The “net spend” argument has become a prevalent topic of discussion among Premier League supporters in recent seasons but few have vocalised their thoughts quite like Liverpool supporters.
Indeed, the perceived lack of spending at Anfield has caused intense debate as while league rivals like Manchester United and Chelsea have splashed the cash, Liverpool’s owners FSG have been reluctant to follow suit.
In fact, if you look at 2016/17 season the Reds actually fattened their wallets and made a profit, drawing derision from supporters perplexed at one of England’s biggest clubs making money on player sales with investment the other way not reflective of the influx of cash injected by bloated TV rights deals.
It was viewed as a sign that the club lacked the intent of their big-spending rivals but fast forward 12 months and Liverpool could well be about to break £50million in net spend for the first time in their history.
Mohamed Salah has already been acquired from Roma in a £34million deal with Andre Wisdom the only outgoing so far after he completed a £2million permanent switch to Derby.
With Jurgen Klopp desperate to bolster his ranks ahead of the return of Champions League football, the Reds have been linked with a gluttony of new names with RB Leipzig’s midfield dynamo Naby Keita (£70million), Virgil van Dijk (£80million) and James Rodriguez (£50million) three of the more expensive stars suggested.
With that in mind, we take a look back at the previous five seasons of Liverpool’s transfer dealings and assess their success.
Liverpool got the majority of their business done early last summer with most of Jurgen Klopp’s new recruits in for pre-season but the main objective for 2016/17 was to trim back a swollen squad.
Gigi Wijnaldum’s £25million move from Newcastle and Sadio Mane’s £34million switch from Southampton headlined the expenditures while Mario Balotelli was allowed to leave on a free transfer to Nice and Christian Benteke was sold to Crystal Palace for £27million.
January was quiet with no signing secured and seven players either shipped out on loan or sold permanently.
Questions centered around squad depth and given the injuries the Reds faced throughout the season perhaps they weren’t without foundation which is why they intend to bolster with quality numbers this summer.
Loris Karius (£4.7m), Joel Matip (Free), Sadio Mane (£34m), Ragnar Klavan (£4.2m), Georginio Wijnaldum (£25m), Alex Manninger (Free)
Joao Carlos Teixeira (£250,000), Martin Skrtel (£5.5m), Lawrence Vigouroux (£360,000), Jerome Sinclair (£4m), Jordon Ibe (£15m), Sergi Canos (£2.5m), Joe Allen (£13m), Brad Smith (£3m,) Ryan McLaughlin (Free), Christian Benteke (£27m), Mario Balotelli (Free), Tiago Ilori (£3.75m), Joe Maguire (Undisclosed)
In the summer of 2015 the Reds were quick and clear in their spending, strengthen in areas which required a refresh after the big sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City.
Roberto Firmino’s recruitment from Hoffenheim was met by widespread enthusiasm and optimism reigned as Brendan Rodgers broke the club’s transfer record to sign Christian Benteke from Aston Villa.
But just 11 games into the season the certainty made way for chaos as Rodgers was sacked and the £80million-plus outlay somewhat wasted on his replacement Klopp who intended to change the team’s philosophy.
Steven Caulker was brought in on loan in January while Serbian teenager Marko Grujic was signed then loaned back to Red Star Belgrade as the squad remained unchanged until the season’s end.
Roberto Firmino (£29m), Joe Gomez (£3.5m), Adam Bogdan (Free), Danny Ings (Tribunal), James Milner (Free), Nathaniel Clyne (£12.5m), Christian Benteke (£32.5m), Marko Grujic (£5.1m)
Sebastian Coates (£2m), Steven Gerrard (Free), Glen Johnson (Released), Brad Jones (Released), Raheem Sterling (£35.2m initial fee, £8.8m to QPR and £6.5m if City win the Champions League), Rickie Lambert (£3m), Rafael Paez (Undisclosed), Fabio Borini (£10m), Iago Aspas (£4.4m)
A summer of transition saw Liverpool lose Luis Suarez to Barcelona and reinvest that money with eight major signings brought in.
But the investments failed to make their presence felt with Mario Balotelli a big risk-signing from AC Milan ultimately proving to be a dramatic flop while Adam Lallana only caught the eye in patches after moving from Southampton.
