This summer’s English Premier League transfer window shuts down August 9, a day before Manchester United host Leicester City in the season opener.
That implies clubs are left with a fortnight to recruit new players. As fans of top six rivals get into a frenzy waiting for summer recruits to bolster their squads, Liverpool have stolen the march on them all.
The best business is the one that makes the club more competitive without inviting Fifa sanctions for breaching Financial Fair Play and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has gone about making the 18-time English title winners stronger in a most elaborate manner.
If your memory serves you well, you recall that Virgil van Dirk’s arrival last January helped Liverpool plug holes in their defense.
If you spread the 10 goals Liverpool conceded in the final 16 games following Van Dirk’s £75m arrival last January over a 38-game season, the Kop would let in exactly 24 goals – better than the 27 Man City let in when capturing last season’s title.
The world record £67m capture of Brazil’s number one Alisson Becker further strengthens a defense that has for years notoriously been Liverpool’s Achilles Heel.
By breaking world record fees for a defender and goalkeeper in such a short time span, Liverpool owner John Henry has sent a strong message to title rivals. England’s second most successful club side of all time are finally ready to swim with sharks. Playing a supporting cast as the Big Fish share top accolades is no longer considered good enough.
Better still, Klopp snapped up Brazilian all rounder ( he can play right back, deep or attacking midfield) Fabinho for £40m, to complement the £50m signing of Guinean workhorse Naby Keita. The pair not only assuages the loss of Emre Can to Juventus, it adds dynamism to the Kop engine room.
West Ham United: London outfit West Ham United keep oscillating from promise to despair and then back between seasons. Slaven Bilic’s superb first season saw West Ham finish seventh while playing some spell binding football with Dmitri Payet the creative force. Bilic was given his marching orders with the London club in crisis.
However, his advanced age notwithstanding, the recruitment of Manchester City’s title winning manager Manuel Pellegrini was a major boon. The 65-year-old Chilean has already shown how firmly he’s grasping his marbles by making a string of clever signings.
The size of the clubs from which Pellegrini is poaching his signings is an indicator of the level of ambition coming out of London’s Olympic Stadium. Record signing Felipe Anderson (Lazio) tops a star studded cast that includes Andrey Yarmolenko (Dortmund), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea), Issa Diop (Lille) and Fabiano Balbuena. All of these players are yet to peak and half of them boast Champions League experience.