recovered yet under Jurgen Klopp.
In the end, I feel that this method feels like it’s too many cooks spoiling the broth. You can say that the manager would always get someone on the list, therefore justifying a transfer, but when you go into the shop for a chocolate bar and come out with mint imperials, it can be still be good but just not what you needed.