His former Saints teammate Dejan Lovren endured a disastrous debut season and really, only Emre Can and Alberto Moreno could be considered a partial success.
The microscope was firmly on Brendan Rodgers having splurged a club record-breaking transfer budget of £100million-plus but the revamp after a season where they had narrowly missed out on the league title created a slump.
Invariably, the transfer miscarriages of 2014/15 meant Rodgers was under pressure heading into the 2015/16 campaign and in the end it was this summer which cost him his job.
Emre Can (£10m), Rickie Lambert (£4m), Adam Lallana (£25m), Lazar Markovic (£20m), Dejan Lovren (£20m), Divock Origi (£10m), Alberto Moreno (£12m), Mario Balotelli (£16m), Lawrence Vigouroux (Signed), Kevin Stewart (Signed)
Michael Ngoo (Released), Yalany Baio (Released), Yusuf Mersin (Released), Craig Roddan (Released), Stephen Sama (Released), Oussama Assaidi (£4.75m), Suso (£1m), Armin Hodzic (Free), Jakub Sokolik (Free), Luis Saurez (£65m), Conor Coady (£370,000), Pepe Reina (£2m), Martin Kelly (£1.5m), Jack Robinson (£1m), Daniel Agger (£3m), Krisztian Adorjan (Undisclosed), Villyan Bijev (Released)
Given what proceeded it’s hard to really argue with the acquisitions of 2013/14 but if there was one stick to beat the Reds with it’s that they didn’t invest in January.
The marquee summer signing saw Mamadou Sakho arrive from PSG and his combination of physicality, technique and elegance saw him slot seamlessly into Rodgers’ backline.
Kolo Toure was a solid signing on a free to replace the retired Jamie Carragher but Iago Aspas was a complete disappointment after the initial high expectation and Luis Alberto was viewed as the hottest young midfielder in Europe but failed to make an impression.
Simon Mignolet was the one success of that summer as Rodgers immediately gave him the No1 shirt after signing him from Sunderland and sent Pepe Reina out on loan to Napoli.
The fact they were able to recoup a big part of their outlay by moving Andy Carroll to West Ham for £15.5million was a success in itself, however, the 2013/14 title assault was built on the triumphs of previous transfer windows.
Luis Alberto (£6.8m), Iago Aspas (£7m), Kolo Toure (Free), Simon Mignolet (£10m), Tiago Ilori (£7m), Mamadou Sakho (£18m)
Danny Wilson (Free), Peter Gulasci (Free), Andy Carrol (£15.5m), Jamie Stephens (Released), Tyrell Belford (Released), Jamie Carragher (Retired), Jonjo Shelvey (£5m), Stewart Downing (£6m), Jay Spearing (£2m), Dani Pacheco (Free), Adam Morgan (Free)
The biggest net spend in Liverpool’s history is down to the lack of player sales rather than big spending the other way.
There wasn’t a great deal to shout about in Rodgers’ first summer as Reds boss, bar his raid of former club Swansea to sign the “Welsh Xavi” Joe Allen as well as linking back up with his former charge at Chelsea Fabio Borini.
However, the January window may well be one of the best in the club’s history as the signings of Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan and Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea were both undoubted success stories.
The biggest exit came in the form of Alberto Aquilani’s £3million departure to Fiorentina while a whole host of big names were allowed to leave on a free with Joe Cole departing Anfield.
The signing of Coutinho and Sturridge for a combined £20.5million makes the 2012/13 expenditure a rare triumph of recent years.
Fabio Borini (£10m), Joe Allen (£15m), Oussama Assaidi (£2.3m), Samed Yesil (£1m), Daniel Sturridge (£12m), Philippe Coutinho (£8.5m), Jordan Ibe (£500,000)
Dirk Kuyt (£1m), Lewis Hatch (Free), David Amoo (Free), Joe Rafferty (Free), Stephen Darby (Free), Fabio Aurelio (Free), Maxi Rodriguez (Undisclosed), Toni Brito Silva (Free), Alberto Aquilani (£3m), Craig Bellamy (Free), Kirk Broadfoot (Free), Charlie Adam (£4m), Nathan Ecclestone (Free), Joe Cole (Free), Doni (Free)
All transfer figures are collected from transferleague.co.uk
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